Another day, another pedal

Today’s picture is another one from my sister Mary.  It shows a pair of handsome ducks in Parliament Hill Fields in London.

Parliament Hill Fields 2nd Dec 2011

We are promised more storms as Atlantic depressions get wound up out in the middle of the ocean but meanwhile we have had a couple of nice, calm days.  The temperature had crept up to 5° C  after breakfast so I thought I could safely take out the speedy bike today.  The speedy bike adds a bit of wind chill to your pedalling because of the slightly higher speeds but 5°  is not too bad as long as it doesn’t rain too hard.

For some reason that I don’t understand but which may have had something to do with the recent visits to the garden of a sparrowhawk, there were very few birds about this morning.  An occasional blue tit was all that brightened my day.

blue tit
I don't what they find to peck at on the metal bar

The cycling was enjoyable but rather dull as I headed off down the main road to Longtown again.  This time I kept going through the town and headed out on the Brampton road until I got to Newtown, which is more or less exactly on the twenty mile mark.

The forecast had offered a twenty percent chance of rain and I ran into a light shower just before I got to my turning point.  Newtown is on the line of Hadrian’s Wall and I often see walkers going past when I am there. There were none today as I munched a couple of bananas.

The sharp eyed may just be able to make out the wooden signpost marking the trail along the wall.

As I set off for home, the penalty for stopping on a cold damp day had to be paid.  I am wearing so many clothes while pedalling that I work up a good sweat and as a result when I stop, I get quite chilled.  I spent the next ten miles wasting good cycling calories building my body heat back up.

It rained a little on my way home too but the nearer that I got to home, the finer the weather became.  I stopped for a last snack beside a faded signboard for the historic border route that I was on.  Owing to bad manufacture, you can hardly read the words on it any more but I thought this fungus looked very striking.


Keen cyclists will think poorly of me for stopping to snack when real men snack as they go, reaching into their back pockets for nutritious bars.   If I tried to peel a banana or open an energy bar on the move, I would probably fall off.  On top of that, because of my slight breathing difficulties,  I find it hard to get enough air in and eat at the same time so it doesn’t pay me to try it.  And I need a rest every now and again.

Although I enjoy the scenic cycling among our hills, there is a lot to be said for a boring pedal along flat, wide roads with reasonable surfaces  on a winter’s morning.  I find that pounding out a metronomic rhythm for an hour and a quarter without having to worry about sharp bends, potholes and oncoming tractors and without having to use elaborate gear changes or vary the intensity of my breathing is very satisfying.  Sometimes I pass the time by thinking about how my knees are feeling or how my body is working and sometimes I compose brilliant, coruscating letters to the editors of the daily papers.  Occasionally I conduct imaginary interviews with the drivers who have passed my too closely after which they fall to their knees in contrition.

I did a bit of all of these today and finished the 40 miles in a little under two and half hours of cycling (plus banana time) which is just quick enough to reassure myself that I am not dead yet.

There were still very few birds in the garden when I got back.  I saw a single siskin…


A minute later he had joined the goldfinches for a meal.

siskin and goldfinches

With the time taken eating a good breakfast and then getting the many layers of clothes on before you go and off when you finish, a ride that in the summer would leave you with the day to play with, takes up all the available light at this time of year so I plunged into a steaming hot bath and that just about ended the active part of my day.

I was able to do a little scanning for Arthur in the evening and also found time to take a picture of the gerbera which is continuing to flower on our windowsill in defiance of Mrs Tootlepedal’s view that it was probably over.


We may get one more good day tomorrow before the stormy weather returns.

I should say that I never get round to actually writing the letters to the paper that I think of when I am pedalling.  For some reason they don’t seem so brilliant when you are not cycling.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

12 thoughts on “Another day, another pedal

  1. The driver contrition part is probably a bit of fantasy, but the letters, agh, you should have a recorder to capture the brilliance. Because it does seem to fade. My brilliance is in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping! But it tends to fade by morning.

    I must say my neighborhood jaunts on my beach-type tires (Think: slow.) pale to your very industrious trips.

  2. A pox on those who can’t be bothered to stop for a respite while on a pedal. As you are no doubt aware, even keen cyclists fancy a break at an outdoor cafe where they can sip expresso and look cool. I say enjoy the view and take a break!

  3. Glad you were able to go out on the speedy bike, it must have made a nice change.

    Do write one of your letters and actually send it to a paper, you are always worth reading in my opinion.

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