At times it’s easy to forget that riding a bike should be an essentially pleasurable activity, as opposed to something forged in the white heat of competition, where limitation of suffering and management of pain is the defining feature.
Yesterday i went for a ride along The Strawberry Line, a disused railway line in North Somerset. It’s fairly gentle with no inclines and weaves an asphalt line through the sub-mendip flatland, starting at Yatton and ending somewhere near Cheddar; we chose to stop at the Lamb in Axbridge for a cyclists’ lunch.
it was quiet and blissful; no cars, not many people, and only the sounds of birds, trees whispering to one another in the breeze and the gentle click of the freewheel. although it wasn’t my freewheel, it was belle’s, i rode a 65″ with a saddlebag. we were both pretty old-school, in a sort of ‘team bob jackson’ kind of way. i think we managed around 18 miles, all told, and by the end of it I was pretty shattered. there’s no rhyme or reason, i guess i’m in the ‘progressive overload‘ part of a training block, but i still felt bonked out.
but still, i was reminded of the simple link between cycling and happiness, especially when riding with a companion, of how riding a bike provides access to beautiful places, and how lovely and calm the north somerset countryside can be.