2018 has been my first proper Winter in about 10 years. After living in Sydney for all that time I’ve come to realise that Winter in Sydney is not Winter at all. It rarely drops below 5 degrees C... and you may have to wear ¾ length knicks if you go out early, and huddle under a blanket when sitting at the outside tables at your local cafe...but that’s about the worst of it. Plus it only lasts about 6 weeks and then you are back to your glorious sunny, warm, slightly humid days.
Moving to Bright in the Victorian Alps of Australia has shown me what Winter really is. I’m sure if you are from Canada reading this you will be laughing right now - we certainly don’t get any -30degC days around here. However we do get regular frosts and I’ve seen the temp drop to -5C on a couple of occasions and it’s only July. So for a Sydney-sider, this feels like a proper Winter to me.
I’ve started to notice the effects the cold weather is having on my cycling. I’ve lived in cold places before, but those were my pre-cycling days when it was totally acceptable to simply watch telly under the doona while drinking multiple cups of tea when it was chilly. So keeping up my cycling in the cold weather is foreign territory for me.
Here are 20 signs that indicate Winter has taken over my cycling routine:
My alarm goes off at 5am and I huddle under the blankets staring at my weather app thinking who on earth would go out riding when it is -4degC? That’s nuts.
I can’t remember where I put my alarm. It doesn’t seem to go off any more.
I fight with my partner about who gets up first and puts the heater on. Neither of us will budge so we both go back to sleep then regret it at 7am.
I can no longer break or change gears on the bike because I am wearing ski gloves.
I go for a jog instead of riding because I can’t be arsed putting on 50 layers of lycra.
My shoe covers are now permanently attached to my cycling shoes, and my shoes live next to the fire.
I always seem to need the loo as soon as I leave the house for a ride and the thought of undressing makes me suicidal.
I’ve considered buying a she-wee.
I wear everything I own when I go out for a ride then overheat two minutes down the road and need to take it all off and stuff it all in my tiny back pockets.
Delayering and relayering becomes routine. Going up - delayer. Going down - relayer. Repeat.
Bananas are too expensive in Winter so I decide to make chocolate brownies as a replacement ride food.
Then I don't go for the ride as it’s too cold and I stay inside and eat the brownies instead.
It becomes acceptable to simply ride to the coffee shop as it’s better than staying at home and eating all the brownies.
Bunch riding becomes more dangerous with snot stalactites flying out of nostrils and causing punctures.
When I wake up in the morning I am pleasantly surprised that it’s a balmy 3 degrees. I could go out in short sleeves in that weather!
I now understand that black ice isn’t a pre-mixed vodka drink you buy at the pub.
I wonder why I can’t change into the big ring, then realise my Di2 hasn’t been charged since Summer.
I buy an extra large helmet so I can fit my ear muffs under it.
I buy a balaclava. Then wonder if I could moonlight as bank robber in the Summer to pay for all my new winter cycling kit.
I lose all my friends because I have a flexible job that allows me go riding at 1pm. I receive no kudos on strava :-(