The unusually chill February seems to have brought with it an old adversary of mine. Not only have we black ice, sleet, slush, snow and hedge clippings along the sweeping rural back roads but most recently acres of iced dung!
Now, whilst temperatures in negative figures keep this slimy garden nutrient from attaching itself to chainstays, tyres and worse still clothing, it remains a very serious hazard.
Given the freezing conditions, I have granted the road bikes (Including the fixer) some well-earned annual leave, taking to my mile munching, load lugging, trailer tugging Univega MTB based rough stuff tourer- 1.5 semi knobblies making for a more planted feel whilst allowing me to enjoy a short cut home through the fields should fancy take me.
Returning from an early morning blast, I entered a long, sweeping descent, the big wide drops allowing me unparalleled control as I carved into the corner. Being a little crisp under tyre, I was reticent to push things beyond twenty and was in the throws of adjusting my positioning when the tyres slid across a long patch of frozen colon smoothie.
Panic set in momentarily as I battled for control. Narrowly escaping the verge by a whisper, I contemplated a change of tights before expressing my gratitude at the sight of a gentle incline. I’d had enough farmyard-ing for one ride and was pleased to find equine deposits confined to the fields on the last few miles home.
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)