It’s the end of the working week. Called out early in the morning I have been awake continuously since 3 am without sleep. The only thing that is keeping me awake is the fresh air from the cycle to the office and far too many cups of strong coffee. But despite my best efforts its now afternoon and I am flagging. I should go straight home the quickest way but get a silly idea of using Google Plus polls.
I load a photo and put out the question. Do I go home via the usual and quickest route? Or shall I head east which takes me through the village of Salford and down towards the big Amazon warehouse near the M1 motorway (a great route but with a number of undesirable junctions and heavy traffic flow from Cranfield, Amazon, and the M1? Or shall I head west, scything my way through Milton Keynes making best use of the cycle paths before going over the hilly back roads of Great Brickhill, Heath and Reach, and Eggington?
I give thirty minutes for the responses. As it’s time to go seventy-five percent of the votes go to the hilly west route. I am not sure how to take this: is it the longer, more scenic route; or, that the world of social media finds it funnier to send me with luggage in tow over the up and down route across country. Too late. Time to go. The web has decided.
Leaving earlier has its benefit of being lighter. The dark nights are drawing in and my usual commute ends in darkness. Lights flashing and camera on I cut through Wavendon and straight on the infamous red ways (cycle paths) of Milton Keynes. Almost immediately I come across a dog walker. I slow. Go wide. She says, “Don’t worry about the dog. He’ll chase but just keep pedalling fast.” And chase he did. And pedal fast I did.
Great Brickhill is the first main hill. I have a love-hate relationship with it. Steep enough to be out of the saddle. Not so steep that you give up. Steep enough to be happy to be over the top. Then into the single-track road to Stockgrove and Heath and Reach beyond.
At Eggington I hit rush hour cow traffic. Cows shepherded to another field by three farmers. The cows take a worrying interest to me. One farmer explains that cows don’t like anything new or different… and my flashing front light was probably distracting them. I hide it behind my hand and the cows continue to cross.
Over into Standbridge and I have the choice: up the route 6 through Sewell. Traffic-free but often littered with stones, glass, trees. Or stick to the roads and run the gauntlet of Tottenhoe. I opt for the cycle path for a change. Almost instantly it’s the right choice. Strava deer frightened the life out of me as she appears from the right then sprints away in the same direction as me
along the path. That competitive nature kicks in and I follow. Getting faster and faster but never really catching. And as we rise to meet the bridge over the A505 she ducks right to the safety of bushes and long grass (and hopefully not heading to the road and certain flatness).
A video of Strava Deer is on Google+.