A train, image courtesy of Northern Rail.
Yesterday, (Remember the weather yesterday?) I went to Rochdale station to get the 21:52 train back to Manchester. When I arrived I noticed that trains were cancelled in both directions for unspecified reasons. Technical failures happen from time to time, it is just inevitable. Annoyingly, whilst bikes are accommodated on trains, when the time comes to run a “Rail replacement” bus, the company simply contacts a bus or coach company and more often than not bikes are not accommodated. The short ride to the station had left me soaked through and cold as I stood looking at the departures board and the thought of leaving my bike behind was less than ideal. I decided that as I was wet already, I would cycle the 27 km home in the torrential rain. Roadies ride in this kind of weather all the time, so why couldn’t I?
Luckily I had my performance cycle clothing with me:
Including a lightweight & breathable suede jacket, fast-wicking denim jeans and SPD Doctor Marten boots.
And my lightweight, crabon-fibré, aerodynamic racing bicycle (photographed on another day):
I made it home in about 65 minutes, a personal best. I also managed to avoid stopping for 5 minutes to have a drink as I would normally have done, the wind and rain stopped me from getting warm and dehydrated. When I arrived home I had a performance sports drink to replace those lost electrolytes:
Obviously there is nothing at all wrong with sports-cycling, just the perception that cycling is a sport and that you necessarily need all of the associated gear just to get from A-B. This acts as a barrier to the uptake of cycling by non-cyclists. I think attitude and motivation are more important than cycle-specific clothes and sporty bikes. Mudguards help too.