I recovered my two bicycles from storage today. Here they are, carrying the dust of an immobile decade. Barring a few scratches, they are much as I left them. One needs only new tyres and inner tubes to be rendered fully rideable. The other needs a little additional work, replacing a worn out saddle and lighting dynamo. These tasks will take me a morning at most. I know them well, as I built the two from components in the early 1990's.
These bicycles were very much part of my life before I moved abroad. I used to ride them to the stable, to go shopping, and for recreation. For several years, I used to cycle to work too. So, getting them back into running order helps me to reclaim my old life, to regain part of what I sacrificed when I moved to Eastern Europe.
The local authority has been busy creating cycle routes over the past decade, and there is now quite a good network of routes that are largely traffic-free. I can cycle the ten miles to the stable using a mixture of old railway route, farm track and country lane, a route also used by a surprising number of local people commuting to work by bicycle. I can also cycle on the Ridgeway and elsewhere, in dry weather anyway, as many non-motor rights of way are open to cyclists and horse riders as well as to walkers.