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Yesterday was brilliant. I’ve been working from home for the past couple of months as has everyone at my workplace. Two of my colleagues live pretty close by. I saw them last in March before the lockdown was announced when we took a walk together in Hackney Downs. I messaged one of them in the evening and we decided to bike together. Soon the other was roped in as well. It’s funny to think that we hadn’t met for about two months but managed to scramble together and meet within 15 minutes flat with our bikes. It felt like the ’80s and ’90s again.

We rode in the backstreets out to Clapton and then through Powerscroft road – a favourite with the man and me for walks to Chatsworth Road market in days gone by – on to Millfields Park, then along the Capital Ring by the river Lea. Rides by the canal are lovely – the little boats, the birds floating by, riverside housing with people’s lives now more observable on their balconies. We crossed into the Lea Valley Park and continued on a fairly relaxed place. Still the scenery rushed by and there was much to take in. The conversation with people I used to see everyday and spent most of my working hours with, the blue sky, activity on the water – human and avian, dodging people at an appropriate distance, the happy feeling of cycling.

We came quickly to the other side of the park, I think it must have been the Coppermill Lane car park. We decided to head back as M had a social (zoom) commitment. Instead of cycling back the same way, we ducked under a very low bridge and then crossed over the Horse Shoe Bridge. I couldn’t sustain enough momentum to pedal my bike all the way up so I walked her up and down on the other side. We cycled back down along the capital ring and sat in the sun in North Millfields for a bit, chatting and wishing we had carried some beer. An appropriate distance was maintained at all times.

Social distancing at North Millfields.

I felt really lucky – to have a bike, to have nice people who live close by and who were willing to meet and do something fun like a bike ride together on a nice, sunny evening. There is lots to be grateful for – a roof over my head, not worrying about where my next meal will come from, having an income during these maddening times, being able to work from home. All of these are extraordinary privileges. A bike ride with lovely people is the icing on the cake.