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
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
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
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.
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……