Notes From An Evening Bike Ride, August 13th 2019

There would be plenty of evening left
If it were not for this heavy cloud
Going down the big hill
Starting to get faster
Brakes work
Never done this before
Oh my god!
Thankfully there are no cars about!
My face is itchy but I’m not taking my hands off the handlebars.
That was fast!

More sixties buff brick estates
Somewhat reminiscent of Moondogs and the North
Saturday teatimes
A football pitch

A cul-de-sac
Let’s go up the cul-de-sac
It looks like Rita, Sue and Bob too
Anonymous sixties and seventies stuff
A lengthy cul-de-sac
There are people that come this way, off the train
Perhaps they are in these houses
Eating their tea or cutting their fingernails
Who knows?
I don’t have any evidence for that

So we are getting through the summer
Long-gone the date of midsummer
It’s not the end of summer
But it is…you know…the nights are drawing in

A brand-new housing estate on the left
All still being built
So much so that the road is fenced off halfway

You can see this estate from the train
A sign that you are getting close to here
As the time arrives it’s time to switch off your phone
Worth packing your things together and getting out of your seat
Some of the train staff announce it too early
You can tell the people who don’t do the journey very often
By the way they get up from their seats way too early

Pausing for a while
Look out on what will be new houses
Somewhere down there is the train line
Beyond it is the motorway
Far beyond it are other lands

Gazing at the existing houses
This is totally that feeling of teatime
Annuals, Bay City Rollers, 1976, Shang-a-Lang

But right in the distance on a hill
I can see a field with a combine harvester in it
If that was flat
It would be such a sign of my adolescent youth
It would be around this time
Middle of August
Middle of summer holidays even if it isn’t the middle of summer
Going out, riding around, driving around later on
Just like now
Seeing farming going on
Riding around in the dark
Deep in the fens
Only occasional farm houses
And miles and miles of fields

There’s a moon, quite a full moon
And a new park
Which you can’t get into
But you can see it from the train

Though you can’t get into the park
From the look of the gates and fences everywhere
There’s somebody in the park tonight
And one day, I will go into that park

A street beckons me
Where does it go?
No dead-end sign on it
A church
I feel this is just going to lead nowhere in particular
…although…no, I was kind of right…
Or am I?
It’s not very exciting

A pub! A whole new world!
I had no idea this was here
The pub is closed
There’s a Co-Op
There’s an old-people’s home
I have a vague idea where this might lead
But it’s certainly nowhere I’ve ever been in my car
Housing isn’t distinctly different in any shape or form
I’m motoring along
The moon looks full
If it is, I will be indulging in my usual superstition

No idea this existed at all
It’s like seventies and eighties housing
There’s a main road
Where are we?
This is really weird
Ah! Got it!
Not a main road
Just further up the road we were on
But that’s fine – I discovered a whole new world
A whole new world, and there are many cars turning to get into it

Sad though it is to say
It is true
That was as exciting as finding some ancient pathway
Off-road in a wood

Now we are up where the new park starts
Maybe where that person got in
Though things are padlocked

New housing estate being built
Me and my cousin drove around here
Looking for a way into that park
Which we couldn’t find
This is just like all the other unfinished and finished new estates
Exactly like where my mate lived
But…no shops or anything
Just house after house after house

It just goes on…
Like a weird ghost town
Clearly people live here as there are cars all over the place
Am I finally at the end?
Someone was shouting, singing maybe
I don’t know

There is a combine harvester
Definitely the end of the estate
Although…it goes around a corner
Alright combine!

I’m not sure that moon is full
But it’s very close to it

So if we can go down here
Where does this go?
Go back up there?
Hmm, someone’s yard
Well it’s good for biking, definitely
It’s strange though
So huge, and I’m in danger of getting lost
Riding and riding and riding
Reminds me of a house I know well on the other side of town
Reminds me of a house in Oxford when I visited someone once
I came down this way earlier
Now I’m going to go down this way
I think this is going to be more views of the combine harvester
It’s definitely a dead-end

More houses bring more people
More people need more things
Customers for shops
Especially down here
You are going to need taxis home
On a Saturday night
As it’s miles away
More people to go on dates with
Even at my advanced age

This is a different way in I guess
From the big road
At this point…
It’s “lights on” and homeward bound
Although…is this a bike path
That will save your epic narrator
From sharing the road with cars?
Let’s find out

It isn’t what I’d planned
But it’s good!
A real adventure
I feel really good having discovered all this
It sounds really stupid
It’s just a housing estate
But it’s true

“Hi there” to passing dog walkers

So where the hell am I?
I’m on a big road
But I don’t have to go on it
So I’m not going to go on it

I don’t know where I’m going
But it looks semi-okay
Not brrrrrrrrrrilliant
But not terrible
One side of the road nice houses
The other side not quite as nice

Actually I know where I am now
So I’m taking
A deliberate detour
Keep going where you’ve never been
Just turn around
If you are not sure

“Evening!” to a passing dog walker

Oh it’s so pretty around here
But what do you know
I don’t live around here
Alleyways and bits and bobs

“Kiss-kiss” to a cat

What an epic night of discovery
And what is there ahead?
Oh the big road again
Yes it is
(and a funny little unfinished plinth thing)

Turn around and we are back
Clearly lots to discover around here
and soon I will have been out for an hour
I will call it a day soon
When I get back to the land of ET
and that’s not yet

