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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Leopards and the British Weather

One of the things you have to be prepared for when you're out on your bike is the vagaries of the British weather (I say British, to be honest I'm not an expert on weather elsewhere in the world but you do, apparently, get four seasons in one day here). To which end I purchased some new leg warmers and arm warmers this week.

To the non-cyclist I'm sure leg warmers conjure up some Fame like thick woollen items of clothing that couldn't look anything but hilarious on a man. Those people need to get this image out of their heads and think of them more as lycra extensions for cycling shorts. I'm sure this won't be any less hilarious for some but for cyclists they're useful pieces of kit that mean you can have your legs covered on chilly mornings and roll them down when, or indeed if, the weather warms up.

The warmers I purchased were Leopard Trek team replica's (not to be confused with leopard print), the professional cycling team who Andy Schleck rode for last year. I reasoned that if the gear would fit stick thin climber Schleck then they would be ok for my far from muscular physique. I found, however, that even the small arm warmers were loose on my mighty biceps - a job for Kerri and her sewing machine I think (the alternative being me putting on some upper body muscle which is unlikely to happen any time soon)!

I didn't have to worry too much about the weather warming up this weekend. I tried to time Saturday's ride to miss the worst of the weather but inevitably caught a couple of showers. Overall though I couldn't complain as it was quite mild and I even witnessed a incredibly vivid rainbow whilst riding through Ashworth Valley.

Sunday had the worse of the weather with the morning's constant rain meaning after half an hour the water had already seeped through my supposedly waterproof overshoes and soaked my feet through. By the time we got to our cafe stop the rain had also stopped, only to be replaced by strong winds, of both cross- and head- variety, on the return to Manchester. This made the second half of the ride a bit of a slog but it was good to get some significant mileage under my belt in difficult conditions.

If I didn't have something to train towards it would have been very easy to decide against doing any cycling this weekend. It is certainly less appealing to venture out on the bike when it's wet and windy, especially compared to the previous weekends calm and dry conditions. Once out there, however, it's very rare that you regret it and it's unlikely that I'll learn to control the weather between now and May so any experience is good experience.


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