real life cycling

Two Out of Three

Winter is upon us again. Some love it and see it as a matter of pride to get out on the bike and battle the elements, and some hate it but get out and ride anyway, in an attempt to maintain the badass façade. But there are others who refuse to even consider winter cycling as an acceptable activity. On the 1st November every year these people grease and polish the bike, pack it away in the shed, and refuse to go anywhere near it until March the next year – instead dabbling in warm, cosy, indoor hobbies. 

To drag yourself out for a ride in the depths of winter, particularly after work on a dark winter evening, you need motivation, decent winter kit, a small streak of masochism, and ideally a lack of anything better to do. The two-out-of-three rule should also be applied: If the weather is any two of wet, windy or cold, get your kit on and get yourself out for a ride.

So…wet and windy is fine as long as there isn’t a nip in the air, but wet, windy and cold is a step too far. Wet and cold is riding weather, as long as the wind doesn’t get up…and so on. You get the idea. Of course, any one of the three on it’s own is simply not bad weather.

It's wet, but is it windy and cold too? (Photo: Veronica Aguilar - Flickr)
It’s wet, but is it windy and cold too?
(Photo: Veronica Aguilar – Flickr)

There will be some who ignore the rule in search of a genuine hard-man reputation – they will make a point of inviting everyone out for a ride when the weather conditions are a clear three out of three. Join in this macho parade if you must, but beware that this grasping need to prove your bad weather credentials may be viewed by your cycling companions as a sign of inherent insecurity, and an attempt to cover up deeper inadequacies. It is always acceptable to refuse a ride under three-out-of-three conditions.

The beauty of the two out of three rule is that we all know where we stand. In the winter months it can be all too tempting to fumble around for excuses not to get out and clock up some base mileage (i’m talking about myself here); too much of this and, come spring, you’ll be off the pace and wearing the dunce’s cap (me again!). By using this rule there’s no more need for head scratching and soul searching before bailing out. If you duck a ride you are either well within your rights, or you are inherently lazy and are risking the wrath of your peers; it’s a clear, transparent system.

But where do you draw the lines I hear you ask – there will be those who try to fudge the issue and strike up a debate about what temperature is cold as apposed to merely chilly, and what wind speed constitutes windy rather than breezy? The answer to that is…well, you know the answer to that. Unfortunately there’s no hiding behind air temperatures, wind chill factors, or wind speeds with gusts up to…etc. etc.

You are a cyclist – you know if it’s cold, you know if it’s windy, and we all know if it’s wet. The only thing you need to consider is whether it’s a three out of three kind of night.

If it is, you may be excused.

6 comments on “Two Out of Three

  1. two out of three ain’t bad, as a wise man once said, but he also said something about crying icicles instead of tears which is more like my experience of riding in the winter 😦


    • Oooh, i managed to get so far without a Meatloaf reference! To be fair, crying icicles is about right. It’s the feet with me though, 10 minutes into a ride on a cold day and my feet are just blocks of wood dangling off my ankles.


  2. Handy rule to keep in mind, I like it! 😀


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