In praise of darkness…

The clocks have just shifted an hour to usher in a season of darkness. The brief spell of morning light we can enjoy over the next few weeks will pass and we nine-to-five-ers will have to get used to only seeing daylight on weekends.

But is that such a bad thing?

Sensory deprivation

It may sound counter-intuitive but the beauty of riding your bike is in its simplicity. In this era of information overload; of push notifications and of always being connected to everything but yourself, trimming things down to little more than the sound of your own breath and of your own thoughts is a meditative experience.

During the day, on those rare occasions where the sun is out and you are not riding into a relentless headwind, you can certainly enjoy the scenery as it passes by. You may also be encouraged to explore new places and stop every now and again. It is, in its own way a life-enhancing experience.

When you are riding your bike, it is often difficult to think about much besides the business of riding and the things you see around you. It’s difficult to read your Facebook feed (Spoiler alert: it’s probably full of people moaning about things), or catch up on Instagram too, giving your mind a well-earned break from the social media aggregation turbine.

Take away the light and you are left with just you. You are forced to spend time with yourself.

It’s time to think about your day, to focus on the triangle of light projected by your front lamp and listen to the sound of your tires gliding over the asphalt, or through the ankle-high leaves.

When the sun goes down the world often becomes a little eerie, particularly on the Taff Trail. With less visual noise to process your ears tune in to the sounds all around you instead. You become more aware of your breathing, of your chain as it moves you along and of the fellow riders you are sharing the route with.

At certain times of the year you’ll be hearing a fair amount of wildlife too, not to mention followed along the Taff by a bat or two.

There’s more to life than summer…

As the years advance it scares me to think that I’ve wasted many of them waiting for Friday, or waiting for summer. There are seven days in a week, including Monday and there are four seasons in a year, even if most of them seem to alternate between cold rain and warm rain.

For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work – Doug Larson

Get out there whatever time of year it is. Embrace the darkness, wrap up warm and make the most of the time you have. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there will always be tomorrow, but we only get so many of those.

Gavin

Bike commuter, randonneur and cat wrangler

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