When racing, the pro-cyclists dress like they mean business. But a training ride, especially for the skinny climbers, is not a time to knowingly under-dress.
Legend has it that in days gone by cyclists from warmer climes would train wearing bobble hats, thermal layers, and all manner of added insulation, in the kind of weather that me and my pals here in the north of England would consider an absolute scorcher.
Y’know, about 17 ˚C.
Although I’m not the type to get my dazzlingly white legs out at the first hint of early spring sunshine, I don’t hang about.
Once it’s vaguely shorts weather the legs come out and stay out. That’s me for the year. I’d rather be ever so slightly chilly than mistakenly wrapped up to the nines in 17 degrees of ferocious UK heat.
But around May you always spot those cautious types, layered up like a polar explorer ready to strike out across the icecap rather than their gentle thirty mile loop around the lanes.
Happily preening in the sun, showing off summer kit and trying to ignore the slight headache that the glare from translucent white legs has brought on, you spot them up ahead.
The rippling heat haze around them is your first clue.
As you pass this well-wrapped fellow you patronisingly assume he is an old Luddite, stubbornly unaware of the concept of either smartphone or weather app, and certainly not in possession of a Castelli Gabba.
In fact, so wrongly dressed is he that you half wonder whether he’s even aware that some people get paid to stand in front of a weather map on TV and wave their arms around.
Either that or the long tights, winter jacket, and thermal headband are part of an extreme weight loss plan to shed some winter timber through sweat alone.
Could it be he’s an old pro cyclist for whom old habits die hard? A Spaniard for whom any temperature less than 20 degrees counts as wintery?
He probably internally derides you for your hopeless optimism and lack of weather protection.
In May, in the north of England, there is every chance that the survival situation he’s clearly dressed for will arrive within the hour.
Look at these fools in their shorts he’ll be thinking.
Before you know it, it’s hailing sideways.
I’m a stickler for the 65 degrees rule. Below it, knee warmers. Above it, shorts. Simple.
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I’m a man who likes a rule, but you have clearly never ridden in the north of England…you’d be executing a costume change every twenty minutes 😉
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Ooh, good point. Your weather is quite famous. Or would that be infamous?
Have a care for people like myself who will, for the next month be returning from Dubai to ride in what bristol calls a summer. I will be wearing everything I own, every day.!
Ha ha, sounds like quite a culture shock!
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