Monday, 22 April 2013
It's a sunny Saturday morning - fresh and crisp, blue sky, birds twittering and busying themselves, there is a sudden explosion of new growth all around. The shrubs in the garden have transformed overnight, new buds and even leaves have appeared as if by magic. There are plants pushing up from the earth, seeds are germinating, spring has sprung.
We're away to Lincoln today for James's birthday party - there's a barbecue planned and a big bouncy castle - it looks like the perfect day for it. But first I need to get out for a few miles. Looking out from the bedroom at the bright sky and sun, the shadows and calm - I decide shorts would be good. It takes a while to find a pair but soon I'm ready to go. Shorts...and track mitts - for the first time this year, it's a good feeling and somehow a lot quicker and easier than layering up. I get to the garage and decide to pump up my tyres - maximum pressure for today seems a good plan - the roads are clear and dry. I set off heading in the opposite direction to my normal route. I wander out along a quiet road and turn towards Newbold Verdon, its a lumpy road, like riding along the back of a sleeping dinosaur, but the sun and lack of any discernable headwind make the journey agreeable. At Newbold I turn left then right heading towards Market Bosworth, I've driven along this road but never cycled it - then I turn left past the Rugby club towards Cadeby and from there Sutton Cheney. I turn right and freewheel past the Bosworth Battlefield site and towards Shenton. The fine morning has tempted every cyclist in the locality to make the effort it seems. The roads are overflowing with riders; groups, single, couples - all need a glance, a nod, an acknowledgement.
I work my way round to Carlton via far Coton, past the water park and climb the hill back toward home - I'm in no rush, no heroics, just a gentle, easy pace - soaking up the early morning atmosphere and smiling all the way. My mind drifts in chaotic waves - work problems, lists of things to do, how to set up music streaming through the house, motorhome or caravan?, bike service, doctors appointment, dentist appointment, how good the beer is at the George & Dragon, Sour dough bread..... the list is endless and before I know it I'm up the hill and rolling down toward Barton in the Beans - more cyclists, this time a big club run moving quickly, all working hard, heads down, breathing heavily - serious stuff. More I moment I think they're missing the point. Today is perfect to be sitting up on the bike, looking around, thinking, enjoying - sometimes riding requires such effort and concentration that there is no time just to enjoy the simple, basic proposition.
I get home and feel sorry that its over - I would have liked to have gone further. I've planned a route to Lincoln - around 80 miles via quiet back roads and cycle tracks - maybe next time. I've also planned routes to Oxford, Cambridge and other far-flung destinations. The good weather is here - what's stopping me?