Quiet evenings

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Evening maize

Evening maize

I’ve been having much better rides lately.

Somewhat rattled by my tractor experience the other week, lately I have left it till early evening to go out, figuring that the farmers might all go home and have their tea before starting on the night harvest of the maize.

The weather has been fabulous for the time of year and the long hot September we had means the maize ripened early, so the farmers began to take it early too, building huge silage pits the height of a house. The combines were out 24 hours a day until the weekend, and since the weekend rain they’ve been right back at it, stripping down the landscape and opening up the view. Although the loss of the last cereal crop of the year makes me melancholy at one level, at another, it does increase the amount of light as you’re cycling along, which can only be good. And the quality of the light, like pure gold laid across the landscape, is indescribable.

Rattled by my altercation with the twattish tractor driver the other week, I decided to stay pretty close to home for a while, and rode a couple of 5km dog walks that I’m very familiar with, in figures of eight, but once I got my mojo back, I then headed out for pastures new down a lane I’d never explored before.

This is something I’m really enjoying, tootling around our neighbourhood and savouring the chance to find all these beautiful little houses and hamlets I never knew existed because they are off the main drag. The local villages also seem much closer by bike, curiously.

My every-other-day rides (frequency reduced in the hopes of building muscle) are generally between 16 and 26km, according to Mappy.fr, and I find I am using the assist less and less – the other day I did 16 clicks without ever getting out of assist level 1, even on some quite steep hills.

I also find that even when I’m tired, I can just pedal along and it’s nowhere near as onerous as making yourself go swimming when the weather’s cold and the showers, cold changing room and tepid pool will be an assault on the senses.

Once the clocks go back in a couple of weeks, my evening rides will be swapped for 12.00-2.00, when the farmers are tucked up at the dining table, and I can benefit from maximum lux to offset my SAD. This is, after all, one reason I bought the bike in the first place – to improve my mood and try to stay healthy over winter.

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