Every day I cycle through the woods, around the bay, into a park, and past a pond full of geese to get to work. Last week I took my cameras with me.
I’d never been to Swansea before the weekend I moved here; I’d never even been to Wales. I applied to come to university here based entirely on the photo on the front cover of the prospectus they sent me. That year the brochure featured the sprawling beach just across the road from campus, and I was sold.
Twelve years later I find myself back on campus in a different role and cycling to work along that beach every day. I pretty much landed on my feet.
My commute to work starts on the cycle path at the end of my street. Away from any cars the path winds its way through Clyne Woods, down the old railway track that decades ago used to go all the way to the end of the Gower Peninsula. The old station platforms still dot the path overgrown with trees. Little bridges go off to the left. The only building along the four miles or so through the woods is an old school pub which sells puncture repair kits – they know their clientele.
At the bottom of the valley is a fishing pond. I switch down a gear and cross over to the bay. From there I can see all the way from the old steelworks to the east, right over to Mumbles Lighthouse to the west. Each day I stop and gaze at the sun’s reflection on the water. Maybe it’s the exercise, maybe it’s the descent through the woods, maybe it’s the bright light after the shady path – but as I stand by the bay, the physical world becomes thin and I feel the spiritual realm close by.
I should tell you about my bike: it’s as much a relic from another time as my Smena. It used to belong to my father-in-law, and it’s USP is that it’s completely “unstealable”; no one would want it, anyway. The gears jam like the shutter on my old Lubitel and the chain pops off almost as frequently as the back of my Holga does.
From the bay I cycle into Singleton Park, past some geese that invariably try to attack me, and to my office. Best. Commute. Ever.
What does your commute look like?