I ask myself this question fairly regularly. In my head, I like to think that I’ll go out riding regardless of what the weather is doing. But in reality, I’m checking and double checking the weather before I head out of the door. So, by that definition, I am a fair-weather cyclist.
However, just to throw a spanner in the works, it depends on the type of riding I’m about to embark on. If I’m going on the road bike and it’s less than ideal conditions, i.e. dry, warm and sunny I’m certainly reluctant to walk out of the door. If it’s mountain biking, then I’m always up for a ride. Even if it’s snowing outside, in fact especially if it’s snowing, I’ll head out. I don’t mind if I’m already out and it starts raining; although that can quickly change if it starts to chuck it down.
About this time last year, a friend and I were out on the road bikes, taking part in a Sportive around our local area. We knew it was due to rain that day and had already made the decision that we should attempt the shorter route of 40 miles instead of 80. The ride started off well and we were pleased that we had chosen to do the shorter one as it was already quite cold.
About 10 miles in, it started to lightly rain. We were still fine, as we had expected this. What we didn’t expect was the fact that it was about to get heavier. At the 22 mile mark, we knew we’d be able to stop at a feed station and refuel with flapjack and energy drink. While that was a slight comfort, the biggest challenge for us was that this feed station was about 2 minutes away from my front door. At this point, we were cold, wet and miserable. It certainly took all of our mental strength to carry on and start riding away from home.
18 miles doesn’t seem like far to go, especially on a road bike but the rain never stopped. Our waterproofs were no longer working and all I can remember from the last few miles of the ride was that I couldn’t believe my legs were still spinning. I could feel the water squelching through each turn of the pedal. Soaked, wet through, shivering, I was so glad to see the finish line. Thankfully they’d even put some soup on for us. I didn’t care what flavour it was, I just knew I needed something hot. It was delicious.
I think I can speak for both of us when I say that was one of the toughest rides we’d ever done. Apparently, it’s called character building. However, I was pleased that I completed it. Even if I didn’t stop shivering for a good few hours. Luckily, a nice hot bath was waiting for me when I got home along with my fiancé and her well-practised eye roll. Boys will be boys…
So, going back to the original question, am I a fair weather cyclist? Probably, yes. But there are some occasions where I don’t mind the weather. On a side note. Is anyone else bored of this horribly cold and unpleasant weather? Roll on summer.
Until next time.