Cycling on a windy day

This is my first post for a while, and may well be the last for some time – I’m settling into PhD-finishing mode. I’m still finding time for some fun things though, like cycling…

The weather in Lancaster today has been… exciting. After battling the rain-filled headwind all the way to work, I heard news of major delays on the railways and motorways after extensive flooding. This evening was a different story. The wind had, if anything, intensified during the day, blowing the rain away and whipping the tempestuous clouds across the sky at an alarming rate. I left campus and pedalled hard south into the wind again, then turned north to ride back home along the Lune estuary path.

What a ride it was. The cross-wind kept threatening to shove me into the trees – at times it felt more like sailing than riding a bike. Despite the need to concentrate, I couldn’t resist throwing glances back over my left shoulder and out to sea. The wind was piling the waves up into the estuary, brown seawater swelling high over the normally dry and grassy salt marsh. A dazzling silver-gold light spilled over the lush, now ponded fields, accentuating all the colours in the late summer vegetation. Rarely have I seen the grass such a vibrant green. Cows moved together to investigate the new watering holes. On the estuary path, trees raged sideways in the gale, scattering twigs and leaves, apples and galls across the way.

I arrived back at the dockside tired, ready to make the most of the generous tailwind. There’s nothing quite like spinning easily back home in top gear, the wind in your back, tyres zipping up the tarmac.

Today’s verdict? Cycle on rainy days. You’ll have adventures.

A night-time ride around London

At 6:30am on 20th June, I pedalled into a car park at Crystal Palace, a huge grin on my face. I’d just completed a night-time ride around the capital, passing by all the landmarks, and I was smiling in the knowledge that the last grind of a hill was over and that a bacon roll was imminent. Since setting off a 11:50pm, I’d cycled 68.5 miles at a stately average of 12mph over 5.5 hours. I was doing it to raise money for Shelter – my total now stands at £360.14. Many thanks to all those who sponsored me!

Below is a map of the route.

Highlights of the ride for me include cruising over Tower Bridge, and blasting around the pristine tarmac of a deserted Canary Wharf. This post on the Guardian’s bike blog sums up the pleasure to be had from the quieter sections of the ride neatly. It was a brilliant (if tiring) experience, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.