Cycle on by – the separate world of the velo flâneur

After a somewhat depressing few days, spent writing, sending and reading messages related to bike theft, it was time to head out in fresh September breezes for a reminder that the vast majority of time there isn’t a vulture waiting to descend on your bike and pick at a lock like carrion. I read a BBC article recently that quantified just how rife bike theft is, but We’ll park that for a moment and pick it up in a dedicated blog piece. Rather than dwelling on disappointment in your fellow-man, it was time to enjoy the change of air temp, the fresh September breezes that lick your ankles and encourage the donning of base layers and become a velo flâneur, ambling along paths well ridden. If you stop and look around, and I mean really around, the world is full of mini-stories, interest and endless fascination.

Commuters march purposefully – almost in unison – quick stepping away from Cardiff central station and off to their workplaces. Except the lady second from left. Her day is likely to be slightly less hurried. Early morning shopping trip? Connecting bus? After standing on one side of the plaza, observing and enjoying the bustle, bike propped against my hip, it’s surprising how invisible (and separate) you can become.

The hanging baskets look almost tropical as the sun shines  on the plaza outside Cardiff central station during a rare quiet moment. When you’ve been riding at a mighty….I dunno…..6 mph? What do all flâneur’s need? Cake – purely for topping off energy levels, natch – and a regular intake of caffeine. What’s your poison? (Castle wall cafe).

Work can absorb huge amounts of time and energy, compounded – in my case – by relentless training rides and deliberate hard efforts up long hills. It’s clearly a choice and I’m not sure I could – or would – have it any other way. But we’re cyclists. We have options. We can choose which direction to point that steerer and roll those wheels. Every once in a while it’s worth treating yourself to a little reminder;  Ride, stop, observe and soak in the surroundings. Life’s way too short not to look around once in a while.

 
(and don’t forget your coffee). 🙂

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