They say you learn something new every day. Well, I don’t. I learn something old every day. Something I’ve already learned, often more than once, but forgotten, and now have to learn all over again.
Here are a few of this week’s valuable lessons, all of which are things I really should know by now.
‘Wearing as little as possible’ is not an acceptable summer waterproofing solution. Mind you, wearing the useless Montane jacket, that lets in all the rain and then keeps it in, so that you get a waterfall out of each sleeve whenever you straighten your arms isn’t all that great either. And it’s still way too warm for the Swrve Milwaukee, so you’ll end up fighting rain with sweat. Just face it. You’re going to be drenched whatever you wear. But if you wear as little as possible, you’ll end up riding home late at night, with your teeth chattering, barely able to keep the bike straight because you’re shivering so much. So don’t do it in future. Please. Thank you.
Your Abus lock always gets sticky on rainy days. So carry that mini can of WD40 you own for the express purpose of unsticking it. I mean, really. You even checked the forecast. You should have known this would happen.
A new pair of Assos shorts will breed wardrobe dissatisfaction. By making you realize how old and threadbare and uncomfortable all your other shorts are. Even the two-year-old Assos ones. Was it really worth it?
Don’t put off changing your tyres for ‘one more day’, especially if you’ve actually bought the new tyres already and they’re sitting in the corner of your room. Even if you get in really late, shivering and teeth-chattering because you’ve been wearing as little as possible and riding around in the rain all day. Because the next day it’ll be raining again, and all the little shards of glass in the road will be floating pointy-side-up. And if both tyres are so old that they’re literally full of big gaping holes, then yes, of course you’re going to get punctures. (Interestingly, both tyres wore out at exactly the same time, even though the front one was a Bontrager and the back one an Armadillo. I can’t remember if I put them on at the same time though.) And if you’re stupid enough only to have one spare tube between two holey tyres, then it’s entirely your own fault that, when a big piece of glass rips a hole in your Armadillo at 5.10, when it’s pouring with rain and you have four jobs on board, you rip the valve head off when pumping it up, and have to waste another half an hour running to the nearest Evans to buy new tubes – and a new tyre too, even though you have one at home, because the old one is so knackered that there’s no chance it’ll get you that far. Idiot.
Get a proper spanner. You’re ruining your track nuts.
You need to slow down when turning from Euston Road onto Fitzroy Street. Haven’t you skinned enough elbows there? You really should know better by now.
Shut up about summer being ‘just as hard as winter’. It really isn’t. You never remember, until it happens, just how physically draining it is riding around all day in the cold and the wet, rather than just riding around all day. Bad weather is so exhausting that you start to fall asleep an hour earlier than usual in the evenings. And, while you can get away with cheap and cheerful kit in summer, winter is where everything starts to go wrong, every day. So get ahead now. Stock up on batteries and spare tubes. Replace your chain and your brake pads. Get your winter bike back on the road.
You’ll thank yourself, come December.
Get on with it.