Our Five Favourite Things About Summer Riding
The undisputed highlight of the cycling calendar is the summer, and – as the old joke goes – it’s always the best week of the year! However long or short the summer may be, cyclists have a lot to look forward to. In fact, we spend all the other seasons preparing ourselves for it.
1. The kit
There is nothing quite like getting up in the morning and being able to pull on a pair of bib shorts and your favourite aero short sleeve jersey. The hours spent layering on high-vis black winter gear every morning only to get a thorough soaking for three hours gets very tedious, so for the British cyclist, the short sleeve jersey and knees nearly always come out a little too early. But once the opportunity arises to bask in sunlight and work on those tan lines, the world becomes a better place.
2. Summer bike
Those of us lucky enough to have a workhorse for the winter and a stallion for the summer rejoice when the roads and trails are dry. Without the luxury of a team of mechanics to look after the bike, the effort of cleaning and maintaining your favourite carbon racing snake throughout the year is a lot to ask. A lot of corrosive gunk comes off the roads in winter and will attack carbon, so you would have to clean thoroughly after every single ride to prevent the bike from dissolving. Frankly, nobody has that much time. Reserving your pride and joy for sunny days makes summer rides all the more enjoyable.
Even in sunny weather, the same local roads and trails can get a little boring. Summer is the perfect time to pack up your bike and favourite kit, and fly to sunnier climes. Targeting the monumental climbs of the Pyrenees and the Alps, seen in the Tour de France, are the amateur’s favourite. A real test for bike, body and mind, proper alpine climbing makes the perfect cycling holiday, and guarantees gains in your performance. The training required provides a perfect reason to keep riding through the winter too.
4. Longer days
The commute to work in the morning is infinitely easier, faster, and more enjoyable when the sun is shining. More hours of daylight bring the joyous chance for leisurely evening rides with friends or even lung-busting chain gangs if you are that way inclined.
5. Professional racing
If you surround yourself with other cyclists, you are likely to have been involved in a fantasy cycling league at least once so far this season. There are almost (certainly) too many races to keep track of, and there’s definitely more than enough to obsess over. Your non-cycling friends will wonder at how you can get so immersed in a bunch of half-naked emaciated men riding from A to B. But any seasoned cycling supporter will feel their heart racing during the best of mountain stages. The best thing about pro cycling is its accessibility. Unlike nearly every other sport, cycling is free and easy to watch. Just turn up on the side of the road and watch the peloton fly by. It may not last long but the open-invite party that is sure to be taking place on the roadside is not one to miss.
SUMMER READY >
There are many more things that we could include here, like the food, fitness, etc. Cruising through country lanes in the summer is the reason many of us keep riding, the image of bronze knees and t-shirt tan etched into our eyelids. Enjoy it while it lasts – or when it begins!
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