Cycling is about more than what we do. It’s also about what we see, writes Kath Bicknell.
7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

I don't know about you, but before I started cycling I happily slept through sunrise almost every day of the year. A nine to five-ish work or study day means a lot of us get up once the sky is already light in the morning, pause for the sunset occasionally and go to bed a long time after it's dark.

By contrast, in a rapidly growing number of cities in Australia, organised early morning road bunch rides bring people together for a solid hit out, in the safety of a group. 6:00am starts beat the peak hour traffic and allow time for a quick coffee before most cyclists start work.

These 6:00am rides have an extra special feel at this time of year. Not only is it almost light, but the warmer Spring weather builds excitement for the months ahead. Riders who have hibernated through winter are getting back into training and chat optimistically about getting fit again. The more committed types, who pedaled through cooler months, are brimming with enthusiasm for upcoming races and events.

Hauling myself out of bed at five on Tuesday, I joined my local cycling club for their weekly hills session. Having spent a lot of time riding with a backpack this year, the rhythm of the bunch felt novel and fresh.

The club's route is a popular one among Sydneysiders. It takes in the punchy climbs, quick descents and stunning views of the city's Eastern Suburbs. Riding down the hill towards Tamarama beach, seeing the sunrise over the ocean, I was astounded by how beautiful the morning looked. My whole body felt tremendously happy. Hopefully you have a local loop that has this effect on you too.

A few streets later we rounded a corner somewhere near Bondi Beach. This time, the sun flared from behind the edge of a cliff face. The bright yellow light bounced off the brown of the rocks on the left, reflected off the ocean below and spread its warmth through the waking sky.

With my hands on the bars and my camera back at home, I snapped a long lasting image with my mind. Next, I completely destroyed the serenity with frothing garble about the colours, the light, the springtime, and how amazing it is to get out of bed and jump on a bike just to see this.

Growing up in an inland city, I always feel like a tourist on this ride. Cycling past the ocean knocks me for six, a visceral appreciation for this landscape I hope I never lose. Thanks to my bike, the bunch and an alarm clock, what was a regular Tuesday morning for most people, felt like something quite extraordinary indeed.

That's what makes Spring so good. It's full of promise for the months ahead, and full of reward for the months that have past. The changing light, temperatures and the scent in the air makes us see and feel things afresh again.

I'm glad we have seasons. If the landscape was the same all year, we'd be in more danger of taking it for granted.

This sport is about so much more than fitness or competition. Watching the sky change throughout the day, and the environments we live in change throughout year, is absolutely part of the magic that cycling brings too.