There's no denying it. There comes a point in the year where riding becomes difficult.
In much of the Northern Hemisphere, that time is around now.
Daylight dwindles. The number of hours spent in entire or partial darkness increases. The roads are strewn with all manner of debris that make for a slippery surface under-wheel or an increased likelihood of punctures (and in most cases both).
That's not to mention the increased chance of rain, the various treachery it brings with it and the falling temperatures.
It's true that skin is waterproof.
The maxim that there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad kit also holds true. But when the high-pitched wail of your 05:45am alarm pierces through the monotonous sound of unrelenting rain bouncing off the tarmac outside of your bedroom window and you open your eyes to middle-of-the-night-style darkness, even the more hardened and sadistic of riders would be forgiven for thinking twice.
It was this that inspired our latest collective ride. The day before the clocks went back (taking with them another hour of evening daylight), riders from across London met on London Bridge to ride once more on our #DarkSideRide
We didn't ride to go far (c. 100km all in) and we certainly didn't ride to go fast. We rode to remind ourselves of why it is we ride: not just for the roads, the sunrises or the stolen hours. Neither is it solely for the undiscovered corners, picture-perfect sunsets or even for the well-planned (and thoroughly researched) rest stops.
It's for the company and conversations from faces old and new.
As we slide slowly into winter, it won't be the conditions calling us into the saddle and onto the road.
It will be the people.
Thanks to each and every one of the riders that joined us on Saturday's ride. It was a a pleasure to share the roads with you.
Until next time.