The one cycle ride I’ve been able to make with the local CTC group showed me how much fun cycling could be for me once again, when divorced somehow from the drudgery of my regular commute. Cycling liberates in a way that driving can’t, and nothing brings that home to me more than cycling for fun.
Bringing fun into my commute is difficult, not least because of the offhandedly aggressive behaviour of Witney’s drivers. The sparseness of country roads leaves me with a limited choice of feasible routes to work, and hence few opportunities for variety.
Last week, leaving a little early on a still-crisp sunny morning, I decided to abandon my habitual, shortest route, for a longer but more picturesque alternative: just for once. I climbed up out of Witney towards New Yatt, rather than skirting round through Hailey; then pedalled along the brow of the hill and into the village itself.
A road leads down out of New Yatt, towards the college’s farm campus. I took this, and eventually began a gradual descent towards my normal route. As I did so, all the rolling hills ahead of me assembled themselves, all golden wheat and tilled earth; green threads of hedges and knots of copses; all of this crowned by the curly, dense, brooding hulk of the Wychwood.
The mist still pervaded on this, the north side of New Yatt Hill, and it was into this miasma that I swooped, dropping towards and into the pretty picture ahead of me. I reached the bottom road and continued on my way, chewing up the picturesque vision I had just witnessed, and turning it from scenery into location, mile by mile.