As I mentioned the other day, I’m not one for gargantuan physical efforts. But I do have my moments, and just the other day one such Moment occurred. On Saturday the weather was perfect – oo! I’ve just discovered an icon at the top of the page which apparently means ‘mark as sticky’. What? Anyway, back to the post… Saturday being a lovely day and it being a Bank Holiday weekend I decided to go for a bike ride. I had already ridden over to the Martyrs for breakfast so after that I decided to hit the canal and keep going South out of the city until I got to Kilby, whereupon I would come back up the A 50 (or A5199 as they call it nowadays), across to Knighton Park and hence home. This turned out to be a total of 15 miles; not far for some but quite a way for me as I’m generally used to doing two or three miles at a stretch. It’s a lovely ride out of town, finding canalside pubs and cafes; locks and quaint old humpback bridges, horses in fields and the quiet backs of houses. Everyone I met was friendly and helpful and the route was easy; though that didn’t prevent me stopping every so often to check how far it was to Kilby. Once I got to the main road it was a gentle rise up to Wigston (though I did walk a bit to save my energy, being unsure at what point I might conk out). Which reminds me of a joke:
Me to OH: I can’t walk that far – I’ll conk out!
OH to me: Yes, but you’d conk back in again.
On with the bike ride. Pausing like a steam engine (and probably resembling one in some respects) to take on water, I arrived in Wigston and found a handy cycle path away from the main road; following this I hit Knighton Park much sooner than expected. And so home, where I spent the rest of the day feeling thoroughly energised before predictably feeling knackered the day after. Anyway, this is what the canal near Kilby looks like:
I’m fascinated by the life of canals; both traditionally, as transport highways, and nowadays as largely leisure locations (although a few people still live and work on the canals and we’ll be seeing some at this weekend’s Riverside Festival.) There’s something quite detached about a canal, like a separate life that coexists with ours; a quiet backwater that cuts through our lives almost unseen and unheard. I’ve only once been on a narrow-boat holiday but it’s something I’d really like to do again: it’s peaceful, friendly, interesting and – most importantly of all – features lots of pubs.
Anyway, I was inordinately pleased with myself when I got home – but then of course I logged onto Facebook and instantly saw a map posted by a couple cycling from Lands’ End to John o’Groats who had completed 74 miles that day.
But hey, ho – as I said the other day, no matter what you achieve, there will always be someone who’s done more, so why worry? You could do the entire Tour de France and still find someone who’s done it backwards or sideways or upside down or in a kilt. So I am happy with my fifteen miles. Because it’s significant to me.