real life cycling

The times they are a changin’

There’s one ride each year when everything has changed. It’s a smell in the air and just a hint, that’s all, of warmth in the sun. It’s still winter, but thinking about spring.

Mulling it over.

Entertaining the idea.

A month previous the idea of riding in shorts was a joke. Implausible. Do I even wear shorts in summer? It doesn’t seem practical. Shorts might still be six, eight weeks away, but at least now an attainable goal. Ah, yes, there was that one ride back in August…shorts and short sleeves…

The ride, the one when it changed, came early this year.

Mid-February, dead on.

Rolling along the lanes of Lancashire, the birdsong a little more joyous, the vitamin D coursing through their tiny veins as well as mine. Tractors emerging from fields with a jaunty rumble. The mid-ride café dishing out big portions to mark the occasion. The clientele ahum with spring.

No-one is dressed right, either under or over. The optimists who get their forecast through the window and the realists who consult the phone App(s). The truth, the weather, is in between. And the day of change is more than weather.

It’s the aching readiness of everyone, everywhere, to say yes…today’s feels different doesn’t it?

 It’s a joint effort – by cyclists, non-cyclists, potential cyclists, retired cyclists – to make a crowd-sourced decision on this. Winter is behind us and spring is ahead. The worst is over, the best to come.

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We’re in limbo; this is the change.

There’ll be another cold snap but we’ll frame it differently; not another phase of winter but an anomaly. An outlier. A d’you remember that time it snowed in May? An oddity, like the one last year, and the year before.

For the cyclist, here in north Lancashire, on the day of change, there’s an amateur mistake. A thing to be avoided.

Because the weather, and the wildlife, and the smell in the air tells you to have a proper ride. Often, in these parts, that means the Trough of Bowland. Quiet lanes and big(ish) hills. The go-to terrain. A fifty-mile loop, skirting Yorkshire and flirting with the Pendle Witches, returning happy, legs in tatters.

But today is not the day.

The change hasn’t reached The Trough (trust me…it hasn’t). It’s still winter there. A frosty nip in the air, animals still underground, bulbs and buds still bulbs and buds.

Today you’ve got a choice between two seasons; choose wisely.

In a couple of months’ time 11 degrees C is cold. Right now it’s balmy. A suggestion of shorts. A hint of ice cream.

The Trough comes later.


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5 comments on “The times they are a changin’

  1. Even the Coal Road Challenge on Sunday is tempting the shorts out. Bit different to last year’s ice fest. You coming?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh so very relatable. Was one of the few riders wearing shorts last weekend. Shivering for first hour early morning, comfortable for the remainder of the day. It now becomes a game of dare, the weather teasing you, lulling you into a false sense security until bosh, Snow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: It’s been emotional – road|THEORY

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