So, the clocks have gone forward and the days are getting longer and warmer. But here's 5 reasons why we'll miss riding in the cold, dark depths of a UK winter...
1. No more being smug
Meeting mates in a lay-by in pitch darkness means you're either party to a local dogging group or you're out riding your mountain bike in the depths of winter. Being (fool)hardy enough to brave freezing temperatures, driving rain and ice in order to go riding provides an immense amount of smug satisfaction. And that smugness continues the next day when your work colleagues ask you what you did last night while they stayed indoors watching crap TV.
2. Local trails become slower
Now that it's still daylight when we ride, local trails have gone back to being all too familiar and feel much slower than when riding them in the dark. That hyper-speed, gnarly downhill trail which you've ridden all winter while it was cloaked in darkness now just looks like the gently sloping family trail it really is. And the massive tabletop you've been clearing with a degree of style all winter has now become a small hump which could be cleared by a six year old on a Halfords special.
3. The end of empty trails
As the weather becomes friendlier, there will inevitably be more riders on the trails jostling for position. Those trails you've been regarding as your own 'secret singletrack nirvana' will become more like the A1 on a bank holiday Monday. And forget trying out that small gap jump without the risk of failing in front of those fearless 12 year old kids.
4. Riding becomes more dangerous
Riding in daylight now means that in order to push yourself and your riding, you've got to take more risks to get the same buzz. Riding at 20mph downhill just doesn't seem fast enough anymore, so you keep off the brakes and charge downhill or into corners with increased speed and aggression until something gives and you get a painful reminder that you're not actually Steve Peat.
5. Say goodbye to resting under a star-filled night sky
If you want to take your celebratory end-of-hill-climb breather under a deep black, star-filled sky, with borders of neon blue and burnt orange, you'll have to stay out really, really late. A lateness which is way past any sane person's bedtime and is definitely only possible for those who don't have to be up and functioning the next morning. Like students or the unemployed.
Tom Redfern, Apr 08