Slightly dewy damp trails, beautifully bright sunshine and comfortably warm spring weather. Now that the clouds have paused in their relentless attack of pelting us with precipitation, I can go back off-road for my commute safe in the knowledge that I’m not eroding the trails beyond the point of no return! And after riding cyclepaths and busy roads for so long, or so it seems, the off-road option comes as a great relief.

This morning it was so peaceful heading up the bridleway near the Barton Hills, my bike was running smooth and quietly and I could hear the bird singing in the trees. Something I’ve not noticed over the winter, due to distance from trees, lack of birds or more probably having my Gore windstopper skullcap pulled right down over my ears for a bit of weather protection.

I’m not exactly riding a rural countryside commute either; this is my ~10 km that gets me from outside of Luton into town. And I’m referring to the Luton that the likes of Ryanair and Easyjet consider to be part of London; not the Luton in Devon that Apple’s maps famously defaulted to on their search. Admittedly the airlines are a long way off the mark too and 10 km into central London would be another ride altogether!

Cutting across Bradger's Hill
Cutting across Bradger’s Hill

Any which way, my off-road commute, although not the most direct option is certainly the most enjoyable. Slower due to being less direct, slower due to being a rougher surface and slower due to riding on my fat low pressure knobbly tyres. But I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’m commuting to work and I’m getting the off-road miles in, so I feel that I can spare the extra few minutes. Look at the photos and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Looks like the water ran down here!
Looks like the water ran down here!

Sure there are parts that haven’t weathered so well, particularly beneath the trees on the hill down into Barton-Le-Clay but given a few more days of this lovely weather and the surface will be ridable even in the worst parts. Not as fast or as much fun as at the end of last year I don’t suppose but then that’s what lots of rain and plenty of bikers, horses and walkers do to a trail through the winter months. Fortunately most parts, like the descent through the trees in the picture below have held up perfectly.

Welcome to a nice rooty descent
Welcome to a nice rooty descent

With the longer days closing in fast lets hope this is a good spring; I’m certainly hoping and given the slightest opportunity will be off riding where ever and when ever allows.