I sat at the bench this morning enjoying the sunshine, as usual I took a photograph of my bike and posted it to Instagram, a simple expression of gratitude for the day. The egg and mushroom butty was savoured, my flask coffee was endured and I reached for my book, in short time my phone pinged and an Instagram contact (@notenoughmikess) had commented on my photograph, the gist of it being about the bike being ‘one for the muddy lane connoisseur’ I laughed at that phrase, and then thought about how apt it was.
Only yesterday the three of us were riding along these same lanes on very similar bikes which are essentially built for these very lanes, big tyres (40mm minimum) mudguards (essential in winter) a comfortable non racing position and the essential big bag full of ‘just in case’ stuff that rarely gets used. Pondering the phrase I put my book away and headed to ‘the back lane that rarely dries out’ with the intention of taking some photographs to capture the winter alternative to ‘grassupthemiddle’
We sometimes take our lanes for granted here at grassupthemiddle, the Cheshire tundra rarely offers any real physical challenges but we have miles and miles of back lanes to explore, steeped in cycling history (read Charlie Chadwick for examples of this) and we ride them most weeks oblivious to how lucky we are, thanks to a comment from an internet friend today my appreciation was rekindled, I was still smiling even as I hosed down the bike (for the fourth time in as many days!) I hope you enjoy both the photographs and a new (at least to us) hashtag #muddylaneconnoisuer thanks to Mike.
Words and pictures – Steve Makin