When will these storms end? One of the first questions Matt and I asked each other when we got to the cafe in Westerham this morning.
Looking back we have missed three rides this month due to the weather. Maybe it's average for this time of year, but it feels worse. Waking up to heavy rain and strong wind is not great on any day, but when it's the weekend; it's just not fair.
Yesterday was terrible, a lie-in was always going to be the best option. During the day it alternated between sunny and hailstones. A few times I contemplated going for a ride, but was glad I didn't when I was reminded we hadn't seen the back of storm Jorge.
I have lost count of how many we've had and their names. I hope Jorge is the last for a while.
It's not the rain that really puts me off, it's the cold and high winds. I have yet to find clothing that will keep me dry and warm at this time of the year. The biggest problem though is the wind. Close passes from motorists are so common, I don't feel safe with so little margin for error. It's bad enough on a normal day, sometimes I just want to give cycling a miss all-together. My MP, the media and police don't seem to prioritise road safety and cycling. I have contacted them, after an initial period of interest; total silence.
Back to today, it was a good ride. The "long way" to Westerham. We use the "long way" to avoid the B269 when we go to the bus stop. It adds a bit of distance, and some hills bit it's safer. The B269 is a fast road, and on a windy morning the risk of being blown off course into a close passing car or van is too great. This is another indication of how bad it's got; I choose routes by perceived safety, rather than distance. The longer rides I have planned for this year require the same considerations. I use google street view to gauge the type of road, and find alternatives if they look dangerous.
Anyway; Westerham: we arrived too early, despite the extra miles, for our normal cafe. So it was to an Italian cafe a short distance away. Tea, croissants and a hazelnut paste filled crusty morsel was well received. The talk was of cycle clubs, I mentioned that I had thought about joining one, but it was maybe too formal and regimented for me.
We discussed our "club", and why we're the only members. I asked what would we had to offer members; other than our repartee, and mugs of tea. When we couldn't think of anything else, the idea was shelved. A bigger group would take more organisation, and require someone to be the responsible adult. Neither of us wanted that role.
Fingers crossed for a period of stable weather, so we don't miss any more rides.