I will confess, I feel
What do I feel?
I don’t feel lonely…
But I do wish there was someone to look forward to
Let’s put it that way
And there isn’t
And I don’t want a lot of what that brings
But there are a few things
That that brings
That I wouldn’t mind
Is that lacking in my life?
I am reluctant to say that it is
But I can’t say that it isn’t

It is interesting to note that
When I made a statement about that once
(When I was ill)
That some of those things
– it is such a pretty row of houses –
(Those things) turned up really quickly
And they taught me that
Maybe I don’t know what I want
After all
Lots to think about

Right now I am near a curry house
Oh I’d like to go for a curry
There is a pub
I am not bothered about going to a pub
I do sometimes think about riding around here
Avec mon frere
And il aime les pubs
We could stop at one of these
If it ever happens
Which it won’t whilst he’s currently living where he lives

I am riding through the town
I am not actually in the town
I’m in the distinctly different part of town
But it’s all alright
Soon I will finally be in the estate I was in last week
Where we will trundle back

Erm, umm, sod it
Let’s go a different way
I may regret this
But, you know
YOLO and all that
This is going to go back out into the countryside
Exactly why I’ve got my big light
The back light is on
I think I’ve ridden down here before
I don’t recall exactly when
I’m going to take it easy because it’s basically dark now
Five past nine pm
Even in spite of the clouds
The sun will have gone down now

There is nobody but me
The houses are thinning out
We are now in the countryside
Which smells lush and green
It reminds me of riding as a kid
It is what this is about
Vital, energetic
A fantastic allotment
With little sheds
Oh greenery!


Pretty church spire looking illuminated and all pretty
Great to be out in this level of light
Where there is no artificial light
Apart from my bike light
These hedges were cut recently
Which is why everything smells so sappy
Oh it smells so fantastic
What an invigorating ride
Emotionally and mentally
I hope I get home in one piece
With the way I am rabbiting on at the moment about how great biking is
It would only take some silly incident to spoil all that

A car

I hope he can see me
He seems to be slowing down which is good
Thank you for not driving into me

I am not going to put into words
Some of the things this makes me feel and think of

When I get home I am going to have
A drink of passion fruit squash
A shower
I am going to play my guitar, have a decaff coffee
and catch-up online
Sort out the laundry that is currently in the washing machine

Look at those cows and sheep
This car has hopefully spotted me
Are they sheep?
I think they are sheep
But there are calves too
This is just so epic and brilliant and amazing

It is very dark now
Riding in real darkness
Really glad for the headlamp
There is an epic bridge
I have been down this road
I remember doing this one Sunday
I really hope there is nothing big and scary coming
I’m going to drop a cog as this is a bit challenging

A motorbike
Not big and scary
But nevertheless I was not alone

Out of breath
That was incredible
Right…I’m going home
That was great
But I’ve had enough
I know there is a more epic road to the left
But, yeah, I’m done with that one

So much exploration
Really good
I don’t like this main road much
I am on the path
But I think my time is limited
This is so good though
This is really like my…well
Exactly what I was doing thirty years ago
Thirty one
Thirty two years ago
Out and about exploring the world
It is very very dark
So I am not riding around at any great speed
Just feeling gravity’s pull now
Coming down this hill
Gears are slipping slightly
All a bit annoying

I think we are now getting back to the land of the living
Distant lights seem to suggest that

I was listening to Transatlantic earlier on
Which is it’s own special thing
Getting quite emotional listening to that at work

But there is a different Transatlantic song
Which is of course about 90 years long
Which has a section sung by Roine Stolt
Called Coming Out Of The Night
And you feel like you are coming out of the night right now
I shouldn’t really be riding on the pavement
But there are just a few too many cars
Oh look, “End of Cycle Route”
It was okay

In very familiar territory now
Somewhere I have rambled on a lot
Many a time
There is a familar estate which I will be going into
On my way home

This is the answer
The answer to lots of things
Wondering what to do
It’s the wheel
The bicycle
It says
“Join us and go adventuring
It will all be alright”
And…it is true

Now I did of course do some of that
And didn’t quite find the right places
But now I have found lots of places
That are really cool
Really cool

I’m toying with putting this into Google translate
Not translate
You know, let the Google listen to it
And seeing if it can work out
If it can I’ll put it onto my blog
Then you’ll be reading this
Whoever you are*

Van…you were a bit too close for company

I’m in the familiar estate
Great epic graceful curves
God I love my bicycle
It is such a beautiful way to travel
They’ve got a car like mine
Now I know what it’s like to be in the street as it drives towards you
New cars have so many lights these days
I’m doing big, sweeping S-shaped moves
All over the road
Like I was nine, on my BMX
But I love it

Trundle, trundle, trundle
More big S-shapes
Though I am coming down a hill now
I should be sensible
That hill is fun in the daylight
Maybe not such fun when bailing out in the dark

This estate in the evening
Reveals bedrooms
Illuminated by flat screen teevees
Creamy glowing living rooms
Behind closed floor-to-ceiling blinds
Evening television, crosswords, artexed ceilings
Dreaming of this year’s foreign holiday
And a nice cup of tea

Now what does Strava say?
Get in!
One hour twelve minutes
10.4 miles
Honestly feels as epic as summer of ’87
Exploring Holland Fen
And coming in and having a big old drink

I left my helmet on
The helmet belongs in the shed
Well that’s done

*I actually typed all of this out

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