Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fair-weather cyclist

In February I started commuting to work for the very first time.
With the weather being generally dreadful my appearances on the early morning roads were tempered to perhaps two or three days a week.
My excuses however were not of frostbitten toes, or having to put on wet clothing, clearly the truth would have presented me as an impostor in the world of ‘cycle commuting’.
Instead, my excuses revolved around logistics.
The requirement to have smart and pressed clothes ready for work each day, the retention of that highly important ‘corporate image’.
Other cyclists and colleagues at work offered advice and help in how to overcome these barriers.
They volunteered to take my clothes in for me or suggested that I collect during working hours (Whilst driving close to my house).
Eventually my excuses wore out and rather than admit to being a ‘Lilly livered wimp’, I now commute 5 days a week whatever the weather.
I don’t particularly like getting up at 5am every morning and find it strange going to bed before the illumination of my residential street, but these are now constants that I have now adapted to. They are part of my daily routine.
There are also other constants:
At 5:46 I meet Joanne at the Long lane junction
At 5:51 I see the chestnut mare in the adjoining pasture
At 6:01 I wave to a spotty youth on a mountain bike going the opposite direction
At 6:06 I overtake 3 Eastern European ‘Greenhouse’ workers who are also riding to work, there are no buses available at this hour. They don’t get to choose.
At 6:13 I wave to a road racer on his morning training ride
At 6:17 I see three more cyclists travelling towards and past me, on their way to Swift Caravan Manufacturers. Two are older on old bikes, they wear fluorescent jackets, the other much younger is on a red road bike, he wears black and smiles.
At 6:19 A low loader passes too close to me carrying two Swift Caravans – I shake my head and show the finger
At 6:20 I part company with Joanne as we peel off towards our differing destinations.
At 6:22 I see a deer drinking from a pond.
At 6:27 I see a woman on a motor/scooter travelling towards and past me. She never wears a helmet and seems happy about it.
At 6:33 I arrive at work.
I don’t have to look at my watch to know when I reach my respective way points, I just know.

Last week the weather was glorious light winds, clear skies and temperatures in the mid 70s.
Cycling was a pure joy, but with the sunshine came a plague of cyclists ‘The Fair-weather Commuter’ They flooded my roads with overly exuberant smiles and destabilizing waves, knocking out my metronomic inner timepiece and diluting my landmarks in a sea of Lycra.

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