Heave To The Towpath

bike mumblings

Wind tends to be the perpetual enemy of the cyclist. When you are battling a headwind (and by some quirk of meteorology, it always seems to be a headwind, whichever direction you are cycling in), you feel like Sisyphus. While we were touring around the Isle of Mull by bike some years ago, Mr. Bsag persuaded me that it would be a good idea to go out for a ride in a gale force wind. He was fine, because there’s nothing he likes better on a bike than adversity, and he flies up hills or into the teeth of a gale as if they didn’t exist. I was much less fine, and heaved away, getting nowhere, while muttering under my breath about my husband-to-be’s harebrained schemes.

However, there’s a certain kind of blustery wind which is actually quite fun and exhilarating to experience on a bike. This morning, we had such a wind, and I had a great time on my commute. In a blustery wind, everything seems to be dynamic and in motion, while you carve a path through the swirls and skirls of air. Overhanging branches curve down and you have to duck and weave around them, and fallen leaves skitter and dance around your wheels. The wind seems to play with you, sometimes holding you back, then the next moment pushing you gently in the small of the back and moving you on. It feels like sailing, as if the wind is a solid, invisible surface that you must feel your way around by touch, charting a course along its crests and slopes.

Of course, if I had an actual sail on my bike, it would be even better, though tacking on the towpath is not to be recommended.

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