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.
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.