The coming of spring is something about which I’ve always felt a touch of ambivalence. Much as those extra hours of daylight, ice free tarmac, and general celebratory atmosphere of the outdoor crowd are very welcome I miss the empty roads, long shadows and quiet certainties of the winter. Spring brings with it the need for even more kit than in winter to deal with the changes in weather from one day to the next, one hour to the next, one valley to the next, it brings holidaying drivers who’ve read the instructions for their roof box but not for the big round thing attached to the dashboard in front of their seat, and it brings normally placid moorland birds to a state of aggressive agitation towards humans on bikes riding near to the road-adjacent scrape in the heather they call a nest. One positive aspect of the spring however is the newly diversified cycling population as folks from other parts of the nation bring their bikes and brightly coloured gear to the dales. Today I passed a line of visitors coming the other way, grinding up hill in various shades of highlighter pen jackets and shouted half a dozen ‘morning!’s across the windy road which in every case was met with a cheerful reply. A few months of some not very cycling-conducive weather (it was still snowing last weekend on the moors where even the news that it’s not supposed to be doing that anymore now takes time to arrive such are we behind the times up here) and various other demands on time and energy which were unable to be addressed by pushing two pedals in a circle have left your correspondent in not the greatest shape of their life right now but encountering folks spinning heavy bikes at little more than walking pace up a hill and yet still smiling makes a welcome change from my fellow year-round biking residents who ride around with the expression of someone with clothes pegs fixed to both nipples and present a reminder that cycling is supposed to reduce the pressures on us and not add to them. As the second most famous Dane after Inspector Lund once said whilst jumper shopping in the Elsinore branch of Benetton, There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy, heck, even cyclists who look like they’re having a nice time, so here are some pictures of Greets Moss which is a very lovely route between my valley and the next, which is mostly famous for cheese, and where I was having a nice time today, in between administering CPR to myself in a ditch every couple of kilometres.
There’s some questionable public art around nowadays but these wrought iron seaside postcards on Redcar’s seafront make me smile. They’re fun and colourful, nostalgic yet optimistic, tell stories of the town and just seem right for the setting. Here then is the whole set, from North to South, bandstand to lifeboat station. Yes, that is a penguin in front of the steel works. No, I don’t know either.