Thursday, 19 November 2015

Battling Barney

The forecast was not looking good; Hurricane Barney’s arrival was due to coincide almost perfectly with our regular Tuesday night ride. Gust of 60mph (or should that be 100kph?) were promised, and warnings against travel, and of widespread disruption swept across the twittersphere.

Barney was getting closer on the ride home from work, and it was becoming clear that riding on the road if the wind got any stronger (as per the forecast) would be at best foolhardy, and at worst, damned right dangerous.

Giving up on the evening and heading straight to HQ would have been an easy option to take, but where would the fun have been in that approach? No, instead we chose to change bikes, leave the tarmac behind, and to hit the trails. We were going to tackle Barney head on.

And what a fine decision it was. Over the next 2 hours or so we enjoyed one of those rides that remind you why you cycle. I’ve not laughed so much on a bike for a long time, and we enjoyed moments of pure comedy as Barney gave it his best shot. I’ve never cycled in anything quite like it; at times it was a full sensory overload.

At one point memories of Geraint Thomas at this year’s Ghent-Wevelgem came to the fore, as I took a Barney enforced, and entirely involuntary, left turn off the farm track and into the adjacent field. Scott and Max suffered the same fate and followed me into the field in almost perfect formation. Getting going again was another challenge in itself, but we were soon back with the rest of the group.

The rest of the ride was a real battle against the elements, and it presented some of the toughest conditions I think I’ve ever cycled in. But what a ride it was; just awesome.

As we rolled back into town, auto pilot was engaged and we headed straight for HQ, and the hard earned refreshments it offered. Heads were shaking as we walked through the door, people seemingly bewildered by the fact that we’d been out on our bikes. Somehow this made the beer even more enjoyable than normal.

What an evening, and what a ride. We’d taken on Barney, and whilst perhaps we’d not beaten him, I think we managed to more than hold our own.

Vive la Velo


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