real life cycling

Seven hours twenty-three minutes

road theory cycling blog

Seven hours and twenty-three minutes. Come mid-December that’s how much daylight we have left to play with here in the north of England. A measly amount.

Some of us have daylight commitments to factor in, too. Gainful employment, kids to drop off at school, that kind of thing. When are we supposed to ride our bike? Whoever decided to tilt the earth on its axis and commit, at a stroke, the northern latitudes to definable, daylight variable seasons, was not a cyclist.

I’m so deep in winter mode right now – layered up, all ugly and reflective, lights hanging off me – that the idea of riding a bike in short sleeves sounds ridiculous. Implausible. Can someone check? Has anyone, ever, ridden a bike wearing shorts and a summer jersey?

Oh wait.


There are some people over on the ‘gram who can answer that question. Tanned, sun-baked, and frankly rubbing it in. Where do these people live? Somewhere near the equator, presumably? Do they not realise I’m down to seven hours twenty-three minutes over here? This is killin’ me.

Guys, keep your pics to yourselves…have a bit of empathy.

But ok. It’s not all bad. A bike ride down a dark country lane has a certain appeal. It’s spooky, which is fun, and the ever-present threat of hidden axe-murderers acts as a superb training aid. But we reach a tipping point where the excitement of a spooky ride and the threat of ending up in the wood chipper is outweighed by dwindling reserves of Vitamin D.

This is where we are.

We’re depressed, and in need of sunlight.

Luckily, the cavalry is on the way. In the form of the passing of time itself. December twenty-first is winter solstice, and a paltry seven hours twenty-two minutes, but from there we start to eek back an advantage.

Minute by minute. Edging our way back towards civilization, beating back that damn tilt and the havoc it plays with our circadian rhythm.

Before we know it it’s February, the clocks spring forward in March, and the evenings lengthen before our eyes. With all that self-preservation, all those axe-murderers left trailing in our wake, we are fit, and sprightly, and ready to give the local hills a right good seeing to. We might even develop, (whisper it), tan lines.

So hang in there.

It’s worth the wait.

2 comments on “Seven hours twenty-three minutes

  1. Well written and I completely emphasize with your plight. I find riding at night can be fun when done in small amounts. Just this week I embarked on my annual Tacky Christmas Light Safari, which can only be done at night. But in addition to be dark, it is cold and the combination are not at all enjoyable in large quantities. The trainer becomes a more serious option with each day. Stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

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