Saturday, 23 May 2009

An early start

I woke up early this morning, the birds were making a din, and there was too much going on in my head to get back to sleep. So I got up, got dressed, got the bike out and got moving.

I did a familiar 18 mile loop round Winter Hill, Cookham, Maidenhead Riverside, Bray, Holyport and White Waltham, then home for breakfast - and it was glorious.

On the way up to Winter Hill there was a low blanket of thick mist over the fields. I saw a fox trotting delicately through the woods, heading purposefully to somewhere important.

When I reached the top of Winter Hill the valley below me was still full of mist, but the tops of the higher trees were just beginning to clear. There was quite a chill in the air, but while I was on the high ground I was already in bright sunlight. Over the next few miles, as I descended into Cookham every detail of the landscape began to be picked out.

Then as I drew closer the the river again I came back into the mist. Crossing Widbrook Common, the cows on one side of the road were half-hidden, while on the other side the willows were breaking low sunlight  into shards as it came towards me through the mist.

By this stage I'd covered about 8 miles. It was still before 6:00 am, and I had only seen one car moving  on the road.  I was thoroughly enjoying myself, so rather than turning for home I  carried on along the river, and followed a wider loop round the south of Maidenhead. When I do that route in the evening the roads are normally very busy, but this morning I saw only the occasional car, and it was a treat have things pretty much to myself.

I couldn't have been luckier in hitting on the perfect morning, and the perfect time. I could really have done with a couple more hours sleep, but that was a small price for the kind of ride that really lifts the spirits. I only wish I had taken the camera with me to share some of the sights.

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