Was it really?

I think that it was National Cycle day on the 22nd June but I haven’t seen much written about it so am wondering was it really?  Maybe its because I’m new to the blogging thing and haven’t been savy enough to find what I’m looking for   I decided to mark the date by taking photos of my journey in the morning.  I’m lucky enough not to have to endure the danger of a ride to work in an urban centre.  The added bonus of this is that I’m able to alter my route through mostly countryside to reduce boredom & increase distances if I fancy it.

The weather was typical of what is turning out to be a bloody rubbish summer-light rain/”white cloud” forcast on my weather app & a complete contrast to the glorious sun on Wednesday morning.  At least it wasn’t cold…

So I started off into the 17mph SW headwind on wet roads following a route that I hadn’t yet taken.  After 1km, I passed the familiar sight of Hatfield Forest.  My longer routes take me about 6km around the Forest perimeter and more often than not I’m greeted by a herd of cows wandering across the road to graze where ever they fancy.  I’ve developed a cautious weaving approach to their indifference to cycle traffic but today they were on the other side of the field, wandering near my intended trail 1km further on. 

I’m not the greatest fan of cows unless they are on my plate in the form of Chilli con Carne or Spagetti Bolognese but had to stop to record this regular sight of my morning commute.  I always find their docile, inquisitive nature a bit intimidating & today was no different as they came en masse to greet me.  A quick pic & a strategic sprint up the road to avoid any conversation with them took me some more distance towards Sawbridgeworth and an inconvenient level crossing. While I watched the unfortunates file down the road to the station to start a far more frustrating commute, I realised that I was the fool & could’ve avoided the crossing altogether & joined the river tow path at an alternate point further west…

After a cooling 5 minute wait, I was off again but only had to share my way with cars for another 100 metres when I took the river towpath for the rest of the journey.  I planned this route as the quietest available but it turned out not to be that cycle friendly for a couple of reasons.   The start looked peaceful & welcoming after the bustle of the level crossing but not all of the tow path was flat and a section of 2km just before Harlow Mill was only a groove carved out by walking traffic.  This was pretty hard going on the legs given my recent purchase of a re con bike with no suspension. There was also plenty of early morning walkers with & without dogs who seemed surprised to see me & the narrow paths in some places made finding mutual space difficult.  Mental note-don’t cycle the river between Sheering lock & Harlow Mill again.  After Harlow Mill, the path was a great finale to this ride, flat, easy to cruise and no walkers to negotiate.

So that was my ride in on National Cycle to Work day-nowhere near the quickest & not one that I will wholly commit to again. Parts of this one I will add to another route in the future, especially the final 5km into Harlow by the river.   I did cycle back home in better weather with a tail wind avoiding the level crossing-a round trip of 43km on river paths, country lanes as well as a busy road.  Doing this twice a week easily beats driving…

About biking2work

Sometimes bad tempered Dad to 2 sons who break things. Use the 2 wheels to get from A to B when I can
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