Sunday, 23 March 2014

When spring takes over

Apparently the timing of my end-of-winter pronouncement last week could not have been better. The weather has turned astonishingly clement as for the last decade of March and brought temperature typical for late April rather than period near spring equinox.

I took a day off on Friday to make the most of almost-summer-like weather. Instead of staring at computer screen in the office, I indulged in some rearrangements and tidying-up in the garden and around the house and vacuum-cleaned the car after winter. The temperature on Friday afternoon topped +22.4C but failed to beat the temperature record for March in Warsaw, set exactly 40 years earlier, of +23.0C. The coldish wind was taking the gloss of the warmth and unless you moved a lot, T-shirt only was insufficient to keep you comfortable.

Yesterday the next dose of physical exercise was taken in. Swimming pool in the morning, then, after a break for exam study portion, I dragged the bike out of the garage, to get it ready it for the cycling shakedown. Temperature was slightly lower than on Friday, but the wind eased off and sunshine did not cease, hence the weather could rarely be more perfect for taking a bike for a first ride.

I resolved to venture through the nearest forest. After covering some distance up the cycling path running parallel to ul. Puławska, I spotted a huge traffic jam, far worse than what I experience there around 7:00 a.m. on my way to the factory. In early mornings on weekdays the traffic is dense, but not nearly stationary as yesterday in the afternoon. Truth be told, deep down I felt some sort of superiority to miserable folks stuck in their tins, while I, pedalling on my bike, had the advantage of overtaking them almost effortlessly. This year I should finally try out cycling to P&R Ursynów on days when I can dress to work casually and the weather is conducive (no rain and not too warm, nor too humid). I realise my requirements are exorbitant, but the whole sport has to be sweat-proof. If I cycle slowly and it is not too warm, chance of breaking sweat are minimised.

Curious too see what had brought cars to standstill, instead of turning to ul. Jagielska, I carried on straight ahead to behold a police car, a trailer car and motorcycle lying on the road. There was no ambulance in sight, so I thought the motorcyclist had just fallen over. As I found out later at home, the motorbike rider had collided with an Opel Astra and had been taken to hospital with some injuries almost two hours before I turned up at the scene. I must openly admit I have little tolerance for raging motorcyclists. Surely, there are good and bad motorcyclists, just as there are considerate and inconsiderate drivers. Those who ride according to rules usually do not grip my attention, while those speeding, showing off riding on rear wheel only or slaloming between cars in pace dangerous even if drivers peek frequently in mirrors spoil reputation of motorbike users’ community and making them being dubbed “organ donors”.

Having passed the accident spot, I turned right onto ul. 6 Sierpnia. Now a puzzle. What event which had taken place on 6 August (and in what year) is the street named after? The tarmack ends after several hundred metres and you enter the forest. The path being the extension of ul. 6 Sierpnia was quite empty, I came across some walkers, runners and other cyclists, but the perpendicular path, formally ul. Moczydłowska, running from Kabaty to ul. Jagielska, was chock full of people.

I marked my presence in this place for the first time, so I was absolutely unaware I would run across such farm around the northern end of the forest. Judging by photo only, I would safely bet it could have been taken somewhere beyond Suwałki, as it resembles farmlands I saw in those areas. In fact, the dilapidated, but not derelict farm lies less than a mile away from one of the poshest districts of Warsaw, Kabaty and had it not been a part of forest nature reservoir (which entails stringent restrictions in development = probably no chance of getting a planning permission + a gate preventing vehicles from reaching the property) would have been worth millions.

As the forest ends, you come across a technical track that runs from the Radom rail line to the maintenance depot of the Warsaw underground. Railcars rarely can be witnessed here, but this is where most avid spotters could spot new underground trams being shunted towards the depot. Yesterday, the track fulfilled a role of a leisure route.

Before turning around to set off home, I cycle around the western end of Kabaty. Development in this area is dominated by detached and terraced houses, blocks of houses prevail in the distance, closer to the underground line. The residential area is a wonderful place to live. It combines rural character of vicinity of the forest and proximity of infrastructure (underground station and hypermarket less than a mile away from there). All the virtues of living here are reflected in property prices which are likely to resist a conceivable overall downward trend in Warsaw (it is notable when property prices decline, the biggest adjustment affect worse locations, while those better tend to hold strong). Upon looking at property advertisements, I estimated I am some one and a half million PLN short of moving here, assuming the cheaper option, i.e. buying a plot of land, dividing it in two and putting up a semi-detached house, rather than purchasing a house on secondary market. Never hurts to have dreams, even if for the time being they are totally out of reach.

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