Posted in musings

Are winter bike rides a good idea?

English: Lesson 1; don't tie your bike to rail...
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I’ve been feeling guilty of late because although I’ve been out for a couple of walks, I haven’t been out on my bike since, ooh, October, probably.

Last time I rode through the winter months, I ended up with a bronchial cough that persisted for months, so I tend not to go out when it’s properly cold.

But then on these walks, I often see people out riding (older and fatter than me, even), and I think to myself, when the wind dies down…

So I bought this app for my phone, it’s called WeatherHere, and it allows you to see on a map, what the weather is like. I’m particularly interested in the wind speed and direction. So it’s like one of those apps for sailors, or golfers. I wanted one for cycling, so I’d know (a) if the wind was too strong for a ride* and (b) what direction it was blowing in, so I’d know whether to go clockwise or anti- on one of my usual circular routes.

It was my idea, actually, this app. I work with the wife of the developer, and she was saying how her husband wanted to get into iPhone app development and I suggested this. I didn’t have any involvement with how the app looks (frankly, it’s ugly), but the idea of a wind speed arrow on the map works well enough.

Today the app showed the wind was 28kph (which is stronger than I’d like) and coming from NNW, which meant that anti-clockwise was the way to go (putting the wind behind me on the home stretch). But there was blue in the sky and the roads were fairly dry after a stormy week, so I forced myself to go out.

What’s interesting about a first ride after a hiatus is where you ache and why. Obviously, I felt it in my legs, though I managed to get round my shorter route. And my neck ached from the leaning-forward-looking-up position you need to be in. But the worst part was the feet. My shoes and pedals are just not right for me at the moment, and I need to do something about it. I always have a problem with cycling gear being too small for me, and with shoes the problem is always that my feet are wide and I have a very high instep. I don’t wear shoes as a rule, because none fit me properly and I always have to buy ankle boots. What worries me with cycling gear is that everything seems to be made for those skinny, bird-like, cycling types, and not for huge lumps of meat like me.

Anyway, I went for a ride, and now I can feel the beginnings of a cough.

*Anything over 20kph is too much, right?

 

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World famous writer labouring in obscurity. My other blog is a Porsche.

2 thoughts on “Are winter bike rides a good idea?

  1. I’ve literally just come back from a bike ride and was putting the iPod on for a charge when I noticed your post – at the time it was top entry on rashbre central’s bloggerati list.

    My decision from last year was to get waterproof and windproof but to avoid ice. Gloves. Tubular bandana. Decent top-layer. Emergency pull on waterproof leggings in backpack. That was after ‘the accident’ which took me off the bike for a couple of months last January after a slippery mishap.

    Based upon my equivalent creaks though I’m still thinking my target mileage for early 2012 may need downward revision though.

  2. I bought a merino wool top layer and a nice thermal base layer, got some winter gloves and I’ve always had a wind cheater for my ears. I’e got 3/4 length bib shorts, which seemed okay for today.

    Like you, I’ll avoid ice, but I’m also averse to wind and rain because I’m a wimp.

    I note Mark Cavendish went out for five hours on New Year’s Day.

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