New living room furniture appears
17th December last year, as I recall, was the day the freeze started. And since then, the temperature has rarely crept back up above zero. Which is nice, i’m sure, for heating engineers and plumbers fixing burst pipes, but pretty appalling if your favourite pastime happens to involve riding a road bike on Britain’s roads. It’s a matter of opinion, i’m aware, as to whether an individual rider chooses to risk his or her life by taking to the roads in these conditions, but I make it a personal rule not to. I’ve almost been caught out a couple of times over the winter, but generally, I don’t consider it worth the risk, especially as most of my riding is done in back roads which tend to have high hedges and thus shade the ice from the sun’s thawing rays.
It is, then, a matter of fact that some six weeks after the arctic weather fronts deposited themselves over Britain, I am going beserk due to the total inability to ride. I have managed two rides this year, and it’s February already! Conscious of the post-Christmas weight increase and the temptation to continue the bad eating and drinking habits of the holidays, and desperate to simply enjoy riding in the fresh air, I have been grinding my molars in frustration. Last night, I decided, enough was enough.
My garage houses a small collection of bikes, my tools, work stand, and various junk. The turbo trainer generally lives in there, but even the thought of going out to do an hour on the rollers is too unpalatable when it’s this cold. So it was necessary to take firm action, and that’s what I did.
I can say with a degree of smugness that, as the needle plunged below zero last night, I was doing a smooth and swift 18 miles in the warmth of the living room while I watched a dvd on my laptop. That’s a trick I think really works – the biggest enemy I find myself confronting on the turbo trainer is boredom, and when you’re 12 miles from home on a bracing ride, you can’t exactly just give up and do something else. The imperative is there to finish the ride. But stopping pedalling and simply getting off is an easy cop out on rollers, because, well, you’re not exactly far from home, are you?
So, I’m planning another session tonight, and am actually looking forward to it, although the scenery doesn’t change that much. The brooks saddle is getting its first miles in without actually going anywhere.
Travel in dreams, Eric. Travel in dreams.