Apparently, the word August is derived from the Latin word augere, meaning “to increase,” and it is also the basis for the Latin name, Augustus, which means “esteemed” or “venerable”, and was a title given to Roman emperors. Anyway, right now, it’s August, and the end of it to be precise.

It’s 10 degrees and blowing a 50 mph wind in the North of the UK today, and technically, it’s still summer. I arrived back at the house from a 3 hour mountain bike ride done on my very green, Cannondale Freeride, which weighed about a kilogram and a half heavier with the amount of mud on it. My two big toes were a bit numb with the cold. I’m usually very organised, but I had forgotten my mandatory ‘shopping face mask’ and unusually, my pump, so lucky I didn’t need to go into a shop to buy something, or need to do a trail side puncture repair.

On the ride, I stop to eat wild blackberries, which appear to provide as much energy as some sort of heavily processed power snack. In between the muddy off-road trails, I pass through a few small villages and see locals talking to each other in a social distance stylee with their dogs on short leads, so they don’t get the virus as well. Weird times.

I pass a well groomed, but void of people, village cricket ground. I think the game of cricket carries the same very low level of excitement whether the ground is empty, or a game is in ‘full swing’. Indeed, my 86 year old Father died in his favourite chair a couple of days ago whilst watching cricket. As cricket was his favourite sport, he probably didn’t die of boredom, but I certainly would, or at least I would get a good sofa-sleep whilst it was on.

Power washing the bike is a great way to relax post-ride, unlike watching cricket. It’s so rewarding to see the bike suddenly start to shine as the dirt is swept away with speed. I’ve probably been responsible for relocating quite a lot of mud via the mountain bike. The bike dries very quickly in the 50 mph wind, so it gets transferred to the shed. The shed is my little pretend cycle shop, and I love it. As it’s August, seasonal fruit like wild strawberries are still around and I spend some time in the shed oiling the bike for the next ride, putting a new tyre on another bike, and all whilst taking big mouthfuls of home-made Swiss roll with wild strawberries, and washed down with hot tea.

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I read the news which is littered with COVID stuff and consider that most cycle shop owners are probably very glad that they went into the cycling trade instead of running or owning an airline company. Also, and maybe interestingly, I read that Elon Musk has unveiled a pig called Gertrude with a coin-sized computer chip in her brain to demonstrate his ambitious plans to create a working brain-to-machine interface. I’m wondering if the pig will be able to change the clock in a Tesla car from winter to summer time just by sitting in the front seat.

There’s a lot going on in the world this August, but it is still possible to spend some fabulous ‘me’ time having a great bike ride, even though it is very wet, very muddy and very windy, and the end of summer, in August.

All photos by the Author.

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