Once again the stars aligned.
A perfect combination of weather, bikes and people.
The chippy run happened!
A late August bout of dry weather saw our local Cheshire lanes drying out and turning to dust, this always has me reaching for the allen keys, twitching to remove those seven bolts that free the bike from the tyranny of mudguards, its a naive move that is certain to anger the weather gods but still it happens 🙂
We met at our usual spot, a message had been sent a few days earlier, a few of the gang replied in the negative, real life getting in the way. A few positives though was enough for me, the canal towpath seemed quiet but I wanted dust on my tyres so we headed out round the back way.
Once we’d crossed the main road and into the trees my instinct was right and we were riding into the sun, it must have been about 18 degrees and as still as it could be, still enough for the dust released by the last traveller to hang in the air.
Soon enough we were at the chippy, the usual decision shenanigans were dispensed with for a straight forward fish chips and curry sauce order, the food was bagged and we were onto our destination…
A few miles more of riding into the light and we three found our version of heaven, the bench was unoccupied and the farmer was out there harvesting his grain, far enough away to be not too loud, but within our vision. Beautifully framed by the drooping branches of the early autumn trees and the warm glow of a fading sun.
There wasn’t much conversation for a few minutes, just those noises you make when you are eating without the need for good manners, the Dandelion & Burdock was slurped down, the cans crushed, the empty chip bags stashed away and then time was taken to sit back and savour.
The conversation was the same as always, our worlds being put to rights, anyone overhearing would be baffled, the chat was punctuated by a chap riding along on the track behind us singing Bob Dylan at the top of his voice, we all laughed at this, slightly envious of his couldn’t care less attitude.
Usually we head off to the nearby pub (The Vine) a fine old establishment that suits our vibe with its bottled stout and no electronic devices rule, but tonight we decided to head off home to enjoy that lovely evening light. We made our way back a different way, making the most of the dry trails and soon enough we are splitting off for our respective homes.
Now, the lack of mudguards made for a delightful ride, the bike always rides lighter and its a joyous freedom from what we usually ride in, however this morning as I’m writing this I’m looking at a bike that is filthy dirty, covered in dust and the drive train is caked in a mixture of oil and dust, I’m going to have to clean the bloody thing!
Words and pictures – Steve Makin