‘What’s that?’ you say, as you spot an odd and unusual occurrence through the gap in your curtains. You throw them back and the light of day pours in, your face shines with joy and hope. It’s blue sky, beautiful, clean blue sky. And what’s that there? It’s the sun! Oh, the sun, how we’ve missed you. The month of February has been a cruel mistress to all those who enjoy the two-wheeled hobby that we call cycling, the wind and rain and grey skies and misery. Even the hardiest of cyclists, having braved and battled through the storms, shed a tear as the first light of spring rises from the horizon, greeting them like a long-lost friend.
Due to this phenomenon you may find yourself lingering on gravel bike collections, finger hovering over the ‘buy now’ button, eyes glazed over with desire and lust, you’re not alone. Ideas are formed with the coming of spring, a sense of pining and adventure grips us. Sitting at work, daydreaming about exploring the curves and camber of the great outdoors. Lunch breaks spent route planning, google maps poured over, squinting at lines on the screen determining whether your 28mm tyres are up to the task or should you bite the bullet and drop £2000 on a new bike? (24-month finance doesn’t even count as buying does it?)
Let’s, for arguments sake, say you went on to purchase your new gravel toy. You come home one day to the unmistakably large box that signifies a new bike. Once opened you gaze upon it in wonder, the shape is alien yet so familiar and the knobbly tyres cause an intake of breath in anticipation, the weekend can’t come quickly enough. You envisage yourself flying down tracks, the flash of greenery invading your peripheral vision, mud clinging to the tread of the aforementioned knobbly tyres. Life is good when you’re out and free.
As you excitedly cram your bike packing bags with spare clothes, gels, tools and tubes you can’t help but feel like a pioneer ready to discover the undiscovered, joining the list of explorers who set out with nothing more than a change of clothes, a route and a pre-determined destination with a booked hotel and a few local restaurants saved on your phone. Your riding clothes are neatly laid out next to your bed, shoes cleaned, and bike primed, feeling like a young child preparing for their very first day at school. Just one more sleep.
Saturday. Eyes open, instantly alert. It’s the day. Alas, a dreaded sound is coming from the window, a window that presented so much joy a mere few days ago has betrayed you. You slowly draw the curtains and feel your heart sink as the full extent of the weather becomes apparent, the rain and wind have seemingly returned with vengeance. You furrow your brows in determination and slowly change your clothes for a more weather appropriate getup, trudge down for breakfast and brace yourself for the worst. What else are you supposed to do? It’s a non-refundable hotel.
To view Hargroves selection of gravel bikes – https://www.99bikes.co.uk/bikes/road-bikes/gravel-bikes
Bags, packs and paniers – https://www.99bikes.co.uk/packs-and-luggage