Tuesday, 24 January 2012


I must be especially mad this morning. I woke around 3.45am - I lay for a while but I knew I wasn't going back to sleep - I felt warm, hot almost. I got up and looked out at the weather - it seemed calm, - I decided I'd go out on the bike. The Sunday ride left me feeling disheartened - I need to get back on and reconnect.  I decided on a three layer kit approach along with No. 2 gloves. I changed the batteries in my back light and pretty soon I was outside and in the garage. The bike needs cleaning, it looks more like a mountain bike, covered in mud. I get the lights working and I'm away. Straight away I notice how cold it is. I should have gone for four layers and definitely number 3 gloves - after only a mile my hands are freezing. Then the hail starts. I stop and pull on a stretchy bandana thing that i have in my pocket. I think this came free with one of the cycling magazines I buy - it's been a useful bit of kit - today I pull it into a balaclava type arrangement - now my ears are warm. I also slip on my raincoat and I'm ready to go again. I feel the benefit of the bandana/balaclava immediately - and the effect seems to pass through to my hands. It's more like sleet now but I'm well enough protected. I see a fox up ahead - he dashes across the road, pauses then goes back across and through the hedge. I seem to be moving quickly - not sure of the speed it's too dark to see the speedo - but I feel okay. I'm riding one of my usual routes, around 15 miles, I know it well, but the darkness brings a sense of mystery and danger. I am aware of where I am but strangely unsure of what lies ahead - my immediate cone of vision extends maybe 15-20 metres - beyond that is dark, black and unknown - where was that pothole? - was there mud here, glass maybe? The darkness wraps around me but offers no comfort, the world is monotone, I can see no colour just earthy grey and black.

The sleet is now rain and falling heavier. I'm over halfway round my route now - I haven't seen anything; no people no cars, nothing - it feels slightly surreal; like the opening shots to an episode of The Avengers. That thought and the harsh black and white view in front reminds me of the new wave British films from the late 50's early 60's - I half expect to see Albert Finney waiting at the bus stop.

The last uphill section of the ride goes better than I expected - I feel comfortable, I'm warm now and breathing more heavily as I climb towards home. Still no traffic - even as I pass over the busy main road there's no need to pause. The world is still asleep - I have all this to myself.

I get home, change, shower and make a coffee - it's 5.45am

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