I was riding with a friend recently through the kind of winter conditions that cause us to either cower in submission or steel the brow and pedal hard.
Recent flood-water had been topped up with overnight rain, and we were faced with not so much puddles as obstacles to be negotiated (if it has waves and currents, can it still be classed as a puddle?) The fact is, once you’ve ridden through one ankle-deep puddle it’s amazing what else you’ll ride through.
Naturally, I was riding my trusty aluminium winter steed – a Pinarello Angliru, from the days before Pinarello meant Team Sky.
As the winter sludge flung itself into the moving parts of my bike, I thought briefly about my carbon framed pride and joy safely housed in the garage away from the elements. It avoids this weather beating every time I wheel out the winter workhorse.
Then a small dog rushed out into my front wheel and sent me chest first into the tarmac.
I crawled to my feet and checked my kit and bike, and the unfortunate dog owner apologised furiously – “no harm done”, I said calmly, whilst thinking much darker thoughts. But we all moved on. As I brushed the gravel and grime from my kit and inspected my bike once more I muttered to my mate, “never mind about the bike, might only get one more winter out of it anyway, at best”.
And that was that. I’d openly considered the life-span of my winter bike.
Perhaps it was the shock of the fall that had jolted a so far un-said thought from my simple cyclist’s brain? Maybe it was a defence mechanism to cushion the psychological blow should I find, ten miles down the road, some damage after all? Could it be that even as I was falling, in mid-air between bike and road, I was mentally weighing up a Ribble Winter Trainer versus a steady alloy Giant or Trek?
Maybe the dog owner felt the same, and muttered to her walking partner: “never mind about the dog, we’ll probably only get a few more walks out of him at best.”
After all, my front wheel had given him quite a whack.
Maybe I just quite fancy a new bike and any excuse will do.