Roses on Raindrops

When its raining, or just a bit cold, when it’s simply a crap sunday afternoon and I’m feeling down I think of a few of my favourite things and I still feel bad but it’s better than what I’m supposed to be doing. Why don’t you try it. Here some of mine:

1. Jelly babies – the original and best in sports nutrition and, like bee’s wings and the stuff spiders’ webs are made of, yet to be replicated by modern science.

2. The internet – if it’s raining and you haven’t got a turbo then an hour spent browsing online bike shops or whimsical bike blogs is worth an hour in the saddle any day and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

3. Rubber overshoes – for when you spend so much time at online bikeshops your internet bandwith/credit card limit or partner’s patience runs out and you actually have to go outdoors and ride your bike. Putting my smurf shoes on before I go out is so much second nature over the winter I often turn up at meetings in them and they’re great in bed too if you have to share with someone with cold feet. They will probably bury me in mine, after having been killed by my partner for wearing them in bed.

4. Rapha – as well as producing their winter jersey which is super warm, has two instead of three back pockets so you can fit more stuff in them and avoids you having to wear a rustly sweaty cagoule like some rambler there are hours of entertainment to be had from the anti-Rapha green ink brigade on bike forums and in fact I frequently put on my posh jersey to check out my emails just because it makes the internet angry and I get a faster connection.

5. Sheep – for giving us all that merino stuff you can wear for a fortnight on the bike and it still smells better than most people’s fresh socks do by lunchtime and for giving us the game of ‘am I going to cross the road or am I going to stay on this verge eating grass’ as bike riders approach them down a steep hill.

6. Chris Boardman – for showing it’s alright to shave your legs if you stick the stubble back on your chin but being a straight man on Top Gear is best forgotten about.

7. Lemon Drizzle Cake – because you shouldn’t be carrying enough money on a bike ride to buy cocaine. If you like lemon, you like cake, and you like drizzle then why would you ever order anything else.

8. Jessica Raine in Call the Midwife – for showing how riding a bike should be done, in fact for showing how everything in life should be done; with authority and with a smile.

9. Mountain bikes – I know, I know but when I commuted by bike one of these was the thing to be on if you have to choose where to be on the road according to the traffic and not the state of the tarmac and if you can’t wait until it’s stopped snowing before you go out then fat nobbly tyres, a frame made of left over girders from the Transporter Bridge and hand gesture friendly handlebars are what you need. Like 4×4 cars though, mountain bikes belong in the city centre and are just plain wrong in the countryside, like wearing a stab proof vest in the Co-op or spraying graffiti on the vicar. If you’re heading out of town, get a proper bike.

10. Brown paper packages tied up with string – but only if they have cool bike stuff and free haribo in them otherwise I send them back return to sender with Inflatable Bike Helmet written in large letters on the parcel.

But then what do I know; if I wrote the Sound of Music then Christopher Plummer would have married the rich one, sent his irritating kids off to join the Hitler Youth and quit telling everyone he was in the navy of a landlocked country…



  1. Human Cyclist

    It makes the internet angry and I get a faster connection. Brilliant, love it. I’d add to that list, plan a summer cycling trip. This will also keep you going on a crap any other day. You know. Working week days.

      • northernbike

        I’m doing the ride based the olympic route so out into Surrey for a spell than finish on the Mall. Definitely no traffic I hope as closed roads. I did the marathon a few years ago and that was a great day out so hoping for a similar experience

      • Human Cyclist

        Is that the ridelondon event? I was lucky enough to do that last year. Brilliant. And I hate sportives. Very well organised and finishing on the mall is unbeatable unless you get up early in Paris and head over to a certain avenue.

      • northernbike

        That’s the one – seems to be very oversubscribed so must be lucky to get in. I haven’t ridden the Champs Elysees on a bike but did run down it once at the start of the Paris Marathon – think I just had a big grin on my face all the way down. Good to hear a positive feedback from a local rider of RideLondon

    • northernbike

      the main justification for the proper (pro) cyclists I believe is ease of massage and ease of treating injuries from falls. Second to that is an aesthetic tradition I suspect, and a far third is aerodyamics for which I don’t think it can make much of a difference on the road although swimmers shave their bodies so at the very top level it must make some contribution I suppose

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