More Moors, Commuting by Bike

the orchard at hidcoteCycling from Menston to Bingley via Burnsall was hot and sticky a couple of Sunday’s ago. I decided to do four moors, so across the moor above Otley – Stainburn Moor – then Blubberhouses Moor (on the Bridleway), then along up to Burnsall, then back down to Bolton Abbey and then over Langbar (Langbar Moor?), then down into Ilkley and then up and over Ilkley Moor. The route reaches around about 1000′ four times and is about 50 miles. It’s gorgeous on a hot day. The woods around Bolton Abbey were looking wonderful, spring green and bluebells, with wild garlic starting to go over. Not many cyclists on that route, though a procession of old tractors was gladdening the back road from Burnsall to Bolton Abbey.

[Later... this has become a standard route - Bingley to Bingley via Burnsall, doing Ilkley Moor twice and Langbar moor once. A quiet route mostly, and very little other than lanes so feels quite safe.]

Yet more cycling on the bike path between Leeds and Bradford. Some drivers ignore all pedestrian crossings, whether there’s someone there or not, which explains the bunches of flowers that occasionally decorate even the light controlled crossings. The green man has ceased to be sacrosanct, many drivers ignore the red light and in spite of the pedestrian deaths it evidently isn’t a police priority. It’s curious but I’m possibly safer on a bike than walking! Pedestrians have to cross side roads at least and there’s fairly little respect and kindliness on the roads, especially during the commute.

An argument against commuting by car is that it does bad things to your attitude to other people, the endless pushing in and cutting up surely get into your bloodstream eventually. It is now Bike Week, not that the numbers on the bike route to Leeds have increased. The cycle superhighway from Bradford to Leeds certainly requires patience… pressing buttons and waiting… Mass cycling culture in the UK? As I cycle past the line of mobile phone using, red light running, one-person in a car enjoying their media with diesel fumes pumping car drivers, it’s evidently a long way off. The Antarctic will melt before we get there. More hopeful is mandatory electric vehicles and the end of humans doing the driving.

The photo is the orchard at Hidcote in Gloucs. BD3′s gardening festival is coming up so even more reason to visit inspiring gardens (even if it is about 100000 x bigger than my yard) It is a wonderful garden even if you only garden in a tiny space. It certainly shows how a ‘garden room’ can be imaginatively planted for beautiful contrasts, symmetries, focal points and a sense of sanctuary. The orchard has a lovely sense of being a big shaggy and wild, though I’m sure it produces a great deal of fruit. It would be great to grow an apple tree in a Bradford yard, but all I have at the moment are strawberries, mostly alpine. Lots of things about to flower – roses, honeysuckle and sweet peas in particular. Perhaps that’ll bring in a few more bees, I’m sure I had more last year. The long winter may have reduced their numbers.

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