Coffee, Romantic poets and autumnal bike commuting

Shelley’s Ode to the Wild West Wind could have been written for today’s commute. The “breath of autumn’s being” was in full effect. The old adage (less poetic but equally true) of ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes’ also came to mind as I pushed aside weak minded notions of driving to work and readied myself for another bike commute.

October and November to me is always like a hurried set change between acts. The languid ambiance of summer is rudely dismantled by a brutal road crew of wind, hail and rain. And so it was today. I was out of bed at 6am, dark outside and the sound of heavy rain pelting against the roof and windows. The trees outside were whipping around as I filled the kettle and made a quick breakfast.

While the kettle was boiling I got dressed for action – long sleeved base layer and waterproof done up to the neck. Waterproof pants stretched on over big boots, gloves at the ready. In my bag my t-shirt and merino jumper awaited for a quick change once at work.

I poured boiling water into the cafetiere and then checked the bike for punctures; all the while the rain continued to clatter like gravel against the front door. I took my favourite big green mug, added a little milk and then poured the coffee. The next five minutes is my favourite time. The rest of the house still slumbering, the world outside slowly waking up, a cup of coffee warming the hands and the anticipation of a ride ahead. Coffee drunk, I took a cup upstairs to Mrs Everyday Cyclist and kissed her goodbye before making final preparations for lift-off.

Coffee mug on the drainer, bag on back and cinched tight, helmet on, lights on. A red blinky on the back, a repurposed LED torch up front and a white blinky attached to my bag, for a moment the hallway was alight like Christmas. A cursory final squeeze of the tyres and check of the brakes for luck. I opened the door and the drama of the morning weather rushed in – the house took a deep draught of autumn’s brew. I wheeled the bike out, clicked the door shut quietly behind me and at once I was engaged with the elements. Street still dark under sodium light I shot down the hill, spray fizzing from my tyres, wind lashing shoals of heavy raindrops at face and body. But inside by waterproofs, gloves and big boots, I was warm and dry as I pushed on into town, uphill, into the wind, feeling 100 percent alive.

Share your Everyday Cyclist Profile

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Ok readers, it’s time to hear your Everyday Cyclist stories.

I’ve been watching my blog stats with a beady eye lately and they’re slowly rising, gaining momentum. Which got me to thinking… There must be lots of Everyday Cyclists out there with stories to tell, advice to share and lore to impart.
With this in mind I’ve decided to go for a little audience participation. I’d like you to send me your Everyday Cyclist profiles, based on the template below. In the spirit of sharing and getting the ball rolling, I’ve filled it in with my stuff.

How to share your profile: Send your profile, complete with a portrait pic if you like to edmundallen@blueyonder.co.uk and I’ll post it as soon as I can. If you’re sending a pic make sure it’s no bigger than 1mb or something sensible.

My Profile

Name: Eddie Allen

Age: 38

Location: Liverpool, UK

Occupation: Web Editor

My Commute: 3 days a week, combining bike and train. 12 miles per day, all year round

My Bike: Homebrew tourer/allrounder bike based on a steel Saracen hybrid frame and fork.

Tortoise or Hare? Tortoise, without a doubt.

Favourite local ride: I love rides that start and finish at my front door. Mersey waterfront from Hoylake to Woodside on a hot day takes some beating.

Top tip: Take your cycle computer off your bike a judge your ride on smiles not miles per hour.

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Happy days in the cycle carriage

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A decent haul of bikes today in the cycle carriage of my commuter train. Resurrectio was berthed with two Dawes hybrids and a Dawes folder. All rigged for daily use with bags and baskets, lights and bells. All were deposited there by folks dressed in normal clothes, just getting on with their days, blending in and getting to work the smart way. Squint and you’d think it was Copenhagen. Gives a person hope.

NB: no apologies for the crummy mobular phone pic. It is what it is.