I’ve not ridden my bike in what seems like forever.
I can’t just ride for the sake of it, that’s partly the problem.
Always happy to hibernate during the Winter months, I make do with cycling to and from work and grabbing the odd (rare) fine day in between.
Its those in betweens that have been non existent over the last few months. Every weekend has been plagued by dreary weather and my motivation has been worn down by dissapointment. So much so that even on the not so bad days, I’ve struggled to find the urge.
With some favourable weather on the way I finally got the itch back last week and spent all week looking forward to an early wake up call and a ride out on some of my favourite trails & lanes.
One of the big reasons for falling out of the habit of regular riding was moving house in early February (a major effort!) Worth it though, for many reasons, but the best as far as my riding is concerned is the fact that I now live right on the Bridgewater Canal. Meaning a traffic free gateway to multiple routes.
Heading down the canal for a few minutes then peeling off onto the Trans Pennine Trail this morning I began the healing process…
I’ve read a lot of books whilst being off the bike, which is a positive. My thirst for knowledge remains thankfully undiminished regardless of what the weather may be doing!
It is being outdoors that I crave the most however, and thats where the most important knowledge is to be found. I picked up a book yesterday that touches on the idea of how terms used through the ages for learning and knowledge are inextricably linked to the words for path and trail etc… (‘to learn’ – ‘to follow a track). The books focus is on walking, but it easily translates to two wheels for me.
Feeling the wind and the effort, alert to every sight and sound. As if on a processional pathway, I travel a familiar route to gain calm and re-learn some valuable lessons.
The landscape through which I ride takes little time in calming the mind and after a few pace checks (I have a tendency to feel like I’m in a hurry when I haven’t ridden for a while) I settle into a relaxed easy rythym and muscle memory shifts into gear.
4 hours of therapy was exactly what was needed today. Sunny Spring days are glorious on the local (Cheshire) lanes. So green and plump with promise. The trees are full of magic and the countryside is busy with colour and life.
Oh, and Chapel Lane is finally re-open. Slightly tarnished (the new bypass!) but still lovely, it is an old favourite and a vital link for good routes to and from the surrounding lanes.
Though the legs were a little sluggish (they came good eventually!) my heart is full and my brain is refreshed, ready for a Spring/Summer season packed with more of the same.
Words & pictures – Paul Rance.