Not Evangelism

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Pleasures of Winter Cycling (and my Winter Soundtrack)

Cycling in Winter Has its Own Pleasures

It's easy to say that cycling is more fun when the weather conditions are right, particularly during the warmer seasons in the middle of the year. But there's something special about the still, clear mornings at this time of year, when the sky is red before the day dawns properly and the cold gives a tingling crispness to the air.

The pace of the seasons is more obvious now, with the dawn and dusk shifting gradually about my regular commuting times. As the days get a little longer, the ride home becomes a little lighter each time, the twilight gloom gathering a little later in the ride, a little closer to home. It's nice to have this connection with the seasons, to see the world changing day by day, revealing different faces during the morning and evening ride. Oh, I love the regularity of the summer commute, all daylight and green trees. But during winter my rides are more variable, so much more interesting.

Last week, on the way home, about half an hour before sunset, the mist was just starting to rise on the fields. About waist-high when I left, as I moved through the artificial lakes and flooded gravel pits of the Cotswold Water Parks, through the water meadows, the mist gathered and rose. By the time I was on the last couple of miles before home, swathes of it were spilling across the road, twice the height of a man.

And behind it all, the yellowing sun making silhouettes of trees and church steeples. Moody, dramatic. Wonderful.

And it's not only me: over at The Trusty Steed, Girl and Steed described her own Winter Wonderland this week.

My Winter Commute Soundtrack

I've been putting the finishing touches to my Winter Soundtrack. It's always interesting to trial the music that plays so well in the car, and find that it just doesn't work in the noisy environment of the bike ride.

There's some lovely stuff by Tinie Tempah that's got a good thumping high-BPM heart rate-raising quality to it, so that's staying on the playlist. But some of the Nick Cave songs don't play so well; moody and mysterious they might be, but they're not quite right for the bike. Similarly, some of the Dizzee Rascal tracks that I thought might be fun aren't appropriate. Dizzee spits so fast that it's lost in the rush of wind and wheels.

Once the final list is confirmed, I'll share it.

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