This is a great time of year for me. To be riding outdoors again after three and a half months confined to the trainer in the basement is like breathing once again. I’m really not being overly dramatic. You try it.
Last week was a great week by commuting standards. I had to go to the campus three days, and all three were dry. Not that I’m opposed to getting out there in a light shower (the Paddywagon is equipped with the necessary rear wheel guard to maintain an almost dry posterior), but it is still infinitely preferable to be riding on dry pavement. Just got to stay alert and avoid the multitude of car-sized pot holes as well as the large patches of road salt that appear in front of you all of a sudden like a shimmering mirage. Oh, and I can’t forget the millions (no, not an exaggeration) of pebbles scattered along the curb, pushed there by the tens of thousands of tyres that shoot them out of the centre of the road to their final resting place in the 12 inches of really dirty tarmac next to the curb.
This is, in fact, a very tricky part of the road at this time of year. The street sweepers have not been released from their winter garage yet and so all the debris from the months of salt and grit deposits have collected along the side of the road. You don’t want to hit a thick patch because that could twist your front wheel. You also have to play the ‘magpie’ and watch for shiny objects on the ten feet of pavement directly in front of you. It’s quite remarkable how even the smallest chip of glass will flash at you for one millisecond, which is usually enough time of you to safely guide your front wheel clear of it. What’s harder to spot are the small thin slivers of metal that seem to live on the roadside. How they get there, or where they come from are a mystery to me, but if you’re riding a damp wheel then they stick just long enough to work their way through the rubber and kevlar and into the tender tube within. Well, that’s what happened to me last Friday, isn’t it?
No matter. It’s just bloody great to be outdoors again. Tomorrow? Well, I have a century planned with Paul, Andy and Hugo. Stay tuned.