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News article created on 25 April 2016

Cycling into work along the Leeds & Liverpool

Sian Marie Hughes cycles into work along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal each day. Here she tells us why her commute is so special.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Its white light bright this morning as I set wheel on the towpath along the canal at Kirkstall, Leeds. I quickly look right for any other cyclists making their jaunt to work. First cyclist spotted and he's taking it easy. And why not? The canal is crisply peaceful today. First bridge done, cobbles conquered.

So many trees, so many branches, so many lines. The water is as still as a photograph. Off the towpath and onto a wider path but still near to the canal. Quick glances to the right and the flicker of bright sunlight makes it hard to see, but reflections can be made out perfectly. No ripples to distort the branches that arch over as if they are trying to have a peak at something.

Work can wait

More cyclists. Everyone seems to be taking it easy, no rush work can wait. Even the lack of high visibility is noticeable. In this extreme brightness no one can hide and everyone can be seen. High viz clothing just doesn't seem to be necessary. The canal's water is reflecting beams of light in all directions. Who needs a disco ball?

A tunnel of blue sky leads the way to work. The canal is in no hurry. At parts it could be a mirror. Everything that looks into it looks back at itself and can see that todays face is ready.

Boats are lined up in the marina. Not a person in sight, but with the sun gleaming down full force, its hard to tell anyway. You can almost imagine the canal folk being too timid to set foot outside of their barges until the light calms down. They're all exposed if they step foot on land. There is no need for alarm clocks when you can rely on the canal.

Kirkstall, Leeds & Liverpool CanalI can see town at the end of the canal. If it was a rainbow it would be a pot of gold. The amount of times I've wanted to just keep on going and follow the canal right past work. With the cool air creating tears that run down my face, its almost as if I'm crying as I get closer to work. I'd be more than happy to carry on right through town and out the other side, canal one side and river on the other. That'll have to wait until my next day off.

Industrial. Trains. Warehouses. Old mills. I find all of these strangely comforting. Signs of a city waking up, whether the canal is awake or not. The canal is still taking it easy no matter what the speed is of everything else and everyone else around it. This is a typical morning ride into work for me. Imagine what my journey home is like.

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