Last short-sleeve Sunday of the year?

I took advantage of the lovely weather this afternoon to head out on one of my favourite Calderdale loops, starting just behind my house and taking in some of the great packhorse, and natural trails that go over the tops. It wasn’t a day for super-tech, but more a day for sunshine, fluffy clouds and appreciating the views (and the dry trails…)

I did wonder, though, if it’d be the last time I’d get to ride on a weekend in just a short sleeve jersey. Back in February, it would have been an un-heard of thought that you long for once the summer comes: the chance to ride in just shorts and a thin top. Now, that weather is here, and many of us have been trying to make the most of it.

Unfortunately, I see my free weekends from here on in, shrinking in availability. There’s a press launch to go to next weekend, then the Eurobike show. Not long after that is the Interbike behemoth – and Trek is using the fact that lots of journos are traveling out to the US to ‘borrow’ us for a few days beforehand to check out the brand new Top Fuel race bike. Then, it’ll be straight into a week of Interbike and, suddenly, it’s the end of September. Early October sees the traditional season finisher of the Marin Dusk Til Dawn in Thetford, followed the next weekend by the Cycle Show in London. And then the clocks go back and all the leaves will have fallen off the trees… That’s kind of how my autumn goes every year: a crush of events and shows until British Summer Time is no more.

We'll be back to jackets and tights soon enough... But it's not all bad.

Then, however – and fortunately, things start to slow down a little – and with it comes the rain, but also the chance of the traditional Autumn/Winter rides that are perversely just as fun as the skippy summer cloud rides… Silly wet weather endured by likeminded, foolish friends, rewarded with a dark winter beer, or a hot chocolate, piled with marshmallows. Numb hands warmed up round cups of tea at friends’ house, while we all slowly drip water onto the floor. It’s a different world, but one that’s worth looking forward to. So, while I’m pacing the aisles of the assorted September bikes shows, make sure you get in your final fixes of summer dust. Then we can all get the boots and jackets out of the cupboard and start looking forward to the satisfied ruddy glow of winter riding…