Last night I got back after a long day at our Midlands factory. With a narrow window of opportunity, I raced in, threw on my kit, grabbed the singlespeed and darted (as much as you can dart with a steel frame, cyclo-cross wheels and one moderate gear) out of the door. Heading toward Gwaleod-Y-Garth, the sun embraced everything. The River Taff glittered. Families pottered past. Fly fisherman cast feathered lures from the protective environs of large rubber waders. The shoddy summer was firmly pushed to the back of everyone’s minds as a sunny South Wales proved that it has much in common with the Amur tiger – pretty darn rare and absolutely gorgeous.
After embracing some Voigtisms and teaching my legs a lesson for sitting down all day (‘Shuddup Legs!’ etc. etc.), I crested Eglwysilian and admired the panorama. Before me I could see the rocky mass of the Graig. The Garth cast its shadow over the glacial route of the River Taff. The Bristol Channel and Devon coastline swept out in a large arc, hid briefly behind the Garth before peeping out somewhere in the middle distance over the craggy heritage coastline.
There are times when you wonder why you ride. Times when your tired body leads to exercise ambivalence. Times when the rain dumps so monumentally that the bike is the last place you want to be. Times when the car – almost – seems like a viable alternative. But not yesterday. Not in those conditions. Not with that sun bathing your limbs and warming your soul. It was a firm reminder that cycling –as Yahuda Moon observed – puts you right where you want to be.