Memory of Heat

Last night was the second night ride I’ve done this year in short sleeves. Last week’s ride was a little chilly, and the emergency silky windproof had to be employed, but last night’s ride – showing the guys from Hope Technology round the Valley was proper warm. The trails were dry, and even dusty in places (just as they were wet and boggy in others…) and we managed a longer ride than is usual at this time of year due to the lack of wheel-sucking bog slowing us down.

Mudguards out - flowers in!

It often happens, at this time of year, that we look on the warming of the seasons (and the going forward of the clocks) as a true herald of spring and, tantalisingly beyond it, summer. What has traditionally happened in past years is that the drying of the trails sneaks up so you’re suddenly presented with buff riding. There’s a frenzy of riding every weekend, all over Easter, that kind of thing and the stage is set for a long, dusty summer of riding.

And then it rains. Lots. It seems that it only takes a couple of weeks of weather for the British to forget that it was ever anything different. After the first big rains of October, it seems impossible that it was short-sleeved evening rides and sunburned limbs time in September. Two weeks of spring dryness does well at driving away the memories of wet, gritty riding that killed brake pads, chains and washing machines.

I know I bang on about it all the time. But in these fickle-weathered isles, we need to seize the good weather while we can. It could be sideways sleet again in a week. And, right now, those trails are just waking up from a winter of sleep (or abuse), sorting themselves out and readying themselves for a summer. If the rains come (again), then at least we’ll have had a few rides where no one’s needed to be hosed down at the end of it and bikes can simply be put back in the shed.

And if we do get a decent summer (oh Lord, it really must be time for one, eh?) then by getting out now, we’ll have a headstart on the season and a hand in ironing those buff trails out.