It’s early Saturday evening, it’s quite warm and the sun is still shining; just the conditions to tempt me to take a bike out for a short spin and get the lie of the unfamiliar surroundings. Getting the bike in and out of my apartment is no mean feat; with carpets and white walls to consider, as well as the veneered doors which probably wouldn’t take kindly to the attentions of a rogue pedal or handlebar. How I will achieve this in less favourable weather remains a challenge. Perhaps I shall become a fair weather cyclist. Anyway I digress. I was vaguely aware of a track leading down to the Wear from the heights of Gilesgate, having fallen victim to a sat-nav that wanted me to drive over a footbridge some years back, so pedaled off in that direction. I not sure what the cycling equivalent of a stroll is, but that summed up my riding style. I didn’t want to miss anything through riding fast and hard (or so I told myself). After an initial false start that took me in the wrong direction I soon found what I was looking for; a riverside trail that would take me right into the heart of the city and just as importantly some new views of old favourites. Initially I was disappointed at the number of telephone lines in shot, but once the sun caught them they took on the appearance of gossamer, trailed by some giant spider with a sense of aesthetic. A little further on and I found another piece of history, and one that I didn’t even know existed. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere (though there was once a manor house here) I found a 17th Century formal garden, totally deserted but floodlit by the evening sun. What a gem; this is Old Durham Gardens. Shortly afterwards I reached the river and the rowing club. I could go no further as the heavy rainfall that has characterized most of the last 12 months has washed out some of the route. No such problem for the oarsmen. I couldn’t decide what I liked about the scene, so initially included the trees and clouds. Then I decided that I lost too much detail by taking this wide approach. Cropping in gave me more attention on the cyclist and his friends in the boat, but even this wasn’t enough. Cropped really tight you get the feel of different characters of the cox and eight, and you can make more of the sun throwing highlights off the water. Crossing the river by footbridge I was fortunate not to encounter any lost motorists coming the other way, and this brought me to Maiden Castle. It wouldn’t be right not to have cricket on such an English evening. Just time to sprint into town before tackling the climbs back to my abode, but there was one more surprise in store; a new (to me) development at the University with windows that were perfectly placed to reflect and emphasise the evening light. Not bad for a first look around.