I know what you’re thinking, fellow cyclists.
You’re thinking: “If only some random online bloke would produce another list explaining how I’m doing cycling wrong…then I could at least know for sure.”
You’re wearing shorts in October
If you were Spanish, a cyclist, and you moved to the UK, you would wear your bib-shorts no more than five or six times a year. Then you would sell up and move back to Spain, cursing this country and its enigmatic weather.
In Spain, 17 degrees Celsius means long sleeves and knee-warmers, at the very least. In the UK, it’s a reason to unfurl your flimsiest, raciest summer kit, and feel like a pro.
But we have to draw a line somewhere.
I can accept that September in the UK often brings an Indian summer (not that any of us actually know what that’s supposed to mean…I suppose we could Google it, but what the hell, we need to keep at least some mystery in our lives).
But October is autumn. There’s no two ways around it. A whole new season begins.
Brown leaves scatter themselves along our country lanes, the Italians hold a bike race to mark it (Il Lombardia), and we all (unless who have obligations to our sponsors) agree that cycling is over for another year.
And sometimes, if you want, do it in the shed or the garage on a home trainer.
Just don’t make me look at your pasty-white legs again until at least April.
You’ve got your eye on a vintage Raleigh Banana on e-Bay
I understand ‘vintage’. I get the appeal. I’m the same hopeless romantic, looking for depth and meaning in my hobby, just like every other cyclist.
There’s a difference between ‘vintage’ and ‘worthless piece of old crap.’ I am the first to admit that I am not well qualified to spot that difference. So I steer well clear.
I have an Italian racing bike. It’s romantic, but also very practical, in that it works perfectly, is compatible with all the modern components, and is unlikely to fall to pieces any time in the next few years.
It also cost me more than almost every other thing I’ve ever bought, but I try not to dwell on that.
There may be times when you find yourself idling away the hours at work by scrolling through e-Bay. You’ve probably stumbled across ‘vintage’ bikes on there.
This combination of intense boredom, and cheap bikes described as ‘vintage’, is dangerous.
If the bike that your mouse is currently hovering over is a pristine steel Bianchi, in Celeste, of course, that might plausibly once have been brushed past by Fausto Coppi on a visit to the Bianchi factory back in the 1950’s, then consider your options carefully.
If, on the other hand, you are considering shelling out £200 on an original 1980’s Raleigh Banana the put down the mouse, step away from the website, and go for a walk.
On this walk, keep your eyes peeled for skips outside houses.
Check each skip.
Eventually – probably within no more than an hour or two – you will find a ‘vintage’ Raleigh Banana being binned by someone too honest to hawk it on e-Bay for £200.
Knock on their door, offer them it’s current value (£20), everyone’s happy.
Even the guy on e-Bay.
Because even if you won’t pay £200 for it, someone else will.
You’re getting weather alerts from your Garmin
If you’re reading this, you probably have a Garmin.
If you’ve got more money than sense it probably has seven features more than you need, and one of those features will be weather alerts.
Because here’s the thing:
If you are out in the wild, riding your bike epically, and your Garmin flashes up a weather warning, what are you going to do, exactly?
Are you going to turn around, ride the fifty miles back home, select the extra kit demanded by your recent weather alert (windproof, knee-warmers, snorkel?), and do the epic riding all over again with a greater level of preparedness?
You’re going to do what cyclists have always done.
Make the best of whatever kit you did decide to pack (based on the pre-ride weather forecast, of course; we’re not complete rune-reading luddites), and learn your lesson.
If you get wet, you’ve learnt your lesson. If you get cold, you’ve learnt your lesson. If you slowly cook inside your cheapo, boil-in-the-bag waterproof, get some decent kit, and learn that lesson too.
Weather forecasting is a thing to be taken very seriously between bike rides, but not during them. During a bike ride you should be concentrating on pedalling as hard as you can.
And if you need to pedal harder still to raise your core temperature and prevent your lips turning blue, then so be it.
(Vintage bike image: grutensaie.deviantart.com|Other images via pixabay.com)