The winter grinds on, as it tends to do in January (and February, and an unfair amount of March too, in my opinion). It is this time of year when my commitment to cycling for transport is tested most fully – not so much during the day, but when I have an evening appointment which means dragging myself from the house when the stove is already lit and the curtains closed and the temptation to just curl up on the sofa and stay there is all but overwhelming.
We’ve just had a few days of that crisp bright frosty weather which lifts the spirits during the day but allows the temperatures to plummet as soon as the sun goes down. On Friday I wanted to attend a local climate kitchen event, and I wasn’t about to drive down there in the car, so bike it was but I’ll admit it was a wrench. But then, as I left, the sun was just below the horizon and air was still and the sky was beautifully graded with every shade from blue to gold as the light faded. It was glorious and breathtaking and there are no photos because it was, as mentioned, pretty chilly, and I wasn’t about to take my gloves off just to disappoint myself with the results.
Coming out at eight, the clear skies had brought the expected freezing temperatures and it was pitch dark. Fortunately, new glasses and a new light have rekindled my love of night cycling (it turns out that there was nothing sinister going on except that my eyes are still getting more short sighted despite my advanced age, and a new prescription has restored my night vision). The climb up the hill soon got me feeling warm, and as I turned into our quiet road I found that the night was full of glitter. The hoar frost settling on the road and all around me – and even in the air – was catching in the beam of my light and the whole world was sparkling. You don’t get that on your balmy summer evening rides, I tell you. Of course, you don’t get chilblains either, but swings and roundabouts, eh?