Yesterdays ride was exciting to say the least. I raised my heart rate without pedalling anywhere near as much as I normally have to.
It was a nice bright sunny morning, all looked good for a nice winter bike ride. However as soon as I left Olney I realised all was not as it seemed from my window at home. The roads still had a good covering of frost and as soon as I turned off the more used country roads and onto the back road from Weston Underwood to Ravenstone there was still a good covering of frost. So much so that I could tell from the tracks in the frost that a group of 4 cyclists had preceded me. With great care I carried on through to Stoke Goldington and back onto the Northampton road. I crossed the road to head north and could hear a car approaching so I stepped on the pedals a bit and straight away I almost ‘lost’ my back wheel on the slippery road, despite the fact that there was no frost to be seen. Obviously ‘Black Ice’. I had a momentary vision of coming off in front of the approaching car and him not being able to stop. I think this was the moment that I became aware of the actual dangers and great care ensued from this point.
Another mile up the road I was confronted by a whole lot of flashing blue lights, police cars, ambulance and fire engine. They were attending a car that gone off the road and rolled over into a field, obviously having skidded off on the bend. The road was really bad there as I even slid down on just the camber of the road in one place. I knew straight away I wasnt going to complete my originally planned route again.
I rode on for a while and turned off into Salcey Forest, the roads being a little better there from the shelter of the trees I guess? Once through there the roads were bad again. At one point a kindly motorist wound down his window as he passed me to yell out a warning that the road was bad ahead. I thanked him but I had already guessed it would be, knowing the road. Despite all this there were quite a few other cyclists about, but all taking it very carefully. From time to time I caught sight again of the phantom four cyclists tracks on the road. In amongst the other cyclists I encountered I did eventually see a group of 4 cyclists together by the way, they were coming in the opposite direction to me but it could have been them as they may have, at some point come round a loop the other way.
Anyway, with great trepidation I worked my way back towards home. At one point I was actually riding on ice as snow melt was was running out of a field and down a hill and it had frozen so great care was called for once again. As in all the other situations I had come across I was also aware that motorists may or may not be taking the same amount of care. Also to be taken into consideration was the sun being low in the sky again making it hard to see ahead at times. At one time I was getting a violent strobe effect as the sun was behind a hedge to my left and the bare branches of the hedgerow caused a flashing light situation.
However I lived to tell this tale. I later compared my January mileage to that of last years and I see that I was having similar problems and only managing a similar mileage to this year. So I will just keep riding when I can and all will come good in the end I hope.