A kind of new ride…

Rain. It’s not really the rain though, it’s the grit that washes from the verges, on to the road, streaming down the gutter and across the camber, catching all in a puncture rich and grip poor hold, with largely unpleasant outcomes.

We’ve seen our fair share of rain this month and our fair share of punctures too. One puncture is a nuisance, two punctures are hypothermia, three punctures are either God’s way of telling you to get a new tyre, or to take the speck (or log) out of your tyre before putting it on the rim again.

The cyclist, as we know, is the eternal optimist, and sheltered by this knowledge, a ride that starts in the rain should be rewarded by sun. We also know that this is not the most likely outcome, but then it only needs to work once in a while to make it worth the risk.

Bank Holiday Monday was one such day. Leaving the city over the bridge in the pouring rain was questionable in terms of warmth and in terms of the hills ahead, with the matching robust and fresh breeze.

Miraculously the curtain of cloud lifted to open up the fresh washed Mendip Hills and strangely empty roads. The further out of the city the less traffic, out towards Wedmore and the Levels, the lack of human interaction (shaking fists at motorists) was almost unnerving. The veil of rain around the city keeping tourists at home.

Slowly the silence distilled within and the ride became a Utopian experience, clear, fresh air, the open road and hedges and verges overflowing with clean, bright growth, dandelions, bluebells and wild garlic. Turning away from the wind noise there was no noise, perfect stillness and silence transported on 700C wheels to an instant of one lifetime.

Back into Bristol the rain started, gentle at first, and drenching to finish, like a meteorological wardrobe from a secret world.

This is not the West Country.