Nice and fresh this morning as I rode in to work. With 4 layers on top and 2 on my legs, it was just about right as the mercury dropped to -8C at the lowest point of the ride. Glorious blue skies more than make up for the cold, I’d rather have this than rain and/or high winds. As is often said there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices.
The first commute of the year is always a trip in to the slight unknown but this year even more so. Now with a cyclocross bike in the stable I intend to try some varied routes using bridleways, canal towpaths and old railway lines. I had left earlier than normal anticipating the slower speeds that going off road would involve, with a riding time of an hour for 12 miles it proved a wise choice.
The ride is not about speed and PB’s, it is about the journey and as I mixed and matched the urban part of the ride I was soon reminded of why road riding, at commuting time, can be so stressful. There were the inevitable motorised vehicle users who had not cleaned their screens and did not see me. Being aware of this meant there were no near misses thankfully as I could see the problems coming. Then there are the cars that pass you as you are on a bike, hence you must be slower. Mostly this is just a minor annoyance although today I had one who passed and then pulled in and braked in front of me, oh joy!
But the off-road sections have different obstacles. Dog walkers are the first and generally not a problem as the dogs normally spot you in good time warning their owners. The dogs can be unpredictable as you never know what they will make of you but they almost always make you smile as they are having a good time, not many dogs dislike going for a walk and that playful energy they have is nice to see.
There are people walking to work too with the headphones in and music on. Now I know many who will rant about this but on canal towpaths one must remember pedestrians have priority and cyclists must ride responsibly and give way. I’m fine with that, I just need to keep it in mind. Live and let live…