Today I had some rare time to myself so I went out for a ride along the beaches despite the wind, the cold and the threat of rain.
I call this regular route the Tour de Poo because between each beach in the East Coast Bays of Auckland there is a sewer pipe that runs along the bottom of the sandstone cliffs. Makes sense from an engineering point of view to keep it at ground level around each headland but it's hardly a scenic asset. To lessen the visual impact most of it has been covered in coloured concrete shaped to look like natural rocks. At least it would look like rock if you were stumbling home from the pub with a skinful. I think most sober folk would realise that rocks don't run in such straight lines and sandstone doesn't have manhole covers.
On these beach rides I normally don't even need to put a foot down. Sand, streams, stairs, rocks and small children can be ridden over with minimal effort on a Pugsley. My recent lack of off-road riding was highlighted today as I managed to fall over executing a turn in soft sand at no more than 1 kph. Luckily the beach was deserted and no one saw me. How embarrassing.
Pugsley Tip #1: Don't turn in a tight radius when you are in the soft stuff
There are sections between some bays where even at low tide you can't get around the coastline at sea level. There is a path up and over the cliffs but shouldering a Pugsley up hundreds of stairs is not an option for this weakling. I prefer to go inland slightly and ride on the roads. I love grunting up steep hills but the winter clothing I was wearing today was just too hot. It was fine on the beach in the wind but I was cooking buy the time I got to the tops of the climbs. I really need some sort of lightweight, windproof jacket instead of the thick polar-fleece I had on today. Another bike related purchase I'll add to the wish-list.
On the return leg the tide had come up very fast and I got a bit wet as the sea was really churning and it was hard to judge when the waves were going to break over the path.
To top it off about ten seconds after I had taken the photo above a rogue wave broke over most of me and all of the Pug. The camera was dry but I got a good soaking and the Pug got a longer shower than usual when we got home.
I procrastinated for an hour before I got out the door today but as usual had a lot of fun riding in the stormy conditions. I think as long as you're warm it can be more enjoyable than in good weather. There are less people around and you don't over-heat. A bit like running in the rain.
Still, summer brings better visibility, girls in bikinis and icecream stops, so I will attempt not to enjoy these winter rides so much in the future ;^)