Today I cycled 8 and a half miles, saw two rabbits, a squirrel, a fox and a *huge* dragonfly.
I also got quite lost and had a puncture.
I had a brilliant time.
Regular readers may recall my recent bike-related post, the road less travelled, in which I trundled my merry way around bits of the Wakefield area that I hadn’t explored. I mentioned there was a track down by the golf course under a bridge that I hadn’t yet explored, so today was the day.
I’d had a busy day and only an hour or so to fit my ride into, so set off from home towards the train station. There’s another interesting track down there which I’ve always wondered where it would end up. Turns out it runs alongside the railway track for about half a kilometre and brought me out roughly in the right direction for the golf course. Cross that one off my ‘where does it go?’ list.
I got up to the golf course, found the track and trundled along there quite happily for a while before coming out on the main road about fifty metres from the road leading the golf course.
Cross another one off the list.
Quite pleased with my exploring, I reckoned I had about half an hour left. There was yet another unexplored road nearby (as mentioned in the previous post), so I set off down there.
Up past the houses the road drops to a single track down between the hedges. I spy a couple of fellow cyclists up ahead, just as the road forks. They head off to the left, but I spot a sign saying that Newmillerdam is 2.5 miles off to the right. Now, Newmillerdam is roughly on my way home, ish. So I turn right.
The road disappears at this point, and I’m bumping along a dry track next to some fields. It’s all very scenic and quiet and as I’m bouncing along I spot a rabbit bounding along ahead. It takes off into a field on the left and I come to the end of the track.
There’s a field ahead of me with some fledgling cabbages neatly planted in rows, but there’s a fairly clear path across it, and on the far side I see a yellow marker post for the path. I set off across and soon get to the trees on the other side. The track here is pretty narrow, but just wide enough to cycle down, albeit very carefully. There’s a bridge at the bottom crossing the railway track, then it opens out onto another field.
This is where it goes slightly pear-shaped.
Now, this field is thigh-high with greenery. There’s no obvious track going across it. I can go left or right. Right looks a bit overgrown, and left is downhill.
Left it is. I get to the bottom of the field and there’s still nothing obvious indicating which way to go. I pause for a swig of water and another rabbit bursts from cover, spots me and hurtles off into the hedge to my left.
Oh well. I continue down the edge of the next field – I can see a road in the distance, and have worked out roughly where I am. I just need to go down this field, find a way through the hedge, and I’m back on the road.
After a dozen or so yards I realise that I really need to be carrying my bike so it doesn’t damage the crops. I’m being nettled and brambled, but the sun is shining and I’ve just spotted the biggest dragonfly I’ve ever seen keeping pace with me. The bottom corner of the field yields no exit, but a curious fox pokes its head out to see what this lycra-clad lunatic is doing.
Along the bottom of the field then, and there! The road. I send an apologetic text home to say I’ll be a little late and set off up the hill.
Hmm. It’s very bumpy.
A little… too bumpy.
Puncture in my rear tyre. And guess who didn’t pack a bike pump? I’ve got all the other paraphenalia for fixing a flat, but the pump is handily attached to my other bike. Ooops.
Still, it’s a fairly slow puncture, so I struggle on up the hill and make it home, a little late, a little sunburned, a little bloody from the brambles, but with a grin on my face.
Look. If I hadn’t taken that track, I’d not have seen the rabbits, the fox or the beautiful dragonfly. I now know that the path *does* lead directly across the field.
But that’s for another day.
7 thoughts on “off the beaten track”
Wasn’t it gorgeous? Sadly my bike remained unused this weekend. Caught man-flu off the OH.
oddly I thought I saw you and your OH up by Walton Hall. I was all set to stop and say hi when I realised it wasn’t! I’m so glad I got out, even if today I am a little brambled, nettled and sunburnt. 🙂
I love this so much – I get so caught up in the idea of ‘challenge’ or distance, speed, whatever, that I forget to do stuff just for the sheer fun of it. You’ve reminded me of that – and of the truth that my best fun quite often happens when I’m a bit lost, muddy or sunburnt…
Definitely. There’s a lot to be said for setting off with a goal in mind, but some days you just need to recapture that fun. I used to spend whole days when I was a kid just out on my bike with no particular place to go, or to be. Just me and the bike, pedals turning, chain whirring, seeing where I ended up.
Wow – it has been so long since I had a cycle ride, let alone a cycle ride like the one you just had (with all the ups and downs!) I miss that. I must get my bike fixed and get back on it.
I highly recommend it. 🙂