This, above all, is why I cycle

The ladies' pond on Hampstead Heath

The ladies’ pond on Hampstead Heath

Ripples on the surface of the murky brown water reflect a kaleidoscope of colours – blue, from the almost cloudless sky above; green, from the leafy trees, bushes and rushes enveloping the pond; brilliant white where the sunlight catches on the water’s surface, and the occasional flash of red from the lifeguards’ bright shorts and shirts.

A gaggle of geese glide gently by, seemingly oblivious to the swimmers bobbing and splashing around them.

From the platform at the water’s edge I take a tentative step down the ladder, then two. As my toes touch the water, I let out an involuntary yelp. It’s cold. I pause for barely a second, gathering up my resolve, then launch myself in. Cold is, after all, why I’m here. Continue reading

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