Winter bike warning.

Weather and that.

The winter bike has blossomed into a spring bike, although the changing of the seasons brings with it no less requirement for mudguards and base layers.

Passing trees in full bloom awakens a nervous suspicion that winter has not finished with us yet, and aims to throw the year off balance with ice and snow when we least suspect it. In this brief hiatus between tumultuous weather systems we should take the chance to reflect on the meteorological innovations of winter.

A winter bike brings with it a perverse satisfaction in poor weather conditions, largely due to the functionality and novelty which enables a ride to be completed with a dry chamois. The rarity of this in turn begets the desire to ride again to ensure that last time wasn’t a trick of the light.

This eventually develops into a more active engagement with the conditions which can only be matched by an obsession with the Assos temperature recommended clothing chart.

This winter however, this idea of engagement with the weather has become more widely implemented. The weather reports are festooned with the triangles, of yellow, amber and red weather warnings. The weather has become exciting. What started with storm chasing in the US has blown across the pond and is influencing our perception like a multi-coloured Gulfstream.

What is the purpose of all these weather warnings and colour codings? The benefits are two fold.

Firstly, we separate ourselves from the weather and therefore abdicate any responsibility for this malevolent force, this leads us to:

Secondly, we can unite behind our fear/love of the weather, to wonder at the force of nature, to be involved like never before. We are united through the new same old weather. It rains, it’s windy, it’s the winter for goodness sake, this is the nature of the season, let’s not sensationalise it.

In days gone by we would look out of the window, see the lashing rain and howling wind, and say, “Looks like it’s getting better, by the time we get to such and such the sun will be out”, or, “We should get out before it gets any worse” we had to remain upbeat in the face of all weather conditions.

These new weather ratings could however, see a sea change in our perceptions of acceptable cycling conditions. Excusing ourselves from riding on the basis of something so minor as WIND, it’s a yellow warning, I don’t want to get a leaf blown into my spokes. So now we look back upon the terrible weather conditions, safe in the knowledge that we acted wisely when we were warned not to go out, we didn’t.

But let me exhort you to ride, look out the window, if it’s pissing down, take the old school approach, add a little more cream to chamois, and fill your water bottle with warm tea. The bike fears no weather triangle, but will face it down with impunity, combined with the natural rebel spirit of the cyclist it can mean only one thing, a red warning of riding this weekend no matter what may blow our way.