Tuesday, 25 January 2011

An ordinary day that just got even better

In an average week I covet the time when I can sit at my desk.  Often I sit in meeting after meeting, accumulating all kinds of things to follow up on and seem to have less and less time to do it in, let alone my own work.

One day I over heard a conversation between one of my daughters and a school friend; they were talking about their Dad's jobs.  Apparently I earn a living from going to meetings, nothing else, just going to meetings!

So for today, no meetings, no need to drive anywhere, no ice, snowstorms or 50mph winds, all was set for me to ride into work.  I had a sneaky feeling something was missing though and it turned out to be a meeting.  And a tie.  And a jacket.  Thankfully the meeting was at a local Council office, within easy walking distance.  I felt a tad uneasy in having no option but turn up a little casually but I'd go anyway.  Sometimes Police colleagues, depending on their rank or uniform, get away without wearing a tie and sometimes I've even heard one ask a superior officer "do you mind if I take my tie off, Sir?".

I digress.  There I was at this meeting, no jacket or tie, feeling under dressed.  Thoughts of "will they take me seriously today?" crossed my mind.  The meeting was fine and I walked back to the office in my bright yellow (grubby, sweaty) jacket with our new resident Judge.  All the time we were walking along I was wanting to explain I'd cycled in as a way of justifying my appearance.  Would he notice, buy it or even care?  Perhaps not, besides, he didn't seem to mind.

Now for the bike ride bits.  Much more interesting perhaps.  As I was feeling motivated from yesterday, I got everyone up a bit earlier so I could leave earlier - I had decided to cycle and to take a more rural route.  It adds a few more miles, there's 2 fairly steep hills and a long drag of a slope/hill.  In previous times I would ride miles to avoid riding up a steep hill.  Nowadays I'm recognising hills should be welcomed as a kind of interval training (short bursts of increased effort).

The bike (Audrey the Audax) went like a dream, never missing a beat, so to speak.  Every gear change as sweet as the last no matter whether it was clicking up or down the 9 sprockets at the back, or the triple chainset at the front (there's no real need to use the small granny wheel at the front).  As the gears change so easily and smoothly, I guess I find myself changing more often.  With the Dawes gear changing was, shall we say, challenging.  This in turn meant I tended to just stay in the same gear regardless; but probably good muscle strength training.  My position seems almost perfect in relation to how I sit and reach for the pedals and handle bars - the tweaks have been tiny as the bike shop was so close.

Leaving work to ride home was something to relish, despite less than ideal riding conditions.  The roads were wet causing plenty of spray and there was a little very light rain.  Once out into the countryside I was feeling really good, a nice pace, good breathing rhythm and a sense of achievement.  My mind wondered and completely lost track of the journey for a couple of miles.  I was just thinking of how much I enjoyed being set free from all those little tin boxes people are sitting in, alone, driving along isolated from their surroundings.  I find myself trying to rehearse what I'd say to people about why I like to ride in to work, particularly in January when its cold, damp and dark.  It really is hard to explain, so much so, I don't think anyone could understand unless they've had the same experience as it is so hard to put into words.  It gives me the opportunity to rise above the trappings of the day, to leave them behind as I head towards home.

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