The Normality Of Self-Isolating On A Bike Ride

We live in surreal times. The world is approaching a state of lockdown. The shops are emptying of toilet paper and hand sanitiser. The Italians are singing from their Juliet balconies. We are encouraged to ‘self-isolate’ at the drop of a, err… handkerchief. Work from home! Wash your hands! Sneeze into your elbow! This is far from normal.

Yet normality is out there…

I ate fresh pasta and pesto last night washed down with a couple of cans of beer. That’s pretty normal. I have, yet again, failed to win either the Euromillions jackpot of that of the National Lottery. That’s depressing normal. And yesterday I had an elongated discussion on Facebook with a local numpty who wouldn’t know a fact if she started sneezing them. That’s frustratingly normal. Oh, and I went for a ride on my bicycle.

It was a familiar jaunt into Halifax and then along the Calder Valley as far as Hebden Bridge at which point it started raining so I hopped onto the train back to Halifax before an even-more-familiar cycle back home along the route of my cycling commute.

Up, down, up, down, up, down, along and then up (and a bit of down)

43 km in total that took much of the late morning and afternoon. Plenty of short stops along the way; in my mother’s dining room, at The Piece Hall, next to a bridge over the Rochdale Canal, at an over-priced cafรฉ in Hebden Bridge (ยฃ4.70 for a ham and cheese sandwich!) and then on the train… Other than being recognised by a chap who had read my books in Hebden Bridge – I think it was the bike more than me – and then having a conversation with a guy at Hebden Bridge station about Wanda’s performance as an eBike (it’s the Rohloff hub that confuses people), there was nothing particularly remarkable about the day. But the normality of the whole thing was a welcome treat in our currently abnormal world. I can recommend it wholeheartedly. Go for a bike ride!

Categories: Adventure, Cycling

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10 replies »

  1. You’re right Andrew; nothing can beat a bike ride to re-calibrate the mind and put things in perspective.

    The idea of banning cycling is completely bonkers. Surely there is little chance of either contracting or passing on infection from a bike?

    At least in rural areas I don’t think it will be enforceable.

  2. I’m bracing myself for yet more of my friends using their new-found spare time at home to write that novel they always felt they had inside them, and expecting me to proofread and polish it up to Booker standard, on the basis that I sometimes write about cycle-touring in places like Bury St Edmunds. Beware, Andrew….!

  3. Self distancing rather than self isolation is highly recommended for anyone over 60 especially if you have underlying health issues. Use this time to connect via Skype, email, phone etc with long lost friends or those you canโ€™t visit now. Also catch up with reading, home renovations, gardening and those million jobs youโ€™ve been putting aside. Regular exercise in the form of cycling and jogging will keep mind and body together. Now for all you youngsters out there think of the elderly and keep an eye on any one you know of. Meanwhile keep safe and keep washing your hands. Remember we are all in this together. The virus is a vicious and highly contagious one. Donโ€™t take it lightly. Important not to overreact but be extra careful. Listen to the science and not government spin.

  4. Such a shame they have banned cycling in public in Italy and Spain today hope it doesnโ€™t happen here

  5. My introvert self tells me that self isolation is one of my favourite reasons for getting on my bike. It looks quiet in the background to your piece hall photo – was it?

    • The Piece Hall wasn’t particularly quiet; if anything it’s a place where you can keep your distance so people probably feel more comfortable there rather than cooped up in a shop…

What do you think?