04.38 was my wake up call from the cat. I got up, fed him and went back to bed to snooze until my planned alarm woke me. I drifted into a trance reheasing my morning route after last night’s biblical torrent that ensured that I wouldn’t have to water the garden for a while. And then, my eyes popped open with a sudden realisation. I had left my shoes out in the warm evening sun to dry off after yesterday’s splishy, splashy spin home. They would be saturated, wetter than a whales wallet after last night! I got up, making sure that I remembered my merino socks to keep my wet feet warm for the journey in to work. After boiling the kettle for coffee, I got to work on my poor sodden Shimano SPD touring shoes, stuffing them with newspaper to take away the worst of the moisture.
I browsed lawn trimmers over coffee while I waited. Our new house, which we are yet to finalise the purchase of (owing mainly to our sale falling through twice now) has an over grown lawn. So it needs the top taking off it before gradually cutting it back and, as I don’t have one, it’s finally time to buy one. I have always avoided it, despite protestations from Mrs B2W who likes the look of a nice, tidy, ordered garden. That means more work and I like the look of a little overgrowth around borders and fences. Besides, it encourages insects and wildlife and I’ve always made do with occasionally using hedge clippers to manually trim it to keep the peace. For me, trimmers are the carpet bombing of the garden world compared to the precision of manual cutting but I think that I have lost this battle after many years of argument and counter argument. I eventually headed out 20 minutes earlier than planned with a Foo Fighters ear worm on loop to keep my tempo (with adapted lyrics):
I, I’m a one way motorway
I’m the one that rides away
Then follows you back home
I, I’m a sluggish spinner
I’m a slow plod pedalling
Grinding off alone.
It’s times like these you want to bike again
It’s times like these you spin and spin again
It’s times like these you love to ride again
It’s times like these time and time again
I, I’m a new day rising
I’m on a brand new ride
To get myself to work
I am a little divided
Do I ride this way
Or get to work on time?
Apologies to Dave Grohl et al but it worked for me as I made my way effortlessly into a light breeze taking a slight detour and getting to work on time under gry skies. It was a productive, enjoyable day with pre-meetings ahead of a big one for Monday taking up the majority of the morning. Filming a resus video made for a quick afternoon before my last ride home for the week. The Friday evening rush hour chaos that was a pre C word event has now returned.
I went via some shared cycle paths out of town and within a couple of km came across a white Audi, having found themselves at a barrier reversing back up the path to get back the road. They were wobbling from side to side an I narrowly missed being clipped and ruining their precious paintwork. Looks like this moron decided on a short cut that weng wrong. A Land Rover Defender, emblazoned with a landscape design logo with its rattling trailer clattered past. An arm was stretched out from the passenger side as if to assure me that I was safe. A boy racer in his 3 door weaved his way around others at high speed from the other direction almost taking me out. I was in one of those nightmares waiting for the next calamity over which I had no control. I had to wake up but I couldn’t. This was real life.
Having become used to emptier roads I don’t know how I coped before lock down. The sudden volume of speeding cars felt intimidating, as if I didn’t belong anymore and I hadn’t even gone 10km yet. “Bugger this!” I thought and ducked in to the back road behind Sawbridgeworth to take a longer but quiter ride home while I was still alive. There were less cars but still, some having discovered the back roads as a rat run behaved as above. The Peugeot convertible swinging past on a blind corner belching filthy exhaust into me was a particular highlight.
In the end, whenever someone was behind me, unable to pass because the road was too narrow, I just pulled over to let them go. Even though they waved or signalled their thanks I knew my place in the world. My legs, tired from a 7th 200km week running were pleased for the intermittent stops and slowing to a pleasant spin home. I finished the ride home with an uncomfortable bumpy trundle through the forest but at least it was quiet. Commute #70 was one of the most memorable rides of the year, the second half for all the wrong reasons. The first half is what I am remembering for all the right reasons. It goes without saying that my plan for next Friday is for a quieter but longer route home.
Here is the link for my morning inspiration. That intro! https://youtu.be/rhzmNRtIp8k