11 January 2007

Chinese torture

To ride through China Town at the end of the working day is torture. I do it most days, just when I'm beginning to feel hungry - I try not to eat anything after lunch and drop the afternoon snack so as to burn more fat when cycling. The downside is that the exercise opens my appetite, just when I'm pedalling through Manchester's prime concentration of food aromas. One day, I am minded, I will stop, chain my bike in the corner next to the Arch and jump into the nearest restaurant to have some fried rice, noodles or soup, peppered with chunks of chicken, beef or prawn in various sweet and sour or savoury sauces.

There are a couple of other places along my route where I get the whif of flavoursome food, but you can't beat China Town.

06 January 2007

Chased by an elephant

No: not a real elephant. It's just a trick I play on myself when I'm particularly tired and yet need to speed up not to be home too late. I imagine that an elephant is chasing me. I know, it sounds stupid, but it works - particularly on a dark winter night.

This is something I save for the home run, of course. There'd be no point in doing it to myself only to run out of steam, knees aching, before I've gone past Prestwich and turn into Oak Lane (Besses O'Th'Barn). But for those last 10' it works wonders. I can almost feel the elephant behind me, closing in. My pedalling becomes faster, I feel a lot more focused and aware, the leisurely rythm of the commuter disappears.

I don't know why it needs to be an elephant. It doesn't work the same with tigers or lions or wolfs (I've not tried rhinos... mmmhh).

05 January 2007

A fox cub

I saw a fox cub on my travels. It was about 18.45, a bit foggy, traffic a bit quieter than usual as people go off on their Xmas break. I was going up towards Prestwich on Bury Old Road. I'd just crossed Sheepfoot Lane and had Heaton Park on my right and St Monica's RC High School on my left. Out of Heaton Park, wriggling through some padlocked gates, a fox cub came and stood on the pavement for a couple of seconds, looking left and right as if about to cross the road. It didn't - to my relief, as the road was quiet at that moment, but cars were coming from both directions. It just stood still for another moment, then wriggled back in and trotted off, into the fog and the stillness of the park at night.