Things you always forget about winter

The smell of ice in the air as you leave the house in the morning.

How painful cold feet are. I don’t know why I don’t remember this, but if I have cold feet in the morning, and then the weather warms up, I’ll still find myself wondering what all the fuss was about.

You can judge the air temperature, at least to some extent, by the amount of ice in your water bottle.

Snowflakes really sting when they hit you in the face.

You will spend a lot of time during the day obsessively fantasizing over the ideal winter bike. (Mine’s a fixed Surly Steamroller with big fat knobbly Nokian tyres, since you ask.)

Even if you’ve had a good day on the road, and you feel fine, you will still fall asleep an hour earlier than usual.

Your brake pads will wear out far more rapidly than usual. I replaced mine three times in December. (So much for the Salsa as a winter bike. I’ll be back on the Condor this month.)

You need to budget an extra ten minutes to get dressed in the morning, and you try to avoid going to the toilet during the day, because it takes so long to take off all your layers – and then to zip and button and tuck them all in again once you’ve finished.

That black sludge that coats every part of your bike after riding around in the snow for a couple of days.

Other couriers have all changed shape because of the amount of clothes they’re wearing, and half of them have their faces covered with buffs and balaclavas, making them a lot harder to recognize. So far I have blanked several of my closest friends, and mistaken two women for men.

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