Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Lights, Gloves, Action!

Aye, the nights are fair drawing in. The mornings are proving sluggish too. And come to think of it, it’s a bit grey during the day as well. Yup. Welcome to Winter.

The last couple of nights have been very clear - great for Toddler Who Must Be Obeyed’s fascination with the moon and the stars - leading to frosty windscreens and the temptation to crank the central heating up a notch.

This time last year Wife-features and I had our daily routine involving our workplaces, TWMBO’s nursery and a car. Now I’m back to my old routine of bike and train. Suddenly I notice the main difference between winter and summer cycling.

Most of the year (I’d say March to October) I simply leap on my two wheeled steed and push off to where I need to be, maybe with a casual glance at the sky and if rain is threatened I’ve probably got a waterproof jacket in my bag. On particularly fine days I can dress fairly smart and because I don’t wear a helmet and have panniers for my bags I arrive at the office or meetings looking, well, normal.

This time of year is totally different. For example, leaving the office tonight I had to make sure I had collected not just my bag but my gloves, woolly hat, fluorescent jacket and lights. Instead of leaping on the steed I had to fix the lights, zip up the jacket, pull on the hat, pull on the gloves and then strip down at the other end. It doesn’t take any time really unless you’re a foggy brained doofus like me and are forever leaving something behind.

A cycling pal recently experienced a foul mouthed rant from a motorist ticked off that my pal didn’t have lights on his bike. He did - it’s just the batteries had run out. It made me wonder why motorists behave like that. If it was me I’d politely point out the lack of lights assuming the cyclist hadn’t realised. This time last year we would routinely see dozens, literally dozens, of cars going between Inverness and Nairn with defective headlights. I do recall a study carried out which showed how beneficial to wellbeing and stress levels cycling is. Even in the cold and the dark a quick bike ride at either end of the day certainly makes me feel healthy, awake and connected to the world.

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