Cycling: Derbyshire heatwave

For hours after my blood still fizzes

and pops like hot tarmac bubbles

under speeding tyres that sing and hum along

to the click of gears.


Shady alleys of hedgerows and thick-leafed trees

hide potholes, sly skid of gravel. Hit the

hill at speed feeling the ratio of slope to gears,

the push and pant and power up.

Then swoop down, gripping the brake hoods,

down on the drops, lean into corners.

Tight focus on tarmac and the wheel ahead.


Things flash past: the wayside shrine near Axe Edge,

quiet pubs; a shirtless man spreadeagled

and pinking on the sloping gritstones edging

Goyt Reservoir. An exploded pile of feathers,

brown and white, big as a turkey,

yellow legs with clawed feet up-ended,

big as my handspan.


All the yellow fields, green-outlined,

seem not England but pictures of Tuscany.

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