For close to 4 years, everyone who I told said, "Are your driving along the canal? You really should, you know..." But I never did.
Yesterday, still a bit short on breath because of a lingering cold, I decided not to brave busy main roads, complex left turns, posters for a show of giant vermin, and 17 traffic lights, and instead go for the unknown. So I pushed my bicycle down a soft sand slope and through a gate down to the canal path and attempted to navigate home.
Well. Two traffic lights only (after leaving the canal because it got too dark to find the way). No posters of giant vermin. Which is good.
Half of the paths were off limits to all non-pedestrian traffic. (I ignored that, which I usually don't, and just drove on.) Most were gravel or slippery dirt roads, half-covered in leaves, with deep water-filled potholes. The path zigzagged to and from the canal, up and down steep embankments (I actually had to use the lowest gears twice). I had not intended to go fast, and really, I could not have if I had tried, it took a lot of concentration and strength to keep the bike on track at the speed of a fast jogger.
All in all, it took 20 minutes longer than my usual route (80 vs 60), despite not being longer, and hardly any traffic lights. And today my shoulders hurt from spending most of those 80 minutes to keep the bike from slipping. I don't know why that route is so popular. That said, I did not see too many other bicyclists...
But it's very nice, in a melancholic autumny way.
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