I had one of those days recently. You know, the ones that make you want to curl up under your duvet and have a good sob. And then call your mum. And then have a very large glass of red wine to try and flush out the sadness. They don't happen to me very often, and they soon pass, but this one was terribly timed with a long day at work. By the time I left it was fully dark, which didn't help. I was weary and tearful and very tempted to get on the tube and collapse all the way home.
I stood outside the office, bike park to my right, tube station to the left, and dithered. I couldn't face getting suited up, dealing with the locks, all the faff that most days I don't even notice. I turned left and set off, but heard a small internal voice calling me. It was Trusty. It said 'come, let me carry you and your bruised heart home. I will bear your heavy burdens and smooth your path'.
OK, so it might not have actually been my bike. It might have been another voice, or none at all. But I paused, turned on my heel and went to rescue the steed from a lonely night underground. I suited up, swung my leg over and set off.
And I confess, I had a little cry. Bikes are a good place to do it, as long as you can still see the road. No-one notices. The repetitive pedalling is very soothing, and there is no where better than a bike to get some brain space or have a little pray. I joined the neon pack at the lights, zoomed round a few good corners, powered up Great Percy Street and by the time I was halfway home my head felt clearer and my heart felt lighter. It may be as simple as endorphins and fresh air, but I believe cycling is good medicine. It doesn't fix the stuff that makes me sad, but it helps me face it better.
And if I sound like some sort of cycling evangelist, well, maybe I am.