Start How You Mean to Go On!
I've always felt that what you do on New Year's Day somehow sets the pattern for the rest of the year. A bike ride is therefore compulsory but a weather forecast for severe gales and heavy rain from 9.00 am was hardly encouraging. An early start was my only option, and so, while normal people were sleeping off the previous night's excesses, I headed off while it was still dark. A ferocious gust just as I opened the gate almost sent me scurrying back in, but I persisted, choosing the most sheltered roads I could find.
My usual route along the south coast was clearly out of the question but main roads that I would normally avoid were empty as I headed north east for Bembridge. I was rather enjoying myself. It wasn't long before it began to rain heavily but I had expected that and wrapped in Goretex from head to foot it was no problem. I'd managed to avoid the worst of the wind but had no option but to head due south into the teeth of it for the last 3 miles. I was feeling thoroughly intrepid and virtuous as I began to climb the last hill before home. A mug of tea and endless cake was only a few minutes away when my front wheel began to squirm about on the road. A puncture! Close to home in the pouring rain, on a narrow road with nowhere to pull in to fix it, even if I had the heart to do so. There was only one option – walk. I didn't really mind walking uphill into the teeth of the wind but it was awfully galling to have to walk down the other side! If this has set the pattern for 2014 its going to be a long hard year!