Rudge Pootle

Gate Incident
Above, gate incident, I don’t know what the incident was, but there most certainly was an incident of some sort.

With the weather widget on my laptop telling me that the current report from the Frome weather-centre says it’s belting down with rain, I set off in the dry on an evening pootle round the lanes. No goals, no speed just forty minutes or so of riding round country roads. So I ambled through Rudge and onto Brokerswood where I saw this magnificent tin-tabernacle by the side of the road where the Great Wiltshire Cycleway turns towards Dilton.
tin tabernacle
The air was close, humid and laced with the scent of summer roadside vegetation, astringent cow-parsley mixed with sweet, creeping buttercup and ox-eye daisies. I saw more bikes than cars, four roadbikes and two mountainbikers all going in the opposite direction, everyone enjoying themselves and ready with a cheery hello and even a salute. I sort of knew where I was by following the pylon line as it crossed the road, imagining where it intersected with the mainroad by the railway bridge at the bottom of the boring gradient that leads up to the Beckington roundabout. Cranking it up a little I headed down unsignposted lanes towards where I guessed Dilton Marsh to be.

the cranksthe view from the cockpit again

Past an old farmer feeding a huge pig with scraps thrown from a yellow bucket. Through Dilton Marsh, beating a Mazda past the speed bumps and roadworks and out of the village, on towards the main road. High above me a buzzard was dropping down from riding the thermals, its dive following the path of the road. Standing on the pedals I kept pace on the straight until the bird wheeled right and started climbing again. A memory surfaced, racing a hare in the moonlight on Highway Common on my old Alpine 10; my massive Ever-ready bike light throwing out a feeble beam as I sprinted down the deserted straight track barely two feet to the left of the fleet-footed animal. No computer then, but we must have been pushing 20mph (about the maximum I could manage on the Alpine 10 on the flat). That must have been fifteen years ago.

Right onto the mainroad, the junction off the A36 into the Dilton Marsh road strewn with tiny shards of glass from the innumerable smashes that have happened here (I’ve seen two happen myself), always a worry with thin tyres. Then onto that god-awful boring gradient and home. Eleven miles, very happy indeed.

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