Cycling Home: London to Cholsey1 minute read

Yesterday I cycled 39.5 miles from London to The Countryside in 4 hours 12 minutes, instead of taking the train.

What does that mean?

In economic terms: I saved the cost of the train fare, about £14, in exchange for about 3 hours of my life. And muscles that refuse to work quite the same the next day.

I didn’t use anything but the fuel of a nasty pizza and some chocolate raisins.

Cycling is slow enough to enjoy the view, quiet enough to hear the birds, hard enough to be a work-out, efficient enough to cover distances and fast enough, at times, to be exhilarating.

Other Things

The visceral power of a journey by bicycle is inestimable. Here are some other things.

I saw a badger, a cock and his hen, a hedgehog and several rabbits – all road-killed.

I flew like a wizard on vertiginous downs, and felt my thighs popping out my skin on the corresponding ups. But most of the time I plodded along at a steady 10 miles per hour.

I felt the sun on my neck. I crossed the river three times and cycled into the sunset.

I was overtaken a thousand times by cars, some passed me close, some gave me room, all choked me with their fumes. None of them understood me, I couldn’t understand them.

I went to Egypt.

I felt fine. I felt the joy of cycling on a smooth country road without a car or a care, sailing along, one hand on the tiller and one hand throwing chocolate in my mouth. I sang and cycled.

I wanted it to be over and I wanted it never to end.

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David

David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at davidcharles.info.

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