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Mad March Sunshine

Blog Date - 27 March 2012

I’m a very confused boy right now.  There’s lots of things confusing me not least of which is the most clement weather we’re having right now.  I’ve been away this weekend and had a smashing trip to North Wales, camping, and today I’ve been out working on the bike and sitting in the afternoon sun at Rivi.  Officially it’s just turned Spring yet outside it could easily be mid summer.

I expected to go away this weekend still in the last miserable grip of winter.  I thought I’d be riding through wind, rain, cold and possibly even the odd snow flurry.  What I got were clear blue skies, warm conditions and gorgeous vistas all around.  Mind you, the nights were still cold and there were plenty of shivers running through my sleeping bag. 

my blue vango tunnel tent in the sunshine on a campsite
Photographic evidence that there is sunshine in the UK

So is the sunshine here to stay?  Of course not, that would be silly.  The forecast is for returning cloud this weekend and I'm sure that will bring some colder conditions and maybe some rain too.  We'll be heading for the "drip drip drip" of little April showers soon and then the summer rain...followed my the Autumn storms and rain then Winter's cold wet misery...I think I'll just end it all now...

Thing is...it does not rain as much as we think it does in this country.  If you talk to most Brits you'd think we lived in wellington boots and waterproof macs.  You'd think visiting tourists would need snorkels to avoid drowning in the downpour.  Yet here we are at the start of another Spring and already the water companies are threatening us with hose pipe bans and stand pipes.   I ride most of the year round and I don't get wet half as much as I think I do.

I think there's 2 reasons for the perception of perpetual wetness in this country.  It's often wet, but not raining.  The roads are wet for the most part of the winter.  From perhaps November through till March it's a rare thing to see a dry patch of tarmac.  Even if it's not raining the cold nights place frost and damp on the roads.  Any showers wet the roads and the roads stay wet for a very long time as it's not warm enough to dry out.  So even though the rain comes and goes sporadically it always feels wet.

a man wearing a big rain coat looking very cold and wet on the sea front, giving the thumbs up
And this is living proof of rain.  After all I've said, it rained and rained and rained and rained on this day...

The second reason is that when it rains it really is very noticable.  It's not like a gust of wind that comes and goes.  It's wet bike gear, it's soggy boots and socks, it's cold damp clammy gloves.  Just 5 minutes of heavy rain on an hour long journey can ruin the rest of the ride.  The rain comes and goes but you remain wet for the rest of the ride.  That makes it feel like it's rained all the way.  Of course on the return leg of your journey you get dressed into soggy bike gear and ride home on roads that are probably still wet.  5 Minutes heavy rain makes it feel like it's been cold wet and miserable all day long.

I'd like to see the statistics as to how much it really rains in this country.  I'd also like to see the sunshine today, but I'm trapped in an office with tinted windows and a view of a grass verge only.  Grrrrrr!

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