30 Days of Biking in the South Pennines

Joining in the fun with #30daysofbiking

Ruth’s Diary of a Novice : Day 14 Joy

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No pootling today. Today I leapt out of bed – well I would have done if my back hadn’t seized up over night. Instead I crawled into my cycling shorts eager to see if the rhythmic exercise would once again release those wotsits in my spine and make me feel human again. I set off without a map, a device or any idea about where I was going. A hare regarded me quizzically from the middle of the road so I rode towards him – first directional choice made. I then chose roads according to whether they had blossom in the hedges, funny pointy things in their fields, or grass growing up their naval. I like travelling like this – taking a left or a right on whim, not knowing where you are going or caring why. We’ve lost too much in travel with trip advisor and Lonely Planet, there are no surprises any more if you pay too much attention.

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So I chose roads with grass on them – I like these roads as they remind me how nature takes over relentlessly whether it be a wreck on the sea floor or a small road that’s less well travelled. They also remind me of my childhood – my dad loved the narrowest grassy roads, seeking out long forgotten rural churches with my mum palpitating in panic on the passenger seat, fearing every corner. I suddenly felt in touch with those happy days and it made me smile.

I saw a wind farm in the distance and headed towards it. Wind is a funny thing. Other than scattering pollen I really can’t see what the point of it is in the great scheme of things. For a diver wind means one of three things;

  • you’re not going;
  • you are going but you’re going to be sick into your regulators; or
  • you’re going and its blissfully flat calm, but its been so windy the day before that everything’s churned up and the visibility underwater is still pants anyhow.

For a cyclist (well one like me at any rate) wind is a mental killer. It’s something else that hurls itself at you on an incline, mocking your weakening resolve and shaky legs and screaming ‘turn back, turn back’. You know though that if you turn back, the ‘sods law’ rule kicks in and the wind turns direction and still blasts maliciously into your face.

At the wind farm I turned sort of right and headed along the undulating hills, finally turning right again to drop back down to the coast. There is something quite profound about navigating to a coast, arriving at the point where land meets water and being able to go no further. At one point on my route I was slightly alarmed that my navigation had gone mightily awry as I was within 1 mile of Bradford. I travelled the small road to Bradford, but never found it; perhaps it no longer exists. Judging by the road signs I cycled over 25 miles this morning before breakfast, but I’ve really no idea and I really don’t care because things don’t always have to be quantified, sometimes it just enough to do it and enjoy.

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