It’s you bin taking all my stravas

On the way home today i got to chatting to a fellow cyclist. this is quite an unusual occurrence; most commuters are either extremely slow or hell-bent on some kind of lone criterium where they’re the only one racing and they failed to mention it to the other people they’re racing against. I’ve had a few stick to my wheel like a chopper incarnation of cadel evans. it’s quite irritating. I’ve had to ask a few to not ride so close in traffic. Wheelsucking on a commute annoys me; it’s dangerous. But nevermind. Blah blah blah ride faster. Anyhow, we were chatting and it was all very cordial. He then took to admiring my bike – I was on the fixed weapon. This won him extra points. Then he said; “you’re the one who’s bin taking all my stravas”. At which point i said, “probably, yeah, me or some guy called Ben”.

In reality, I have a few KOMs on Strava. i’ve recently rejoined the sickly online high-score table and have managed to just about curb my resentment and hatred of the site in order to access the really rather useful features; namely, the capacity to measure your improvements against yourself on climbs. I don’t have that many KOMs and they’re not that good; they’re certainly not ‘on the shelf’, nothing ever is, and by setting a time all you do is set it up for everyone else to have a pop at. And there is always, always a bigger or weirder gorilla. That aside, it’s been very useful at charting like-for-like improvements, hefty tailwinds not withstanding.

The mornings are getting dark. In fact, the mornings are dark. I came across the bridge at 7am and a sea fret was rolling up the gorge in billowing clouds. It was beautiful to watch. I took some shonky photos with my phone.


cycling through the crepuscular murk

i like the word ‘crepuscular’. i’d even go so far as to say that it’s one of my favourites. yesterday’s training ride was entirely crepuscular. i ventured out into a calm and quiet evening, eager to get a good hour and a half in with some big climbs before the scheduled club meeting. the pace was good – i felt liberated and emboldened by the absence of the bullying winds, and i slowly began the climb up and out of Bristol.

Dundry was shrouded in a dense fog, the orange lights bled a murky glow onto the hillside and the fog flowed in waves across my bike light (hope vision one, in case you’re asking, a staple of the past three winters and the perfect country lane light). i enjoyed the surreal and otherworldly glow, felt safe and secure and was riding well. still nights or mornings with fog are beautiful. sometimes in spring i can ride through the fog and see the sunrise and experience the ethereal beauty of the morning, and when i get to work all i have is the vague memory of something different; my colleagues arrive and they are unaware of the spectral beauty that i have experienced on my way to work; all traces have been expunged by the sun’s diurnal progress. i feel privileged.

i inched my way down dundry carefully, visibility was a bit restricted, but not too much. by the time i’d arrived at redhill the fog had closed in. i turned up into the woods and swifty found i couldn’t see much further than around 10 feet; car lights approached as a nebulous glow, and my headlight seemed to dissipate and bounce off the droplets in the air. it was spectacular, and daunting. i know the road well, and yet at one point the branches and trees closed in and I lost all familiar references; for a fleeting few moments my mind meandered and i felt as though i might be entering a different dimension in time and space – i thought it was the road to backwell, but it could well have been a shortcut to some fantastical land. it was quite an experience. at its thickest, the fog was sufficient for cars i met to come to a complete stop and wait for me to pass, such was its encompassing power. i dropped back down to the valley and was pleased to be able to once again recognise landmarks.

on my way back in to Bristol i came up and over the suspension bridge. i am unfailingly moved by the scale and wonder of this feature. it’s fantastic. i try to factor it into as many rides as i can, and regularly ride over it in the early mornings. it’s one of the many remarkable features of the city.

fog up on dundry, where it flows among green aits and meadows
   fog down on belmont, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of traffic
a nether sky of fog, with fog all around
the bridge


Yesterday’s come dine with me featured a snake shitting at the dining table. steve and gem told me about it so i watched it on 4od. it was horrific; i’m not sure things can ever be as bad as that. although going back to work after the savagery of chaingang and rollapaluza comes close. my legs felt heavy today, but the commute was enlivened by the fog hanging silently across the tops of the hills. it was the same on the way back, my light (the hope vision, amazing thing) created an eerie beam and cars seemed to be gliding through murky pools, the grey miasma swirling in the half-light.

it’s this bit that i like, the ever-changing atmospherics, the chance to see the weather and the shifts in the seasons. i don’t like feeling tired though and neither am i a fan of the ten minutes it takes to don the winter cycling kit.

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