It’s a Sunday, in late April, and the sun is streaming through the window from a cloudless sky.
But I’m a cyclist from the north of England and I know better than to trust it.
I pull on a base-layer, bib-shorts, a long sleeved jersey, some knee warmers, a gilet, fingerless gloves, and a pair of warm woolly socks. I sink my fourth cup of coffee, add a helmet and shades, and head out with fingers crossed.
Within three minutes I’m warm.
The townscape is deflecting the wind and the sun is full of heat. I’m considering peeling off layers, until I turn a right angle and feel the force of the wind. It’s carrying the dregs of winter and finding gaps in my clothes.
I pull my zip, and hunch my shoulders, and get slowly cold.
For three hours I’m chilled by the cold, then warmed by the sun, alternately, not daring to remove a layer, and not carrying an extra one. Never in the temperate zone of cycling comfort, but one standard deviation either side of it.
Except for a glorious ten minutes, mid-ride, where the wind and sun find a sweet spot. I’m pedalling, briefly happy, like a lizard recharging on a hot rock.
It hits around thirteen degrees Celsius, at best. In the cycling havens of Spain or France this would be the accepted bare minimum. Here in northern Lancashire, in April, it’s the Holy Grail.
To dress for cycling in these parts is a task that Sisyphus would have given up as a lost cause.
The ‘Goldilocks Zone’ – not too hot, not too cold, but just right – can be elusive. The best you can hope for is a compromise which is more positive than negative.
I’d settle for 51/49 in my favour.
Failing that, I might move to Girona.
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