Cycling weather frustrations

The weather, we all agree has been terrible. Last January, we had 'New Ice Age 1', and then we went into 'New Ice Age 2' in December. The north of the country copped it more than the south, and although our weather here is now mild – thank goodness – it's wetter, and every so often we get a cold snap with black ice. This all combines to keep me off the bike. I have managed to get out when the weather has permitted me, but even when it does, perhaps I'm not available to ride.

In the old days, I commuted by bike, so all my riding was part of "working". I did a few tours, but mainly my bike was an efficient and cheap transport to work. These days, I'm retired, so I need to find the time to get out. I may be retired but I still have plenty to do, and it's not always possible to ride. I need an excuse to get out, sometimes a reason, but usually an excuse. I have to tear myself away and I need a clear conscience before I can enjoy my passion for the open road.

On Saturday last, the weather was perfect for cycling. Crisp dry air, sunshine, and the promise of a far-off spring. What was I doing? I was out in the car with Hilary doing the Big Shop.

Sunday came, nice quiet day, chores complete, so what about the weather? Rain, wind, cold, awful.

Then Monday. Weather? During the night it had rained a little, then cleared, and we awoke to find seemingly everywhere covered in black ice. The drive was lethal, the patio too, luckily Hilary was ok walking to work, but we heard of cars and vehicles spinning off the roads. They hadn't done any gritting for a few days, and the recent rains had washed any salt away. The black ice remained all day in places, so I never got out on the bike.

Monday night the rain lashed down again, and by Tuesday morning, it was still pouring down with strong gales too. At this point, I dug out my rollers from the shed and set myself up for a good internal ride in the doorway between the living room and the hall. Boring and tedious but at least it keeps my cycling muscles in trim.

By the afternoon, the weather was fine! Great! So off I went, pedalling happily and out of the valley to the west to Callington town and back. It was great to be out, even though it was only eleven miles.

Today (Wednesday) the weather has taken a turn for the worst again. It’s very mild – 10deg – but very wet and decidedly dreary, so my rollers are out again. 10 miles done this morning in a half-hour session, and I'll squeeze in another 5 miles this afternoon. It's surprising how much training value there is with rollers – the heart rate goes up, you have to concentrate, and it feels like going up a constant hill. It's not like really cycling as when you cycle in the real world, you get rests and relaxation when you coast. You cannot coast on rollers or you're off and it's a long way down off them!

10 miles is far enough in one session on my rollers and if I can keep this up, I still won't be happy, but I'll be little more fit and a little less miserable.

9 comments on “Cycling weather frustrations”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Mick F wrote: On Saturday last, the weather was perfect for cycling ... What was I doing? I was out in the car with Hilary doing the Big Shop.

    I try to make a point of cycling every day – 20 mile average. It's a discipline. If you let yourself be dragged off to the supermarket you need more discipline! Why not shop at night? You're retired so you do what you want.

    Weather is an issue. All you can really do is watch the forecast and plan around it. It's been wet here all morning but the afternoon forecast is white cloud at 3.00pm. With any luck I'll get 90 minutes out on the bike before it goes dark.

  2. Mick F wrote:

    Shop at night? Are you mad?
    The evenings are for relaxing with a wine or three, perhaps watching a DVD or iPlayer. We watched both episodes of the Laconia Incident yesterday evening. Great stuff, well produced.

    Actually, I like shopping. Me and Hilary are a good team, Lidl's then the greengrocer then the butcher. We did Asda just before Christmas, and I went to Morrisons the other day for their lovely bread. We stock up the freezer with it!

    Discipline is the difficult thing round here. I long for the days in the past when we lived on a main-ish road. I could push the bike out, hop on and ride. Here, we have a long steep drive, then a tiny narrow muddy lane equally steeply downwards, and only then can you get out onto a decent road.

