Saturday afternoon by the canal

Enjoying the sunshine by the Regent's Canal

Enjoying the sunshine by the Regent’s Canal

“They shouldn’t allow cycling along here.  There’s just no room.”

I was out for a Saturday afternoon stroll with my friend Mark when I overheard this remark. It was a gloriously sunny day – one of the first real days of spring this year – and we’d decided the Regent’s Canal was the perfect spot to soak it up. So, it seemed, had half the population of Hackney.

“Did you hear what that woman said?” I asked Mark, already starting to feel my hackles rising.

“Yes,” Mark replied. “As it happens, I agree with her.”

As a cyclist – albeit one who rarely ever cycles along the canal towpath – this statement was like a red rag to a bull. Given that Mark is a lawyer – and therefore arguing a point is encoded into his DNA – the stage was set for a rather heated discussion. Continue reading

Spring is a state of mind


Look! Blossom! It must be spring, right?

The daffodils in my next-door neighbour’s front garden say it’s so. The blossom on the tree outside my bedroom window says it’s so. The calendar says it’s so. So why is the weather so obstinately refusing to play ball?

Although Thursday was officially the start of spring, it doesn’t feel like it at all. In fact, the weather this week and last has been as bad as anything winter has seen fit to throw at us. Snow? Check. Bone-chilling cold? Check. Torrential rain? Check.

I made the foolish mistake of heading out on Monday morning without looking at the forecast for the day. Had I done so, I would’ve been somewhat more prepared for the downpour that accompanied me on my ride home that evening. Continue reading