What with it being the festive season and not all of us being quite so keen to get out of bed on these freezing mornings and others of us being forced to go to work, the meeting time has shifted to 9. On NYE this meant 6 of us turning up to see out the old year and 3 made it out to see in the new one.
Both rides were the dreaded Barling Loop and both were just what was needed. On NYE we gently ambled round taking the rise out of each other, spinning through the lanes with little traffic to bother us - we rode two abreast moaning about the weather and offering tips on how to keep our feet warm. Cold feet are a perrenial problem, you see, the toes don't do a lot of moving when you are clipped in and by the time you get home there is alomost no sensation left in them. Solutions include thermal socks, overshoes which look like galoshes, clingfilm (honestly) and we even know of one of our number who has heated insoles. I have tried all of the above, except for the heated insoles, to little avail. Instead I now wait ten minutes before taking my shoes off when I get home allowing them to acclimatise to central heating so I don't fall over because of my numb feet.
On NYD the three of us set out for the regulation 25 miles, the weather has settled over the estuary and barely a breeze has meant the cold, damp days continue. There is almost no-one about except for a few who may, or may not be, completing the walk of shame back from some New Year's party. The seafront pretty bleak as we race along, me in the front for a change until I hear that unmistakeable sound of the bloke in second palce clunk into a harder gear - I respond by changing gear too hoping to jump onto his back wheel but I am too late and he is gone. I immediately change down and freewheel in and park up, laughing whilst out of breath. Happy New Year.