My cycling year has started well: last Wednesday I commuted by bike for the first time in 2011.
Happily, the first commute of the new year turned out to be a beautiful bike ride. An hour before dawn, the eastern sky was already light, scored with scarlet contrails like recent cat scratches. Later, closer to sunrise, the scratches that remained were inlaid with bright gold. Above them, long clouds lay like half-burned logs, the upper edge covered in ash, the lower glowing dully, ember-red. Dawn itself brought a more orange light, mellowing as the sun rose slowly over the horizon.
The morning was still, with perhaps a slight tailwind that made for swift progress. For much of the ride I was right on the verge of that beautiful cadence that is as close to flying as cycling can get - legs turning the pedals easily, gladly.
After the snow and ice of December, the enforced absence from cycling, this ride was the perfect start to the year. Yes, there will be other rides that are cold and wet and windy, but I will have the memory of that morning, of that first ride. And I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I was out in the first week of the year. An early start to my cycling this year, then; a good start.
I've a fair way to go to reach my target of 2000 cycle commuting miles in 2011 (another 1978, to be precise), but a journey of two thousand miles starts with a single pedal stroke, to paraphrase Lao Tzu. And my journey has begun.