Biking Behaviour (part 19) – The Fair-weather Cyclist

There is one among us who picks and chooses his rides with extreme care. He is cautious, non-committal, and exists in a state of heightened, laser guided meteorological awareness.

On his arms and legs he sports crisp tan-lines, his bike is clean, and he appears to float around in a state of animated vitamin D induced happiness.

He is, in short, a slave to good weather cycling.

Most of us exist in a world of compromise.

If the group is heading out for a ride we join them; we might be secretly annoyed that we’re all off out for a ride in the rain, knowing that tomorrow’s weather forecast is predicting the kind of sun-baked paradise responsible for turning your average Italian cyclist mahogany, but we bite our tongue.

The good of the group is more important than our own selfish need to warm the muscles under clear blue skies.

Isn’t it?

Our fair-weather friend is out, and ready to worship (Image: starshine_diva Flickr CC)
Our fair-weather friend is out, and ready to worship
(Image: starshine_diva Flickr CC)

Our fair-weather friend begs to differ.

He bides his time, hedges his bets, and if the weather doesn’t measure up to his exacting standards he fobs us off with vague explanations of being busy or of working late.

On a good day he’s the life and soul of the group and all outward appearances suggest he’s one of the gang, but his own intake of solar energy far outweighs any human considerations like sociability, camaraderie or simple good manners.

If it’s a warm and cloudless day he’ll buy you a coffee, help fix a puncture, and listen patiently to your rambling anecdotes, feigning interest and laughing in all the right places. If it’s wet and windy, and 5 degrees below the seasonal average, forget it.

I have my own theory that in my local area there exists a clandestine group of weather dependant cyclists who meet up to ride together only on the very best days of weather. They have an unspoken code that any bond which binds them is based solely on the weather conditions of that given day, thus removing any human or social reasons which compel the rest of us to go out and ride together.

It’s all relative, of course.

Our fair-weather friend has a strict internal assessment which takes into account the vagaries of the seasons, and cross references this with the fact that he still wants to get out and clock up enough mileage to make sure that he’s quick, and will look the part in his skimpy summer kit.

He will almost certainly turn his nose up at a ride in June in 12 degrees Celsius, under slate grey skies and with a 50% chance of rain. In November, under these conditions he’ll be the first out the door.

If you find yourself angry and irritated by this behaviour there is probably a very simple explanation.

Could it be that you yourself, man of the people and all-weather rider, are lacking in vitamin D and in need of the psychological boost that only a 3 hour ride under sunny skies can provide?

If you can’t beat ‘em, you’d better join ‘em.

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