I wrote recently of my new found exploration into night time MTB riding and I was not expecting to write something else on it so soon but last night I was out again and this photo of me and my experience encapsulated in many ways what is so magical about it. A short time before this photo was taken we’d careered / slithered down a muddy field and I was trying to learn fast how to control a bike that was quite frankly moving around all over the place as my wheels skidded and skipped in the mud. I tried very hard to relax, stay off the brakes and feel the movement, letting the front wheel go where it wants and slowly correcting. Trying to do this intuitively and by feel was tricky but I did reasonably well I thought. Plenty to build on and a very interesting experience.
Then after much mirth and a short pedal I looked up and wow, this incredible structure loomed up in front of us. Being pitch black you couldn’t see it until you were almost underneath it. It was a jaw dropping moment. The others who ride the area regularly take it for granted but I thought it was mesmerising. It reminded me of some old mid west American coal or gold mining track and it was really eerie and atmospheric. Apparently we’d ridden over it an hour or so previously on our way out on the ride and it’s pretty cool on the top but approaching it from below in pitch black was just ace.
I must admit that I love bridges, there is something about the concept of reaching out to cross a divide that appeals to me, perhaps because it goes to the heart of human desire for exploration as in “I wonder what’s over there?” but also because bridges link places and help people to connect with one another which I think is a fundamentally good thing. Although perhaps they just remind me of my own mortality, no matter how many bridges I cross, I can’t escape the ultimate crossing from life to death.
All these thoughts and heightened images were whirling around in my head as I pedalled off under the bridge and Rob @chasingsheepMTB took the amazing atmospheric photo above. As I rode under it there was one song that was playing in my head, the brilliant Red Right Hand by Nick Cave, the lyrics to which I’ve used for the title to this post as it was so apt. The track is below if you don’t know it.