Through the equinox of September

“The breezes taste

Of apple peel

The air is full

Of smells to feel”

(John Updike, September)

In my teaching days, the end of August heralded the reining in of the wanderlust of summer, and the girding of the loins for the onset of the new term. The first few days of September saw all the systems firing up to receive the returning pupils from

Extracting a JCB from our garden......

Extracting a JCB from our garden……

the previous year, and the new pupils making their hesitant start in a new school environment. Since retiring from teaching, I’ve noticed how many of the ‘silver haired’ generation seem to disappear in the early days of September, presumably heading off to those very same resorts and hotels recently vacated by departing families heading home for the start of the school term. Not for them the exorbitant prices of the high season; not for them the noise and boisterous fun-making of children.

We stayed ‘chez nous’ for the duration of the month, primarily to be around when the garden landscapers moved in to dig a huge hole in our back garden, and then begin the process of filling it in again with a new patio. Having lost our patio 6 years

Blackberries....!

Blackberries….!

ago when we had a conservatory built on it, we decided to regain it once again……….in time, of course, for the promise of any warm lazy autumnal days that may lie ahead………….. ;0)

Cycling in September jostled for space alongside the obligatory blackberry picking and apple scrumping along the country lanes. This is the time for filling the freezer with the autumnal harvest, and the hedgerows this year have been awash with ripening fruits. Many has been the time I’ve got back home with the three back pockets of my cycling jersey stuffed with apples……….only to be met by the uxorial admonishment of “Oh no, not more fruit-for-free! What are we going to

Castle Ashby

Castle Ashby

do with it all?”.

In terms of cycling, the month started with descending temperatures, to the point where some domestic heating systems were fired up (not ours, of course………being post-war babies, we remember well the benefits of simply putting on multiple layers of clothing) and winter cycling layers were dug out from the depths of drawers. After a glove-less summer, applying brakes and gears with gloved hands seemed a little strange. But then a promised Indian summer appeared on the horizon, and the last two weeks of the month provided perfect cycling weather.

Somewhere in Staffordshire

Somewhere in Staffordshire

This is the time of year when cycling mileages normally tail off a bit. The days get cooler and daylight hours get shorter. Unlike July and August, when several of my day rides exceeded 160 kms/100 miles, my longest route in September was only 130 kms/81 miles. But I numbered 23 riding days in total, averaging 75 kms/47 miles per day………giving a total for the month of 1,735 kms/1,078 miles.

Which reminds me……’tis time to check the chain for wear, and get it replaced before it begins to do irreparable damage to the cassette and chainwheels. My last change of chain required a new cassette…………the guys at my local bike shop told me I was doing too many miles……

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on October 4, 2013, in Aspects of Britain, Cycling UK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Indeed. The weather lately has been perfect for cycling – which is a shame for those of us stuck behind a desk all day. Incidentally, how do you do so many miles and not have a worn out chain? I keep forgetting to check mine, with the result that almost every time I get my bike serviced (every six months) I have to have chain *and* cassette replaced. Is it the stop-start nature of commuting that does it, compared to the just keep going-ness of road cycling?

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