I use my bike a lot for commuting but, as the days are so short at the moment and weekends busy, don't manage to get out recreationally as often as I'd like to.
I have a load of time off work this Christmas and, although I have tried to be disciplined, inevitably the festive season comes with overindulgence of one sort or another. And so for a couple of days post-Christmas, I have been promising myself a spin out on my bike. Unfortunately the weather in the UK is pretty foul at the moment with high winds and continual rain pretty much every day.
Yesterday however, necessity got the better of my laziness/weakness and so I put on my cycling gear and went out for a ride.
Yes, it was wet.
Yes, it was windy.
Yes, I had a brilliant time!
I rode with pretty much no plan and certainly without timing myself, just a nice relaxed ride out to de-stress and burn off a few calories. I found that although the weather was rough, it wasn't that bad and at least half of the time, the high winds were behind me pushing me a long. Even when riding into a headwind, I dropped down a gear and pedaled in relaxed acceptance that nothing I was able to do would alter the weather. This philosophical approach worked wonders and, once again, shows how much of a mental game it is we play.
It's not about the speed, the distance or the timer at all. It's just about being out there, enjoying ourselves on whatever kind of bike we chose to ride. Taking time to enjoy our surroundings and, as the poet said "to stand and stare". I even saw quite a few other cyclists riding a variety of machinery. Sure, I got a couple of "What do you hope to achieve riding that thing?" looks from the more "roadie" cyclists but in general I think there was just a mutual admiration for being out on our bikes in such inclement weather.
By coincidence I saw via Kent Peterson and Davey Oil on Twitter this link to Davey's own blog. It pretty much sums up how we should think about cycling during the times when it all seems stacked against us.
To crown it all, when I got back my youngest demanded a few laps of the block together as well. Now that she can ride by herself, it's lovely to be able to just pedal alongside, even for the shortest of rides. And that pink Raleigh single-speed is an awesome little fixed-gear just waiting to happen!
The weather does not look set to improve here and with a dead car, I have no choice but to use my bike for shopping trips and other errands. I'm not in the least bit bothered though, in fact I'm looking forward to the next excuse to get out and pedal.
And if an excuse doesn't present itself, I'll make one up and go out again just for the sake of it.
Life is good even if the weather isn't.