Simple Pleasures

Lately I’ve taken to cycling on Saturday mornings with a group called the Yealm Roleurs. The ride normally starts at the Yealmpton post office at 08h00 and the starting point is a fair few miles from home.

This Saturday I was running a bit late, so I didn’t check my phone, other than to start Strava and Endomondo (as backup) to log the ride. I set a few personal records as I hurried along to Yealmpton, to arrive just before 08h00. I wanted to, and could’ve gone even quicker, but as my cycle computer was showing -1C, I knew I had to be sensible, and be prepared to encounter ice on the road.

As it happened, there were some frozen puddles here and there, but by and large the roads were fine and soon enough I was waiting at the Yealmpton post office. Previously, I’d been told that the clock on the door at the post office serves as the “master clock” for the ride, despite being a few minutes out.

Once that clock showed 08h05 I realised that nobody else was going to show up, so I set off for the next meeting point at Ermington, some 5 miles away.
It was a stunningly gorgeous morning, crisp and clear (even if rather cold) and the sun was up by the time I made it to Ermington. I was surprised to find no riders waiting at Ermington and got my phone out to do a time check. It was then that I saw I had email, and the particular message that I hadn’t read was the one advising everybody that due to the risk of ice, the ride’s start time would be delayed to 09h00.

I did some more cycling around and gradually made my way back to the starting point, where there was one other cyclist waiting, though two more soon joined us. We set off to Ermington again, where a fourth rider joined us, then went for a loop through the South Hams. The group was planning on heading off to Bigbury, but as I hadn’t planned on the ride starting an hour later, I was somewhat concerned about time, near Aveton-Gifford I peeled off and headed back via Modbury.

If you’ve ever been to this part of the world, you’ll remember just how gorgeous it is. When you crest a hill, you can often see deep into Dartmoor, while nearer to home I take the coastal road that runs past Holbeton and which offers breathtaking vistas.

The group I ride with consists of a nice bunch and I’ll certainly continue riding with them, especially seeing as I really need to up my fitness level for the Dartmoor Classic next year. But sometimes it is nice just to be able to stop and admire the view, and not have any concerns about how this may impact on the rest of the group. Sometimes, exactly what is needed is the solitude that may be found by cycling alone on quiet rural lanes.

I didn’t take any photos as my phone’s camera simply couldn’t do the views justice. It is little moments like these that make me glad to be alive, that make me realise just how insignificant I am yet also make me feel perfectly at peace with that realisation.

If you haven’t done so, you really need to get yourself out on an early-morning rural ride and simply drink in everything your senses detect around you. These are life’s simple pleasures that make my life immeasuarbly better.

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