Tuesday 19 November 2013

Moonlit cycle ride home along the Cam

Out of the warm room, departure from the friendly bloggers group. I wheeled out the bike, all wrapped up against the chill on Burleigh Street.

Dropping speed for the approach to Elizabeth Way bridge, I made a split moment decision to go back via the river. Seventeen swans silently swam down the silver stream of the Cam, towards the gibbous moon.

Cycle tyres thrummed past the new Chesterton bridge, the last of the road, then across the cattle grid onto the tree shadowed towpath. Across the Green Dragon bridge, a right turn to ignore the warm invitation of the pub lights. Soon I was back on the river path, with a swerve to miss the last of the night's lovers on their romantic walk.

No city lights, just the bright moon, cycle headlight and the occasional golden squares from moored riverboats. The hard dirt path sparkled as its route mirrored the river's ribbon. Now dark adapted, eyes had no problem finding the way under the tree-framed starry sky. The only sounds were the crackling gravel under the tyres, the air rushing past the anorak hood and the steady breaths of aerobic exercise.

On the opposite bank, the sodium glare of garden floodlights marked The Plough at Fen Ditton. Back in the welcome night, it was under the A14 flyover until the guillotine shadow of Baits Bite Lock heralded the return to a tarmac path.

Then a left turn onto Fen Road, leaving the river behind. A night train crossed the fields under the now open sky and, with windows glowing, continued like a slow horizontal firework towards Ely.

Into street-lit Milton. Harsh frost glittered on the car in the drive. The bike was safely parked in it's Apple-store-scented garage. Glasses suddenly misted over on opening the kitchen door to find the promise of a hot, streaming mug welcoming me home.

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