The stars were brilliant this morning. Shining amongst clear skies with the occasional smear of cloud. The wind was gusty and thankfully in my favour. 5.40am is an unforgiving time on the body.
I rolled through Llandaff North. Nothing stirred until a solitary cyclist passed in the opposite direction. There was a brief acknowledgement. Two human powered vehicles challenging the alarm clock.
Water bubbled and rushed by the weir. The wind masking it gently. I felt greedy and selfish. The trail was all mine. And I was glad.
The shared path that runs behind the student accommodation on North Road is the first to come alive. But not with people or bikes. With birds. Foraging for food and nesting materials. They scatter as the whirr of the dynamo signifies my approach.
The dynamo. What a lovely noise. What a noble use of energy.
North Road is entirely silent. No cars or buses or trucks or motor bikes. Give it an hour and it will gather momentum. Give it two and it’ll be full to the brim. For the moment it waits quietly.
According to the electronic counter, I’m cyclist number 4 today. Who were the other 3?
Branches over-arch little corners of civic indulgence. Benign during the day, they’re straight out of Grimm’s tales in this light.
I enter the city centre and ride through the Hayes, sharing the space with delivery trucks. They pass store fronts, benches and Sheffield stands. I notice how the street lights make focussed little light pools. So different from the sodium in the parks of Llandaff and Pontcanna. So different from the warm glow of my dynamo.
Bute Street. Quiet. Tyndall Street. Tranquil. If you know Cardiff at all, you’ll know how rare it is to say that. I lock my bike. It is alone.
The plus side of getting up at 4.50am? Few distractions. A ride full of mindfulness beneath a peerless sky.
Top image by Shift and available here.