Honister

A Saturday morning and a bit of an afternoon spent wandering the fells around Honister Pass, well, somebody had to as there didn’t seem to be any other bugger around today. Honister will be familiar to many of the bike riders of the North of England and even beyond although nothing with wheels was going up there this morning and a hundred years of evolution of transport technology was briefly rendered completely obsolete by the soft gentle silence of the early morning snow.

The Scar (Part 3)

Between the un-outdoor occasions of Christmas and the New Year, between the wet roads thawing briefly under the winter sun and freezing again, between all the stuff left behind in the world of work and all the stuff that’s still waiting there, between thinking sod it, it’s december, let’s skip this ride and have another cake and realising oh crap I don’t think I’ll ever get up anything higher than a speed bump on a bike ever again if I don’t get out soon, between a proper honest-to-goodness round of the fells and a grudging valley spin to tick off some miles, between the snow which has fallen to the north and the snow which has fallen to the south, between the valleys of the Swale and of the Ure is Oxnop Scar, doing us proper proud today.

The Beach (Part 3)

Making time stand still eating ice cream in the chilly lightlessness of the North Sea coast on a back end of December afternoon where nobody except the person you’re with amounts to any more than an anonymous silhouette against the surf, the place you are walking toward never seems to get any closer and the sky and the sand and the sea reflect each other into comfortable indistinguishability.

Solstice

I think it may obliglatory under some rule somewhere to mention the winter solstice tomorrow when the up until now three or so minute daily loss of light reverses and we start clawing back our days from the greedy southern hemispherists who stole them. When eventually in a few weeks the difference becomes really noticable I certainly won’t miss the semi-nocturnal existance of going out and coming home in the dark all week but the seasonal version of Stockholm Syndrome which I have started to exhibit means I know that I will miss the long shadows of the lunchtime dusk and mid afternoon sunsets glimpsed during the working day. Also, at the end of a long bike ride or any day in fact I am sure I look much better under subdued light conditions. The weather forecast currently suggests that the star of the show is unlikely to show up for long on the big day itself tomorrow but I don’t want the bike blog police to knock on the door asking difficult questions about my attitude to marking diary dates in the outdoor calender because I’m already on the naughty list for not taking it seriously enough and not wearing a bike helmet when reading Rouleur magazine so here is some of today’s sunlight from over the hill in Cumbria where it is worth extra credit in front of any jury by reason of how little they see of it over there on their slightly rainy west facing side of the Pennines. I suppose once upon a time the whole culture of these islands centred around the sun with huge monuments aligned with the sunrays as they fell on the summer and winter solstices and although we may like to think we’ve moved on a bit since then I’m not sure if we have really except nowadays instead of stone circles to bring us closer to the warmth and to the light we have Easyjet and deep down we’re just as afraid of the dark as we have always been, and in fact as nobody had to face trying to get in a mid week evening bike ride in December whilst struggling against the cold, terrible roads, drunk drivers and the weight of their spare batteries exceeding that of the bike they were riding in the Stone Age, maybe even more now than then.