Don't let them bail
What is it about mountain bikers that make them so infernally flakey? Here’s what to say when your friends try to squirm out of a winter ride.
Sometimes it seems it would be easier to organise a parliament of pigeons than to get a group ride sorted where everyone turns up on time with the right kit… And this is a trend that only gets worse in winter.
“I don’t want my bike to get ruined”
You say: “You should look after it better”
Sure, mud and grit getting in all your bearings can be chronic but it’s easier to prevent than you might think. All you need is a good maintenance routine and to ensure that you give your bike a thorough washing after every ride.
You can help the process by winter-proofing your ride before you begin or some people even go so far as buying a specific bike for winter to protect their pride and joy.
“It’s too cold”
You say: “Harden up”
If you’re too cold then the best way to get warmer is to get your blood pumping and some fresh air in your lungs. Even with a dusting of snow on the ground, a spin up a hill will soon have you red-faced and panting.
Heck, if you really want to get warm, you could try and bag some KOM’s in the process.
“It’s too wet”
You say: “It’s Britain”
Sure, there’s nothing worse than struggling through a trail that’s sludgier than Morecambe Bay, but there are loads of trails to ride in the UK with more than adequate drainage that still allow you to get your speed thrills.
Alternatively why not head down to your local BMX track or even skate-park to teach yourself some new skills.
“I’ve got a cold”
You say: “You won’t get any better lying in bed”
Your cold’s certainly not going to get any better if you’re wallowing in self pity and a pile of snotty tissues – kick-start your lungs into life with a brisk spin in the crisp air.
Sure you’ll probably be coughing up the kitchen sink for the first 20 minutes but after you’ll be feeling fresh as a daisy and ready for the rest of the ride.
“It goes dark too early”
You say: “Sounds great”
You should definitely look at this as a positive not a negative as it offers you ample opportunity to strap on your lights and head out night riding.
Night riding is a proper laugh and it keeps your skills razor sharp. Plus you get all the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing something productive with your evening, not turning into a vegetable in front of the TV.
“I’m out of practice”
You say: “Time to get in to practice”
If you spend all your winter off the bike then you’re guaranteed to be slower than your friends who have put in the hard yards over winter.
It may take you a while to get used to the slippery conditions but soon you’ll be skimming over roots and stones with as much grace as an ice skater.
“I’m hungover from last night”
You say: “You’ll sweat it out”
The run up to Christmas is traditionally known as the party season and while its certainly fine to go out and enjoy yourself, you may find yourself struggling to be motivated for the next day’s ride
Unfortunately there’s no real cure for a rotten hangover but getting out on the bike will at least give you some feel-good endorphins to stop you feeling sorry for yourself. And it means you can earn that bacon sandwich you’re craving so much.
“I think I’m just going to go out on the road bike”
You say: *sigh*