Sadly neglected but we’ll be back shortly with all things bike and 30 days of biking, you’ll see.
In the mean time here’s something I wrote for the official 30 Days of Biking Blog http://30daysofbiking.com/blog/?p=9
In the summer of 2011, perhaps a on a few occasions the summer before, I began to cycle to work - it is approximately a 20 mile round trip. The first few times were a struggle; shaky legs, nausea, inability to talk once I had reached my destination - but after cycling to work for most of last summer the struggle subsided and the ride became a real pleasure - far less stressful than driving a big angry car about.
On the 18th August 2011 Mark surprised me by secretly purchasing a Navy & ivory Pashley Princess…the most wonderful gift I have ever received. I’m not an expert on bicycles, I tend to go on looks alone and my Pashley Princess really is a wonderful looking machine, unique, regal, complete with mudguards, basket and all - I have had to stop doing the wheelies and the skids but I am very attached to my new bike – far better than that bashed up old boys mountain bike I was using!
I last rode my bike in late October. I don’t mind the cold but it was the absolute darkness coming home that made me stop, not because I am nervous but I simply could not see more than a few inches in front of me and my eyes do not seem to cope well in the dark! As the nights began to draw in the final straw was encountering a very odd man on the local Cuckoo Trail, I won’t go into details but he unnerved me and he was wearing shell suit joggers - what’s that if not a clue to strange behavior!? So, when the clocks changed I was forced to store my beloved bike away in the shed for the winter.
Today was the first day this year riding to work, occasionally Mark is able to work in town and can accompany back in the evening which is always really nice. After not riding for a while (other than a little trip down to Bexhill-on-Sea just before Christmas) I had forgotten what it felt like and what it does for you. I had a fretful nights sleep caused by a very vivid dream of being mauled by ferrets (ferrets that could open patio doors), and I was badly organized for riding in the morning but then that is probably never going to change for me. I had wanted to leave by 8am but didn’t get out in time and finally managed to bash my way out of the humble abode at about 8.20.
I would normally hurry from the house – which could easily be compared to the money pit; the unfinished DIY jobs, the piles of washing, the breakfast dishes and other chores that will have to wait since I am a busy working mum – THAT CAT! – the recent arrival of a beautiful but psychotic cat who seems to have taken it upon herself to destroy me by urinating and defecating in any place she chooses, stealing flapjacks and generally being unnecessarily violent and destructive with her supercilious manic, bold stare and evil intent - fall into my car, then have a stressful stop start drive, followed by the twenty minute car space hunt, then the fifteen minute walk to the office which would inevitably make me late. STRESS!
So, it was a refreshing change this morning to calmly leave the house and get on the saddle, and I felt much better for it, this is what my bike does for me…
I started off by ticking passed the local duck pond; the sun was just breaking through with small pockets of blue sky giving me a wink. The ducks were gently gliding together, they had already been feed by some kind and early to start person. Then off down the Cuckoo Trail. It was alive with birdsong, so loud that it could have been a recording. There was a lovely smell, cant quite grab it to fully describe it but it was reminiscent of something happy. These are all the things you miss when you join the angry car brigade!
I then glided up behind Jan Meyer out of The Killing (it’s not really him, but someone that looks like him) with his two adorable but utterly disobedient dogs, stopping I gave them a pat and was rewarded by wagging tails! Jan looked quite relived that I didn’t mind nearly being taken out by the animals in his charge!
I noticed the vibrant catkins merrily decorating the branches, a sure sign that spring is considering an early debut, Robins, so cheery gave me the nod - such a friendly bird, squirrels running across my path, all very busy indeed. It’s so delightful to have the time to notice all these different little worlds all busy going about their day! By this time I had forgotten all my ‘to do’ lists, and all the jobs I want to do around the home and instead I got that little inkling of the life I aspire to, that it is within grasp and that all the hard work is worth it.
As I cycled (almost forgetting that actually I am supposed to be getting to work) I slip into a reverie and imagine my perfect day; up early, walking my two dogs, most likely Springer Spaniels named Clarence & Jerome. Waiting for me when I return home the coffee would be bubbling away, the fine cut home made marmalade and rye bread, the paper - I’d kick off my wellingtons, join the family for breakfast and plan our next trip to Rome. After I have finished planning our holiday, I’d have an afternoon of home baking, sitting in my scented garden, picking herbs and then sitting crossed legged, looking thoughtful and clever. It was a lovely feeling and I felt that I had inched that much closer to my dreams!
Back on the cycle path, and without noticing the time pass I was now nearing the gym (Bummingtynes, I call it) and some early gym goers - I tried to stare deep into their eyes to see a glimmer of what on gods good earth could make any human enter a gym at that time of the morning - a sweat encrusted soulless berkbox, especially when it is situated right on the edge of the beautiful Cuckoo Trail, where the ponds are like mirrors, herons perch, horses graze all on the back drop of the majestic South Downs. It’s a weird decision considering they are all probably paying a hefty direct debit to that idiot Bummingtyne which they can probably ill afford, when they could just run around for free and for nothing and enjoy the environment!
I then pass the dreary Audi garage, with the coffee breath’d sales men shuffling about, pretending they own the big cars, with their badly fitting suits and oily persona’s, only for this unpleasant scene to be interrupted by four gracious swans effortlessly streaming over head - WONDERFUL.
Almost at journey’s end I pass students - I do wish their mums would tell them to wrap up warm and hitch up their trousers (I get that tune from the film Uncle Buck in my head when I see them)! On passed the hospital with the smell of clean linen and ironing, the tricky negotiation of Kings Drive and the loony drivers (the only part of the ride that I don’t like much) and then hey presto I am at work!
A nice 50 minute ride, good going, no wobbly legs, no stress, no desire to hurl, happy, deeply satisfied – time for a cup of tea and think about the day ahead! PAX IN BELLO