Big Smile


Skull cap: check.
Helmet: check.
Merino wool layers: check.
Cycling shorts: check.
Long pants: check.
Long-fingered gloves: check.
Cycling shoes: check (note to self: replace).
Wind breaker: check.
Tyres: check.
Chain: check.
Water: check.

It has been a hard winter and a cold spring. The front wheel is unsteady coasting down the driveway. It has been 159 days since tyres touched pavement.

There is bright sun, the wind has some bite. Salt has rimed cracks in the pavement. Cyclists have forgotten how to ride in traffic. Drivers have forgotten how to drive with cyclists. A few other souls are out for a spin. There are quick flashes of passing grins. Everyone is bundled.

The shoulders of the roads have not yet been swept clean. The winter's residue of sand and debris is like gravel. The dip under the railway trestle is always the worst spot for wear.

The wind is on the face, the legs are remembering that steady rhythm. Feel the hamstrings, feel the hip flexors. No indoor equipment – elliptical, treadmill, CompuTrainer, whatever – can match the pulse of the pavement.

Runners are tracing the perimeter of the canal. Some have been out all winter. Most show the slow slog of mammals emerging from hibernation. Everyone is wearing a cap.

A brief stop at the florist. Strap the package to the back rack – "tail feathers". Return along the canal. Feel the effects of exertion half way back. Note to self: training, more training. Keep up the pace. Feel the pleasure in those muscles.

The long winter is over. Titanium Man, eat your heart out.

4 comments on “Big Smile”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    The long winter is over.

    Not here it isn't. LOL

    I'm not complaining – the sun is out. 159 days is a long time. Well done Kern.

  2. Hilary wrote:

    I can't imagine how it feels to have winters like yours! Every time I read your posts I wonder how I can moan about Isle of Wight weather! It must be a wonderful sensation when you feel the first signs of spring – it will be here too! 🙂

  3. Patrick wrote:

    The jetstream will be in the right position by about the 19th April I reckon. Then we shout: "Stay!"

    I'd swap our climate for Canada's, then at least we'd know what we're doing (or not doing).

  4. Dan wrote:

    Kern, Kern. Humbled and quietened – you have put a gentle smile on my lips once more. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a poet in our midst. Welcome to a new year of riding, and hopefully writing too – see you soon, I hope!

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