When friends say ‘You’re a keen cyclist!’, I always reply that I’m actually a fair weather cyclist. Until this weekend.
I’ve cycled 28 miles in the most atrocious conditions over the past two days. I have been soaked to the skin. I have been drenched by drivers as they displaced flood water over me and my bike. The biggest surprise? I loved it.
I have to confess that I didn’t wake up on Saturday morning with the aim of becoming a foul weather cyclist. I was hoping to coincide my bike rides with a lull in the rainfall. (And the BBC weather app cruelly claimed there’d be no rain this morning. I wish…) No, the truth is that I’ve been motivated to get out on the bike, whatever the weather. I have the cycling app Strava to thank – or curse – for this. As I blogged on New Year’s Eve, i discovered last Monday that I had to cycle just 37 extra miles to complete 800 miles in 2015. I got a lot of satisfaction seeing confirmation that I’d passed 800 miles.
But I had another challenge – completing 100 miles for the week. A 21 miler on New Year’s Day meant I had just 27 miles to go to mark that achievement. I’ve only done 100 miles in a week once in the past 10 years, and that was the week I did my 2015 cycling century last June. That was all the motivation I needed to set off in weather that would have got Noah worried.
I am now officially a foul weather cyclist. My Gore Bike Wear Element jacket has been superb – it ensured my base layer and jersey remained dry despite the soaking from the car and torrential rain. I didn’t overheat even on my hill climbing. My new Shimano MW7 winter boots didn’t prove quite so water resistant but they’ve been superb in less challenging conditions. I’ve decided I need some waterproof trousers to complete my foul weather gear – as the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing…