The temperature was hovering around 0 degC yesterday morning at 10am - I was getting the bike out to go for the final "cake run" of 2009 with young Derek. Mindful of the useful information on Troubadour's blog about windchill factors, I had thermal longjohns under my trousers, the heated vest under my jacket and a natty little balaclava under my helmet. Feeling rather like the Michelin man I turned up the heated grips to #2 and set off meet Derek, whose only concession to the weather was to wear 2 tee-shirts under his jacket.
As we rode further west alongside the river Dee the temperature dropped; the scenery was pretty amazing, everything white and frozen and still. A plus point for me was being able to keep up with the R1, in fact it was probably the slowest I've seen the boy ride since he passed his test. In fact the roads weren't as slippery as I'd imagined, although they did get worse the further inland we rode.
A welcome stop at a cafe for a hot soup and chocolate cake (got to keep that calorific intake up in this cold weather) brought the most suprising reaction of the day - from the other patrons of the cafe. No-one could believe we were on bikes in such weather, we were feted, carried around the cafe high on shoulders, pretty women wanted us to have their babies......well obviously I made that last bit up, but we were amazed by the reaction, the weather didn't seem bad enough to treat us like heroes. So we luxuriated in all the attention, then swaggered out of the cafe like a couple of old-time gunslingers with somewhere important to go.
Ah, now it all made sense, the temperature had dropped to -7 degC and there was a nice thick freezing fog spreading up from the river. So we spent a cold miserable hour trying to peer through the murk on the way home while trying to clean the crap off the visors with one hand(why can't they fit screen wipers to a helmet?).
But despite all that, it was a brilliant day out - any time spent on the bike makes me feel good inside; and as I said at the beginning, it was the last "cake run" of the year for me. I've decided to take a little break from reality, well, my reality of constantly working, living alone and feeling suicidal except when on the bike so I'm off next week to....well I don't actually know where; as most of my plans turn to shit I've decided not to make any.
So I'll just wish you all a merry Christmas, hope everyone gets bike-related presents and say "Hasta luego".
A Postcard from Alonzo
7 hours ago