Tuesday, 11 March 2014

New bike out!...

Sunday morning was even brighter and warmer than Saturday. The sunlight is somehow unfamiliar, harsh but so, so welcome. After weeks in the swill of rain and mud a whole weekend of sunny weather and blue skies feels like a celebration.

It's shorts again - and I decide, on the spur of the moment, to pull out the new bike from underneath a pile of empty boxes and old sheets. I had planned to strip it down last autumn - never happened. I promised instead a definite spring clean; no time now - just pump up the tyres, wipe off the collected sawdust, a spray of lubricant and that'll do - I just want to get out.

The difference between this and my old machine is immediately apparent and I am smiling, almost laughing after only a few pedal strokes. My position on the bike feels so much better, it reacts instantly to any direct pressure on the pedals, it feels sleek and fast. The saddle is bloody hard though.

It being a Sunday there are even more cyclists out than yesterday - There is a steady line in front of me heading into the distance - I can count three, no four stretched out in a broken line. I quickly catch the first and overtake with ease - he may have been out for many miles but I don't care - I have been overtaken endlessly on my old bike - it's revenge!

I zoom along my usual short route - it's about 10.00 in the morning I don't want to be out too long after the 40+ miles of yesterday, and I've got other things planned for the day. But I admit to wishing I'd picked the new bike for yesterday's ride - it would have been easier and faster. There are yellowhammers in the trees as I pass through Congerstone - in the sunshine they are as bright as golden nuggets against the thicket of twigs - no proper singing though - no mention of 'a little-bit-of-bread-and-cheese' I wonder if birds have regional accents? - has anybody ever worked that out?

There's a ploughing match just outside Shackerstone - I see the signs and a village of tents and stop for a while to watch. There's a wide variety of machines in action; new shiny fandango models cutting easily and steadily across the land, and then there's the gunmetal grey contraption that looks like it was dragged from the corner of Steptoe's yard and sounds like Gary at the top of Mont Ventoux.

After 10 minutes or so I carry on, the sun warm and welcoming, tempts me to go further but I resist - this weekend signals the start of spring for me (if not summer) this high pressure may be just a blip, but it has offered hope and reminds me that fair weather and light is close. It feels good.

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