Cabin Fever

It’s that time of the year when I have to remind myself that we chose to move to a beautiful but not particularly thickly populated part of the world, and that for 90% of the year that means we get to enjoy our beautiful and beautifully empty rural roads. In particular, we chose a house fairly well off the beaten track, five miles from the nearest shop, eight miles from the nearest town and we reap the full benefit of that in terms of peace and quiet (broken only by the odd fighter-jet skirmish and random sheep invasions), dark and sparkly night skies, hot and cold running red squirrels, views and all the other joys of rural life. In return, we have to remember that nobody’s going to actually grit, let alone plough, every tiny little single-track road, just because some people were foolish enough to live along them.

Which is why, during the other 10% (or so) of the year, I just have to grin and bear the fact that the only reasonable way of getting around at the moment is by car. Never mind cycling – we took a walk down to check the level of the ford (about 2 inches, not frozen yet) and the road alternated between solid ice, crunchy snow on top of ice, black ice, running water, ice on top of snow and the odd stretch of dry clear tarmac: even on two feet, it was pretty dicey. Actually, even getting out of our front door is pretty dicey, although we have bought some grit and treated enough of the yard that we can get to our various sheds, and the car, without risking a broken neck. It’s frustrating when I’m used to being able to get myself most places by bike, or on foot. Nor can I get out on the bike to clear my head or, more importantly, work off the extra couple of slices of buttered toast that seemed like a sensible accompaniment to coffee. Instead, either I arrange a lift somewhere or I just don’t go at all. Nor can I work off the energy in the garden because half the beds are iced over with frozen snow and besides there’s nothing useful to be done.

Thanks to encouragement here and elsewhere, plans are afoot for a set of winter wheels with studded tyres (I couldn’t quite persuade myself I needed a whole winter bike …). Until then, I’ll just have to remember that it won’t actually kill me not to cycle for a week or two, strange as that might seem. I might be a little grumpy but it’s better than being in traction. And we’ll be off to sunnier, if not exactly warmer, climes for Christmas fairly soon so I should be back and pedalling before I go too far insane. Well, any insaner than I already was…


13 Responses to Cabin Fever

  1. Cabin fever, is much like being stir crazy. That’s the way I’m feeling, but the weather is still very mild compared to what you’re experiencing, yet I’m still off the bike, wimping out because of the few icy patches around. Just won’t risk it, next winter maybe, I’ll give some studded tyres a whirl. For now though, I remain frustrated. I hope we don’t get a big long freeze, have a word with the weather gods for us.

  2. disgruntled says:

    believe me, if I thought I had any influence with them I would!

  3. Commuterjohn says:

    Well, If you have any doubt about being out on the bike then the best place for it is in the shed.
    I do have a winter bike with its studded tyres and expect it will be out on the road in the near future, special care should be taken with studded tyres though, they give a false sense of security and when you get off the bike you then land on your a##e!
    boots with good grip or with snow grips attached make a perfect duo!

  4. Andy in Germany says:

    This morning I went riding off to catch the bus riding a bit hard because I was late, and realised halfway as I left the village (ie: too late to go back) that the damp roads were in fact icy. Lateness and ice are not a good combination…

  5. disgruntled says:

    @john – yes that would be my worry. I expect I’ll still ride pretty cautiously though
    @Andy – eek! I hope you made it safely (and caught the bus)

  6. In icy conditions you can’t beat a tricycle, especially a low recumbent one. One winter I was late for work because the morning commute was so much fun on my Windcheetah I went home and did it again! While the cars are crawling forward I could do normal speeds, only having to remember that applying the front brakes didn’t do much more than convert the trike into a sledge (still steerable, but slow to stop).

  7. Charles says:

    two weeks to Australia…..sorry to sound smug but this will be the longest holiday I have taken in 29 years. 3 and a half weeks. This has nothing to do with cycling or Scotland, or walking, or fly fishing or even fly tying, its just that I think I should tell people in a friendly and supportive blog. Teehee.

    London is actually quite chilly; do not worry gritters are reserved for politicians’ streets, the rest of us just slip and slide.

    • Yes, I believe your last paragraph, the so called great and good, the glitterati, the knobs…….. People, who basically don’t live in the real world like the rest of us, despite their claims to be “just an ordinary guy”. Hogwash! Have a great time in Australia you Dingo!

  8. disgruntled says:

    Congratulations on your escape Charles! I know the feeling. I don’t really like travelling much but I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks out of this weather…

  9. […] Cabin Fever ( […]

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