Summer had truly arrived and the day could not be denied a cycle ride thus a purpose was devised as an excuse to treat the day. A dianthus, abundant in flower and scent, was placed with care in the bike bag, a small token for a gravely ill lady. But first a visit to the boat to collect a prayer magnet for her fridge.
The water flowed sloth slow past the boat which was lazily shifting in the mid day sun. Magpie arguments and robin trills gave backdrop to the gentle rustle of lime green leaves, barely out of their spring fresh furls.
Passing boats had made her restless and she had pulled at her mooring pins, loose in the drought parched towpath turf. I bent with club hammer tap to them further in, one by one. The natural sounds were cut through by the toign, toign, toign of hammer blows, echoing off the old school flint wall.
The job easily completed with little effort I straightened, or tried to, as all nature’s greens, blues and browns exploded like a mad kaleidoscope and sounds were muted as my back expressly desired that I refrain from standing straight. I could not, can not, understand what had brought on this stubbornness, this ingratitude for being taken for an afternoon ride. Although I remonstrated with it, it remained inflexible, it would not resume its normal service today.
Boat pinned back and fridge magnet retrieved I shuffled off, no not off this mortal coil, but off the towpath to the road. History has taught me and reminded many times that the bike is more forgiving of an injury that shank’s pony. However at times like this I do wish I had the saddle lower. First the hobble to get to the kerb, then the shuffle to get the feet in position, then the leg lift and stretch, will it go or will it just go off like one of those small elastic bands too small for the job in hand? Ah the relief to sit, pedal and enjoy easy movement again.
So off to Ricky by road, a climb in sun then past shady horse chestnut trees, just losing their spring blossom. A drop, a climb, then the swoop down, past the speed camera, trying to get it to picture me, alas three miles per hour too slow.
And so to meet and greet the boaters, to get tea and cake at the lock side cafe and chat in the shade along the towpath.
“Ahh” they think, “here comes a lean and fit cyclist”. Then I alight and shuffle like a penguin, both of us being creatures best suited to a different mode of travel. “Ohh” they then think, “see how bad cycling is for you”.
And so, purposes fulfilled, ride completed, that is why I sit here this evening, watching the sunset on one of the warmest days of the year so far, leaning against, a hot water bottle.