I can take a joke, but…

Summer riding
For anyone living in a country with defined seasons, this picture defines ‘summer’ in the UK. I narrowly avoided frostbite

Maybe it’s an age thing, but I have begun treating previously inviolate norms with deep suspicion. Summer being one, my rain radar application another.

While non-brexited Europe enjoys broiling temperatures under blue saturated sunny skies, the remainers are left with grey clag, rumbling thunder, westerly storms, October temperatures, rain swept landscapes and a plunging exchange rate*

The meteorological is split between the Jet Stream dragging cold air and moisture from Britain’s future trading zones**,  while those happily located east and south lament the lack of moisture in their current environs.

Pop over here, we’ve loads to spare. Most of it lying above a saturated water table giving us an early glimpse of winter. I’m really not mentally ready for that -especially after a relentlessly brilliant Spring and early Summer. We had a wobble in June but this only reminded us how fantastic the trails were both before and after.

July tho. Have a word with yourself. Drenching us in thirty degree temperatures under cloudless skies for exactly a week before deciding we’d had far too much of a good thing and fast forwarding a conveyer of low pressure systems delivering four seasons in a single day. Or a single hour.

Stoics that’s us. Not the classical definition*** but accepting warm rain and only a 50/50 chance of benightment are things worth stepping outside for.  Thankfully a needy app was stealing phone real estate to desperately inform me the sun was merely having a little rest before bathing the worthy in late-day golden rays from 8PM.

Which made the rain steepling off metal roofs a tad less irritating, as I wrestled my Californian super-bike off the trailer. Invalidated the warranty right there. A little later, the Ross chapter of the too-stupid-to-stay-inside riding community huddled under Matt’s T5 tailgate debating options. Straight to the pub someone who looked a bit like me said, but no we dragged waterproofs from winter storage and headed out. Stoical indeed.

It’s probably best to draw a veil over the next two hours. Already I see my old friends and barely a word is said before a solemn agreement that ‘we shall never speak of these things again’ slams the discussion shut, and we part to call our individual therapists.

Obviously I was suffering the most having ventured out on the chubby tyres of assisted suicide. 14 PSI and a barely discernible tread pattern do not span the seasons with any kind of efficacy. Superb in the dry, lethal in the wet. Not in the ‘oh that’s a bit lively, best back off a tad‘ you get with proper tyres when faced with a trail of slick mud.

No, what we’re talking – possibly screaming – about here is a vague feeling the bars may be connected to a pair of somethings occasionally in contact with the terrain, before a total communications shutdown leaving the pilot to marvel at the quantum mechanics of travelling sideways and forward at exactly the same same time.

That doesn’t last long. Tyres snap sideways with barely a nod to previous traction and there is pretty much nothing you can do other than hope the tree you’re about to headbutt has rain softened bark. If by some miraculous event you’re still upright and not wearing a branch as a hat, the grip returns for a time period perfectly measured to convince that you’ve got it back. Before it breaks away again.

This is quite tiring after a while. Say 5 minutes. Still the sun’s coming out in no time at all according to the app that knows. What it doesn’t know is that we’re travelling damply with ‘weather event‘ James who transcends any kind of trusted forecasting, instead dragging the biggest clouds in his wake.

We never saw the sun. We did glimpse our future come about October. And I’m trying to blot out the difficult images of my riding companions attempting to locate sufficient dry kit to cross the pub boundary. I’ll save you from how well that went other than to say we’ll probably never be allowed in that particular establishment again.

Unless they need some really shit strippers.

Went out today. Was a bit better but still a million rain storms from dry, fast and dusty. Looked at forecast.  I think stoicism might be over-rated.

*we don’t do politics on the hedgehog. It becomes indistinguishable from a Tourettes therapy session. However may I just be allowed a brief ‘You’ve really not fucking through this through have you?  Thank you.

**fish and Carlsberg. Hard to see how this could go wrong. Okay I’m definitely stopping now.

***”the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint” – for me none out of three isn’t a terrible score.

 

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