I hadn’t planned a ride today until I looked at the date and realised my library books were due back and it seemed a good opportunity to try out the new jacket actually on the bike. Nothing too taxing – an easy sixteen miles round trip with enough errand-running at the other end to make it nice to be a little presentable once off the bike. Perfect. Except that it’s that time of year when every ride is accompanied by the pitter-patter of tiny insects, especially days like today – a greyish, mildish, stillish, dampish sort of a day. The road to Bigtown runs alongside the river and is lined in places with trees and underneath each stretch of them the air was thick with bugs, battering themselves against my jacket, my hands, my glasses and my face. Mostly they’re pretty harmless (although I’ve headbutted the odd bumblebee) but it isn’t pleasant when they’re everywhere. Call me picky, but I prefer my air unadulterated by invertebrates. I’m not about to start wearing a mask – the thought makes me claustrophobic – and it’s all very well attempting to cycle with your mouth shut until you encounter a hill. So in the end I found myself cycling along with my head down and turning it to the side to take a breath as though I’m doing the crawl. You just don’t seem to suck in quite so much fauna that way.
And the jacket? So far it has proved itself very comfortable, and if nothing else, entirely bug proof. I’m not sure how many grams of bugs per square metre per 24hr period it can actually withstand, but I’m guessing that if there’s a rating for jackets designed to withstand a plague of locusts – or even a hailstorm of frogs – it would be up there among the leaders. Time will tell.