In my mind, the clocks going back mark the real onset of winter in the UK, and also results in an annual sea change for the British cyclist. Some will put their bikes away and get out the turbo trainer, whilst others will turn to gym or spin sessions. What a shame it is for these people. Without realising it they’re depriving themselves of one of the purist of all cycling experiences, what I call riding ‘in the bubble’.
In the summer months cycling rewards our efforts with one wonderful vista after another, whether it be locally, or on trips further afield. In winter though, things change, and whilst weekend rides reward us with different versions of the same views we enjoy in the summer, it’s the rides in the dark which I find so appealing. It’s on these rides that we experience the ‘bubble’; the sphere of illumination offered by our lights.
Roads that we think we know well change, corners become tighter, and the tops of climbs’ summits are lost as the view is restricted to the small pool of light ahead. Other sensations take over; our connection with the bike intensifies as feel replaces vision. As we become more comfortable in the bubble, we can begin to relax and enjoy the ride.
The bubble also works amazingly well off road, and when the temperatures drop and the dangers of icy roads appear, our rides move from the tarmac to the trails. Riding singletrack in the bubble is a cycling sensation which is hard to beat.So, if you’ve never ridden through the winter months, get yourselves some lights, and get out there and ride. Once you’ve experienced the ‘bubble’ you won’t look back. Mind you, if you did, it would be dark and you wouldn’t see anything!