Yesterday afternoon I decided to head out on my Cannondale R800 for a countryside loop.
I am fortunate in that I have some wonderful lanes to ride within 5 minutes of home.
The ride took in a few climbs which would normally be reasonably easy on the 'Dale (lighter than the commute bike and no luggage) but, I am on the recovery phase of a cold and have an annoying cough. The upshot of this was that the climbing was painful, really laboured breathing and heart rate maxing at 178 bpm at one point (Apprentice crumbly less than a year from the half century) so not good. Hurry up and bugger off cough!
Anyway, as it is autumn, farming folk are quite busy, preparing the land for the next crop. Part of the route I rode took me out of Hambleden village and towards the little hamlet of Parmoor. As I rode this, a farmer was ploughing a field beside the road. I could see something was occurring from a distance as there were 12 or 13 Red Kite gliding overhead watching what was going on. When I got level with the field, I could see 20 or so more Kite on the field itself checking out the freshest furrows for goodies. They leapt into flight as I passed, settling back again soon after. A wonderful sight.
Other farmers had been busy feeding their fields and the smell of well rotted manure was everywhere. Not so wonderful but, if you can't stand the smell- get out of the countryside!
A lot of the loop had tree cover over the roads and many of the trees were Beech. The roads beneath the trees were strewn with beech nut husks and riding over the husks sounded like muted automatic gun fire! I was waiting for the hiss of rapidly deflating tyre but I got away with it.
Autumn afternoon rides are only bettered by those bright, autumn early morning rides with mists over the fields.