Tuesday 13 November 2007

Why I like Autumn

When the trees their summer splendor
Change to raiment red and gold,
When the summer moon turns mellow,
And the nights are getting cold;
When the squirrels hide their acorns,
And the woodchucks disappear;
Then we know that it is autumn,
Loveliest season of the year.

by Charlotte L.Riser

Okay, not that I can put it as eloquently as Charlotte, but I certainly agree that autumn is the loveliest season of the year.

In my current situation of temporarily being a "lady of leisure" I get time in the middle of the day to go out for a quick spin.

There's nothing nicer than being out on my bike rolling through the lanes around the North Downs on a crisp, sunny autumn day. I love the section where I cross Skid Hill (West Wickham) and go out towards Hessiers Hill. On the left there's a great view of the lane that I'm shortly to take, plunging down towards Beddlestead. On either side of the lane are farmers fields, glowing in the autumn sunshine. The landscape is bordered by trees with leaves of various shades of green, brown, gold and yellow.

It may be a working day, but not much happens in these lanes - there's barely any traffic, and it's possible to ride this 3 mile stretch without seeing a single car. There's just my trusty steed and me, with the squirrels and the birds for company.

The sight and sound of the traffic to Westerham marks the end of the peaceful climb up through Beddlestead. But even though I end up on a fast B road the ride still feels pleasant - just the sight of the oak and sycamore trees around, with the sun smiling down on me makes me feel good. At this point I usually see and greet other club cyclists who are zooming past on this fast stretch of road. I'm not the only one who likes to make the most of these autumn afternoons !

I don't stay on the fast downhill stretch for long as I shoot up Church Hill and head off towards Tatsfield. Another part which I enjoy - the road may show more signs of life - houses, farm buildings, a community hall etc. but it still has a very peaceful feel about it. It is narrow and twisty, but not many cars take this route so I can really make the most of the riding experience. I spin through the lanes at speed under the watchful eye of the horse chestnut trees that surround me on this less exposed section. My route is lined with leaves of gold, brown, yellow and green all along the wayside. As I continue, more leaves are blown along the way, some quite close to my face - almost like bunting marking my arrival !
Well, it is at moments like these that I want to celebrate the beauty of nature. If only all my bike rides could be like this.

Once I get home I feel glad to have been out and made the most of such a beautiful afternoon. Fingers crossed there can be more rides like this before the really cold damp stuff sets in.

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