Day three of three. 18 miles. Half of them in pouring rain.

At last I get to write about my third ride of the weekend: The Wet One.

After the previous day’s town-based weave around Stevenage, I fancied country lanes again, so I started out that way, but when I found myself in Hitchin I thought it might try weaving around there instead. And I did, for a short while. But soon I found myself heading out of Hitchin to the north. And that’s where things started to get a bit interesting. I suspected I might be on the A600, but couldn’t be sure. And I couldn’t remember how far up the A600 I’d have to go before I could turn off to the west. As you can see from the map, I was – and it was about three miles. And all the time I was heading north I was staring towards some ominous looking black clouds.

(Imagine photo of “black clouds to the north” here. I wish I’d taken one.)

I felt the first drops of rain shortly before reaching the turning, where I pulled over and slipped on my shower mac. But this was no shower. By the time I reached Holwell I was soaked. And it didn’t stop. The rain just kept on coming – torrential at times – for the rest of the ride. I discovered a few things that day: I discovered that although riding in the rain is quite exhilarating, it’s also pretty chilly once you’re soaked to the skin; I discovered that my shower mac is most certainly just that; I discovered that my cycling shoes are not waterproof – or at least enough to cope with that kind of downpour; I discovered that my handlebar bag is not waterproof, despite a liberal spray of fabsil a few days before; and I discovered (for the umpteenth time) how inconvenient glasses are in the rain. Maybe all this cycling will get me wearing contacts again.

Well that was Sunday. I should have gone out again today, really. But I didn’t.

I have booked my bike in for a professional service next week. When I told the guy in the shop (Cycledealia in Hitchin) that I was riding London to Paris on an 18-year-old mountain bike (a “cheap bike”, he called it) he said I was a braver man than he was. He also warned me not to be too surprised if it needed some work doing to it. I’ll just have to wait and see.


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