    Coming back, it's 1in4 for a hundred yards or more, I have tried coming down the lane, but it's very hard work holding on the brakes and dodging the mud and poor surface. I then have to push the bike up the drive as that's about 1in3 in places. Cycling shoes make this difficult. I leave flip flops down at the gate to change into to walk up to the bungalow. It's a bit of a palaver.

    If I rode an MTB, I could just hop on, but I don't, and I don't want to. I'm happy moaning about it! :)

    TTFN, I'm making a stew for tea this evening.
    Mick.

  3. Patrick wrote:

    I watched the Laconia Incident too (in between shopping trips). I agree – very good indeed. The U-boat captain was excellent, both the actor and the real one.

    Looks like I'm stuck for today. Still raining. Mending the hen house roof.

  4. Kern wrote:

    The forecast here calls for an overnight low of minus 21 tomorrow night. Not good cycling weather, though I tip my hat to the few brave souls who are on the roads. The CompuTrainer has been silent since Christmas Day – either we've been at the cottage or I've been travelling. Maybe I'll set it up this evening – motivation, motivation ...

  5. Patrick wrote:

    motivation ... I've joined fitness clubs in the past, taken up running and swimming, and got weights and a big rubber ball here in the house. I can never make these things stick for very long as I find them boring. Real cycling is the only solution as it's a pleasure in itself. Minus 21 is very cold indeed but generally speaking I prefer it cold to wet for cycling. I can just about cope with minus 5 as long as the surface is ok, which it sometimes is in freezing weather. This steady rain is useless.

  6. Mick F wrote:

    Still useless here too. Mild and damp, typical weather here in Sunny Cornwall!

    BTW, I'm still fit and well with no sign of my Usual Winter Malaise. It can only be that the bedroom is dry rather than me having the damp night air in my lungs from the open windows.

    Just come of the rollers – another ten miles logged. Not as boring as a turbo or cycle machine, but still boring a bit. I'd much prefer to be out cycling ......

    Weather tomorrow is forecast to be ok, but yet again, I have things to do. This time rather solemn. I have a funeral to go to. I didn't know Ed very well, but when I was raising money for my Double End2End in aid of the Alzheimers Society, he passed me a rather fat envelope. Bless him, he's lost the battle against his long-standing cancer. I owe him some respect.

    On a lighter note, Saturday is forecast ok too, so I'll be out in the fresh air and get some real miles in!

    Regards to all,
    Mick.

  7. Hilary wrote:

    I try to get out for a couple of hours most days (I always have one cycle free day in the interests of domestic harmony!) but the weather at the moment is definitely not helping. The 5 day forecast is for heavy rain every day except Saturday which says cloudy. I managed a couple of hours this morning in mist, drizzle and strong winds before the heavy rain arrived this afternoon. 2 hours cycling then 40 minutes cleaning my bike! I do have another bike that was intended for riding in bad weather and not being so obsessive over but I've still not got my position right on it and its just not so nice to ride. Roberta is gleaming now but I suppose if I go out tomorrow that will mean another 40 minutes cleaning! Ah well!

  8. Chris wrote:

    After a fortnight of just riding to work on the Ridgeback got out today and and managed about 40 miles on the Kinesis before it started to throw it down. Got home, took off wet gear, dumped it in the bath, cup of tea and sausage sandwich. Then Mrs Bailey wanted a bath and I barely had the strength to lift the kit out it was so sopping wet heavy. 76 miles all together, moving time just under 5 1/2 hours. Head is banging. I did enjoy it, though. Especially the first bit.

  9. Mick F wrote:

    You put me to shame!

    I've been doing ten miles or so all week on the rollers, and today I got out into the real world, but only did 18 miles.

    It's so good to get out, and although I left in dry and 'promising' weather, it hammered it down half way round! I made it home sopping wet.

    Yes, I had a Goretex top, but my tights, socks and shoes were wet and dripping. Helmet and head were dripping too, and the wind pushed the rain into me. At one point, I couldn't see where I was going!

    I long for those distances again. Perhaps getting into my Century Rides once more.

    Regards to all,
    Mick.

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