Sunday, 18 November 2012

Flying high above the sadness and the fear

I rode to work a couple of times this week. On Wednesday, at Barrow Gurney lights, a car tried to go, where there wasn't space for it to go as I took the corner at about 20 mph. As I was taking the immediate right turn down the back road, beautifully called "Wild Country Lane" (and there are a few good reasons why that name is apt), I stayed right, indicated and turned.

I'm not going to list the stream of invective and abuse from the man, sorry, the idiot, driving the car. "Arse" was involved, safe to say it wasn't tolerant, mutually-respecting language.

I sighed, inwardly and outwardly, I really did. The poor soul would be held up by the traffic jam I could see he was headed towards in about 10 seconds. I'm just so tired of the noise and the abuse you get, seemingly just because you are riding a bike on the road. And holding the line as well and not cowering in the gutter and the potholes.
All of the commuting this week took place in grey and drizzly conditions of varying degrees. Lots of mud, lots of fog, and that dampness that comes with Autumn. Some of that lifted a bit yesterday when junior MR and I went for a walk down to the village along the Strawberry Line. Besides having a proper, and wide-ranging conversation, we watched a football match at the park, did a few errands and looked through the window of the car showroom.

It was the first time I had that thing where you think, "I must send Mum a picture of this, she'd be thrilled", before realising. She loved her sports cars.

So despite the near-freezing temperature, it was so lovely to see the sun shining in a crystal-clear sky when I looked out of the window this morning. Is it a metaphor? I hope so.

And even better, by the miracle of e-mail, social-networking and talking to each other, we managed to assemble six riders (Martyn, Trevor, Paul, Steve & a worryingly-full-of-potential offspring, Isaac) for a group ride towards the Eastern Mendips. This is not a territory we frequent that much, but holds much promise, especially at this time of year.

Views for one thing, spectacular vistas from the ridge line above Crosscombe towards the levels, Glastonbury, Brent Knoll and the Poldens. This is a view I took later on which shows how clear the air was today after all that mist of the last week.

Then as we circled back and came down Constitution Hill into Wells, we were afforded a splendid view of the cathedral. And there were other sights too, the trees, hanging on to the last few remaining leaves, offer some spectacular last gasps of colour before the monochrome of Winter sets in. 

Our coffee stop at the Rock Cake Cafe coincided with the arrival/departure/etc. of about a dozen or so other cyclists of different groups and varieties, and it all made for a very convivial atmosphere. Paul decided to head straight back to Brent Knoll with a group he knew, and we did a swap, acquiring Mark from their group for the rest of the ride.

Meeting up slightly later meant we avoided any lingering ice and all made it home in one piece, always good.

Our plan had not survived contact with the terrain, and so after a little jaunt up to the top of Old Frome road, we circled back into Shepton, where after an unplanned detour (see what happens when I don't have a Garmin, I get lost!) we headed up the road on the other side of the Crosscombe valley back to Wells.

Gradually people peeled off, first to go were the Downs, man and boy, the latter may be lightning up hills, but his stick-thin frame (it's not about the bike!) finds it hard going on longer jaunts, especially on the flat. What's that saying? "Youth and skill are no match for old age and treachery".

I suppose I was next, as I headed for Mudgley Hill and Rug Hill and Cheddar, and the rest headed for the flat lands by the sea. I had enjoyed the company tremendously, and it was also nice to have some time to myself, enjoy the fresh air and let my mind wander a bit.

Today's route looked like this, well for me it did anyway, and included an extra loop into Winscombe to make it over the 50 mile mark, necessitating a climb of Alpe de Winscombe. Just to make sure I circled around the Barton road, and came up the lane. With the trees and the low-hanging sun, I took a couple of minutes to capture the moment, the beauty and reflect that this year I really have had some wonderful support from an awful lot of people. And sometimes just riding the bike in the sun, along the ridge looking out over the landscape, is enough to transcend the murk, the mist and even the idiots who are in too much of a hurry to see we are all going to the same place.

Enjoy the ride. I did.

1 comment:

  1. Guy

    And indeed I did (enjoy the ride) - great company, weather etc - apart from the puncture on the way back to Mark.

    Thanks for leading.