Despatches from the frontline


Light sprays through frosted glass. Quiet. Fresh. Pleasant.

Quiet street.

Busy Road. Cars. Buses. Cars. Vans. Cars. Cars. Cars. Some schoolkids on bikes. The big pedal soldiers on.

Quiet Street.

Taff Trail.

A Dog walker. A dog. Distance of separation? 10 feet. Capacity to hear? None. Headphones cover ears, walker oblivious, dog skittish, wandering from to side. Scrub speed. All the way. The walker glares at me sideways. Shared path? <sigh>

Ahead; another cyclist, a thin branch dragged beneath rear derailleur. More headphones, no warning. I pass him and speak. “You’ve a branch in your rear mech”, “eh?” Headphones removed. “There was a branch in your rear mech. It came out when you stopped. It could have made a mess of your gears”. “Thanks man. I thought I heard something”. Today’s Samaritan event.

At the lights, I line up alongside another bike exactly like mine. Same colour. Similar gearing. There are differences; a full rear rack and chunky cross tyres, suitable for mud and rock and street debris and bouncing like a big kid through the city’s hurdles. Equipment for continued practical use. We go our separate ways.

From Park Place to Churchill Way, I cross around 50 yards of  city centre. ‘No cycling’ signs proceed the pedestrianized area. I smile at the irony – the street is awash with vans delivering goods, services, money from behind fortified tailgates.

The pothole. Ahhhh. The pothole. Seen, Reported. Filled by the council. Of sorts. Three weeks on and its a pothole again, albeit more of a hollow than a meteor strike from the heavens. I give it a wide berth.

In Adamsdown, a woman is watching my approach at the pedestrian crossing. I roll onward, she keeps her finger hovering above the button, waits until I pass, then summons the lights to action.A small kindess that doesn’t go unnoticed.

We see the world through annealed peepholes when we drive. We experience it fully when we ride.

2 replies »

  1. Lovely write, encapsulates the feel, the moments, like fresh air and sun on your face, the city street and the trail all have their place in a world order punctuated with the occasional puncture comma but never a full stop. Smile , Breathe and cycle forth

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