Life’s been so busy for weeks that I’ve hardly had time to ride at all. From 3 or 4 evenings a week, I’m down to one odd morning every fortnight or so. :0(
Anyway, today dawned bright and clear, if a little blustery, and I had the morning free, so…
Starting from one of my regular spots, not far from the River Trent, I rode down to the river bank, then up river, past the Nottingham Forest football ground, under Trent Bridge, over the rather tricky suspension bridge, and onwards…
It was a relief still to be able to freemount 1st time. The Coker felt strangely wobbly. last year I was belting around on it for hours at a time, and it was as steady as a rock; now it’s slightly unfamiliar, to be treated with caution and respect… all that hard practice, and already the skills are deteriorating.
About 3 miles upstream, and now on a tarmac cycle path, I came to the pedestrian underpass, which must have more slopes up and down and more secret tunnels than an Indiana Jones set.
I rode all the tunnels and slopes, nearly hitting an unsuspecting bicyclist who came singing round one of the blind corners, never considering there might be others in the tunnel. (He clearly never played D&D as a youth or he would have been more cautious… me, I’m always on the look out for orcs and gelatinous cubes… although I admit the bicyclist was a surprise. I ask you! What level monster is a bl**dy bicycle?)
So, back out, blinking in the sunlight, and through the industrial estate and onto the canal bank. Apart from dismounting for a pedestrian crossing at a busy road junction, I’d ridden about 6.5 miles (10.4) km ‘in one’ when I got to the marina and cafe. Here, I replaced vital body fluids and nutrients (coffee and chocolate cake) before turning back.
I’ve never liked simple ‘out and back’ rides, so I diverted along a different section of river bank, riding a mile or so along narrow, winding single track, just enjoying the rhythm of the ride, dancing with the dynamics. Lovely.
Somehow, I ended up riding a long section of urban cycle track, first beside the busy ring road, then into the city, where I found the cycle track blocked by a workmen’s van and trailer. This forced a dismount, and as I walked through the narrow gap, muttering darkly, one of the workmen, who was less highly evolved than the rest, wittily commented on my unusual method of tranport. I think his exact words were, “Ooooooo, ooo oo eee eee , hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah, oooooooo, eeeeeee!” (I could be wrong, but I do know it had lots of vowels, very little vocabulary, and no obvious syntax.)
Entering into the spirit of the debate, I gave him the two fingered salute, and rode off with a merry cry of “W****r!”
The next comment was more helpful: an old man who simply said, “Ah should watch that bridge ovver theer, yewth.” Sure enough, the next bridge was very low. I had to lean my torso forwards to horizontal to ride under it. With a sharp dip down, a pile of leaves and rubbish at the bottom, then a short sharp climb up from under the bridge, it was quite a challenge.
From there, I was soon back on the familiar canal towpath route, bast the incredulous and inarticulate anglers, then over Trent Bridge, and down the river towards the car. On the last leg of the ride, I heard a bicycle approaching from behind. Courteously, I turned off the path onto the rough to wave her past. It was a child of about 12 on a small mountain bike - no manners, no 'Thank you" for pulling out of her way, but she did think it amusing to ride no handed in front of me for about 5 yards before losing her nerve. Hah! The kids of today!
Only about 13.5 miles (21.5 km) in about 1:30, but a pleasant ride, and nice to be back on the wheel again.