The Way We Leave Now

How do you give a proper sendoff in the time of Corona to two people who have been stalwarts of your local cycle campaign since its inception?

Group riding bikes

With a bike ride, of course (sorry, what was the question?)

Normally we’d have headed to the pub but even though they are open, numbers are limited, sitting indoors still feels too risky, and besides an evening bike ride in the long days of May just felt like it might be a nicer idea.

Group arriving at the nature reserve

We headed to one of my favourite places, a peat bog that almost ended up buried under a pine plantation. It’s been neglected in the past but I was pleased to learn that it is being restored (‘rewetted’ in the trendy new phrase) and it was looking rather fine in the evening sunlight. As we went for a quick walk (after coffee and home baking had been consumed, naturally) and heard – and then saw – a cuckoo. There are nightjars there as well, and plenty of insect life (almost certainly 99.9% of which by number was in the form of midgies, but you know, biodiversity is biodiversity and it doesn’t always have to be pleasant to be around). The weather more or less played ball – at least, it didn’t hail, which is the new low bar for May – and as we finally headed for home, the almost full moon rose over the clouds beside us and much as we like to scoff at the modern fad for declaring everything a supermoon, it was an impressive sight.

I don’t believe that in the end any of us would have swapped the evening for a more traditional leaving do down at the Dog and Duck. Indeed, as someone who has long substituted a bike ride for any form of birthday party, I am fully on board with the idea of swapping pretty much all celebrations for a cycling excursion, even when the pandemic (hopefully) fades. Friends and family, you have been warned …

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