Riding early in the morning

Posted: February 16, 2011 in 2011, General

Early morning riding is not that pleasant in the winter and I try to avoid it as much as possible, preferring my dawn starts to be at any other time of the year. Whenever you do this however, you will always notice something special, usually when you return home, and I don’t mean just allowing yourself a hobbit like second breakfast!

Early morning rides can be equally enjoyable either on or off road, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you drag yourself out of bed and onto the bike as early as you can. There is nothing quite like seeing the world wake up secure in the knowledge that almost everyone else is in bed. The wildlife are much more prolific and the world has yet to suffer from the daily injection of petrol fumes. The air is somehow cleaner and the world less polluted by people. The absence of pollution allows you to enjoy some of the smells and aromas usually missing during normal operating hours and, if you are on the road, you are often spurred on your way home by the smell of multiple breakfasts cooking  as you pass houses.

A few years ago (Saturdays only) I used to be up, fed and riding by 6.00am (sometimes earlier) so I could get a good three hour ride in before the rest of the family stirred. I would head off towards West Stow and up the bridleway towards the monument, hit the road and get to Thetford Forest by  about 7 oclock. Heading into areas now closed to cyclists, I would frequently come across herds of deer and once startled a (solitary) massive stag with frighteningly impressive antlers. I stopped, he looked up and we both watched eachother for maybe 3 or 4 minutes before he ambled off into the trees. Further on I came across many other deer all of whom were unphased by my presence.

And then there’s the light…. Early in a summer morning, maybe on a fire road or a country lane, as the world lights up you see the countryside wreathed in a light mist which is gently burned off as the sun warms up. By now, the birds are well awake and singing their little hearts out and still there is little sign of humanity. It is as if you are in a different world but, when it comes, reality comes with the speed and noise of everything modern. The odd radio, maybe a car or even a tractor in the distance then whoosh, the world is there, in your face, and the moment has gone. It is usually about now that I make for home with thoughts of a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea uppermost in my mind. When I finally finish the ride I have a feeling of satisfaction at having experienced the new day in a way many people will never see. Sometimes I feel guilty at not having shared it with someone but then it wouldn’t have been the same experience would it?

As the mornings get lighter, make an effort to fit in an early morning ride. It doesn’t have to be for three hours or any silly distance, just make sure you get out and enjoy it, it may even become a habit!

EDIT: OK the deer shot was taken in the evening and the dawn shot in the winter but you get my drift! Oh yes, and don’t forget your camera!

  1. Moe says:

    Nothing quite like it, can’t wait till I start seeing the sun rises on my way home from work, getting home to see a latice of silvery cobwebs strewn across the cables. Worth every effort to get up, get out and get going. 🙂

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