Not totally sure why I signed up for this because I already cycle most days but having just come back to it after nearly three weeks off the bike, I felt it would be a Good Thing. Also, as cycling is usually a solitary thing for me, it’s nice to feel part of a Bigger Thing involving all kinds of cyclists who pedal all kinds of distances for all kinds of purposes, or just purely for fun.
I pedalled off today(written 1/4/12) on my 1st April ride purely for fun. I had no visitors, no concrete commitments and the sun had his hat on so it seemed churlish to waste such a golden opportunity.
After a spell on a cycle path, a dual carriageway and lots of A road, during which no drivers cut me up, I turned off into the lanes full of sloe blossom and damson blossom and headed for a spot on the river where I had my inaugural fishing expedition with my dad. I passed a nature reserve, went over Haw Bridge, where donkeys years ago there was a big murder-mystery story about a headless torso being found. I paused to take a pic and wondered if a single one of those people sitting outside with beers and drinkies had ever heard of the Haw Bridge Murder. Doubt it.
I spotted a cyclist ahead of me who I recognised by his silver hair and his spare figure. It was a man who had been one of the inspirations for my brother and his cycling career many years ago. This guy is in his 80’s and still riding his racing bike. He’s a cycling legend in Gloucestershire and used to organise the Tour of the Cotswolds, a Premier Calendar road race which used to attract top riders from Europe as well as the UK. Anyway, he was probably coming to the end of his ride, so I followed him respectfully for a bit before turning off to take a look at the wetland reserve.
Couldn’t resist saying “hello” to the morose little Shetland pony I usually see and then it was onwards and upwards – more lanes, teeny woolly little lambs with knobbly knees, Gloucestershire cattle calves and surprisingly quiet when I got back on the main road and headed for home.
It wasn’t far in total – just over 20 miles – but enough to fill me with joy and to provide the catalyst I needed to give my lovely Trek a well-deserved thorough cleanup.