I had a day’s holiday from work today and the weather was smiling on me for once – one of those rare Scottish winter days with clear blue skies, crisp air and really cold. So of course the only thing to do is go out for a ride!
I’m pretty much riding the trike exclusively now as the winter sets in – and I needed it today. The temperature was a few degrees below zero and the road from Stow to Innerleithen was covered in large stretches of ice. There were some comedy moments – trying to ascend Windydoors, I attacked a large ice patch covering the road only to end up sliding backwards down the hill again. I probably should have put the spiky tyres on.
Coming down hills was a challenge too – you need to aim for dry bits of road, jam on the brakes while you can, and then ease off them again to roll over the sheets of ice without turning or braking at all. Interesting and slow progress. All the way round, the crackle of frost under the tyres was a constant reminder to take it easy and not do anything too dumb.
I was out the other day in the pouring rain and apparently my rear derailleur cable had taken in some water. Half way to Innerleithen my gears froze up leaving me with just the front chainrings to use. I did briefly get them back for a few minutes before they froze up again, this time staying that way until nearly Heriot when the temperature started to rise by a few degrees.
Despite the challenging conditions, it was a perfect day for riding and a rare appearance of the sun was not to be missed. Great fun!