I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy my ride down to the papershop this morning. After last night’s gales, the day dawned – although ‘dawn’ is rather too strong a word for it – grey and wet and miserable. When I suggested that fetching the paper today might be a job for the rubber trousers, the other half intimated that it might actually be a job for the padded white van if I really insisted on going out in it, and the woman at the papershop agreed – ‘you never came on your bike in that did you?’. Even though it had actually stopped raining byt the time I stopped procrastinating and set off, it was still blowing a hooley out there and I had expected it to be one of those duty rides, the kind where you grit your teeth and concentrate on the benefits of cycling rather than its joys.
But here’s the thing. I might have been battling headwinds all the way out but I knew that meant a tailwind home, and so it proved. The minute I turned the corner coming back from the shop I was enveloped in a sudden calm as my speed matched the wind and I was sailing before it. Coming up the hills I could even feel it at my back, pressing me on (I was doing something similar for my four-year-old niece at the weekend). Coming down them, there was nothing in my head but ‘wheeeeee!’ and a vague unspoken hope that no car was lurking round the corner because I was flying and that doesn’t do much for the effectiveness of my brakes. Normally I try and aim for some sort of style over speed on the bike but seeing as I had my bad weather cycling gear on (everything-bar-the-apocalypse jacket, wellies, mismatched gloves to accommodated my bandaged finger) the style battle was long since lost and I just gave the bike its head and clung on as best I could and enjoyed the ride. Thank goodness for our empty roads.
So yeah, cycling in winter. It’s grim you know, but we do it for the good of the planet.
*Headwind Out, Tailwind Home, a sort of cycling equivalent of ‘posh’.