It’s January and it’s raining outside. It rained yesterday, and the day before that and the day before that. And it’s easy to use the excuse of ‘bad weather’ to stop us going out on our bikes. I’ll be honest, I’m as guilty as the next man for it. I don’t like getting cold and wet. But there’s a gentleman who lives in my village who doesn’t see it that way. He gets up every morning, rain or shine, and rides his bike the 15 miles or so to work. And then rides it back again at home time. I was having a pint with him over Christmas and I asked him how he manages it, and he told me his philosophy. He said “There’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only the wrong clothes”.
And that struck a cord with me, because he’s absolutely right. Particularly if you live in the UK. Because we really don’t get any properly ‘bad’ weather, do we? When was the last time we had tornado’s ripping cities apart? Hurricanes causing flash floods? More than a couple of inches of snow at a time? I can’t remember.
Anyway that’s besides the point. The point is that you can dress appropriately for 99% of all possible weather conditions. That’s what my mate does every day for his commute into work. And according to him, it’s not even that difficult even in the deepest darkest winter months. The trick to it, he says, is keeping the water out. If you can keep yourself dry, keeping warm is the easy bit.
And I’d be inclined to agree with him. I’ve done a few longish trips in winter time, and worried too much about keeping warm, and not enough about keeping dry. I’ve kitted myself out with heated gloves, layer upon layer of thermal undies. But none of it’s worth a wank when it’s saturated with near-freezing rain water.
No, if you get the outer waterproof layer right, you’ll be laughing. Especially if you’ve got a heated gloves and/or vest. I asked my pal about heated kit and he says he doesn’t bother with it. His bike has heated grips which he’ll turn on if it’s really cold, but as for heated vests and gloves, his half hour (max) journey doesn’t warrant them, apparently. I’ll be honest though, I’m a fan of heated anything.
When I think of the extremes of temperature other people on this planet have to endure, living high in the mountains or up there in the Arctic circle, and the fact that they wrap themselves up well enough to withstand months on end of sub-zero temperatures, I don’t feel like I can complain about a chilly morning ride to the office.
Because as my pal said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, there’s only the wrong clothes. And if you wear the right gear, you can ride your bike in pretty much anything a temperate climate like ours can throw at you. That means you can enjoy your bike in all weathers. And so you should.
So if you miss getting out on your bike, or you’re fed up with being sat in gridlocked traffic for an hour every morning and ever night, remember that the only thing stopping you dragging the bike back out this January is you. It’s certainly not the bad weather, because there’s no such thing.
So instead of playing Angry Birds on your phone this lunch time, or reading someone’s discarded two-day-old newspaper in the office kitchen, why not get online and order yourself some new waterproofs, heated gloves and winter riding jacket. Spoil yourself, you deserve it.