Today is the shortest day of 2016 and in our part of Cumbria we enjoyed just 7¼ hours of daylight. It was a day of two halves: a morning of heavy rain followed by a short afternoon of buoyant blue skies and sunshine. Not bad for the first official day of winter and this Jekyll and Hyde weather pattern is rather typical for our part of the world in winter. The North Atlantic weather fronts that often dominate British weather usually pass through in a matter of hours, so there’s always the chance that part of the day will be ride-friendly.
I’m of the opinion that those who complain the most about British weather are those who either don’t live here or who happen to spend the least amount of time outdoors. Anyone who spends a regular amount of time outdoors – whether through work, play or exercise – soon learns that you rarely get a full day of bad weather. And whatever the weather, if you do venture out you rarely regret it because the exhilaration you get from being in fresh air, surrounded by a landscape of changing colours, sights and sounds always makes the effort worthwhile. That’s before you even consider the health benefits of cycling.
So, whether it’s for a 5-minute blast or a multi-hour leisurely ride, look for the weather window, make the effort and you won’t regret it. Had I not gone out this afternoon I wouldn’t have seen the group of waxwings basking in a hawthorn tree – something I’ve never noticed around here before. And there’s also the comforting knowledge that the days are only getting longer from now on.