Sometimes I hate my commute to work, it’s 14 miles from my house to where I work in Otley, West Yorkshire and anyway you put it, without a car (depending on the time of day and traffic) it is over an hour’s journey. When I got back on the bike after a long winter hiatus for snow, the Christmas holidays and perpetual darkness I was surprised at how unfit I had gotten. The memories of the 135 mile Kidz Klub Bike Ride just 8 months ago seemed so very, very feint as I struggled up the Chevin and Belle Isle hill.
However the in the last few weeks my fitness is returning and the weather is getting dramatically better. We haven’t had significant rain on a weekday night in a few weeks now so the roads have been dry and most importantly the skies have been clear. As Spring approaches at the rate of 4 minutes of extra sunlight a day I’ve been able to use the lights and thermals less whilst being treated to the most wonderful sunsets as I cycle home.
The Chevin Ridge, along Leeds Road out of Otley is a 2 mile climb. In poor weather this is an evil trudge which seems to never end. I’ve been stuck here in darkness and freezing fog trying to repair a puncture on side of the 70mph road. However in clear skies, like today, there is a point where you can see for miles and miles. Worth the effort every time.
You might be able to tell I am full of the joys of Spring this evening. I feel very privileged to live in a city suburb but be able to travel through what is essentially the Yorkshire Dales as the sun goes down. That lovely red glow from the setting sun over the green hill sides. While I would prefer to live closer to work because getting home at 5.30 would make a massive difference to my personal life but at the moment I am here in South Leeds and I’ve got to make the most of it.
Yes some drivers in Leeds are crazy and going into the city at 5.50pm is never the quietest of times but when you can put yourself to the test along open roads in the countryside it becomes absolutely worth it. Today I made the trip in 1 hour and 6 minutes, beating my personal best by a full 10 minutes.
Bring on the Summer!