It’s spring in Canada and that means the flowers are blooming, green leaves are popping from the trees and cyclists across the country are emerging from their winter hibernation. Canadian springs come with their unexpected twists and turns. Despite the change in season, it can often be deceiving to get too comfortable with the warmer weather and increased hours of sunlight. So while we may proclaim the outdoor riding season is well and truly here, there are some spring riding experiences to be wary of.
Unreliable weather forecasts
The evening before your ride you might pull up the weather forecast on your phone. Sunny and 14 C it says! “Excellent,” you think. “I can wear shorts, a vest and arm warmers.” But be warned, spring weather forecasts in Canada can be deceiving so don’t dress for the high, always be prepared for much cooler temperatures. Don’t count out a damper ride than forecast either. It could start hailing or the wind could pick up. Never count on a pleasant spring day just because of the weather forecast.
Layers but always the wrong ones
Dressing for spring can be a challenging exercise. Balancing the layers to ensure you are warm enough at the start of the ride but can peel off the right layers when it warms up is a delicate science. It’s so tricky in fact, that you’ll rarely get it right. When you do, appreciate the moment because this is a rare accomplishment few cyclists accomplish with consistency. With crazy and unpredictable spring weather, your layering expertise will be tested to their limit.
Flower buds and blooming trees can only mean one thing for those who suffer from allergies. With a constantly runny nose and itchy eyes, the struggle is real. Cyclists expose themselves even more to the airborne pollen while out riding for hours often in the countryside or in parks. So while you may be excited to get out on your bike, be prepared for your allergies to flare up.
It’s a wonderful thing to see all your riding friends again and there’s no better way to get reacquainted with everyone you haven’t seen out on a ride for six months than by taking a shower in their snot rockets. Cooler spring temperatures and allergies combine for a delightful combination. Be aware of your riding companion’s snot rockets and make sure you direct yours away from those you hope to keep riding with this year.
Winter takes its toll on your local roads. You may have memorized every bit of uneven pavement on the routes you ride most frequently but in spring, throw all that knowledge out the window. The roads have changed and if you are too comfortable you can bet you’ll hit a bad piece of road at speed resulting in a pinch flat or an unwanted violent jolt.
Aches and pains
With the good weather, you may be inclined to drastically up the number of hours you are spending in the saddle very suddenly. Even if you spent the winter on the trainer, your body might not be used to actually riding. Suddenly upping your mileage can result in various niggles and minor ailments flaring up. Your back and kneck might become sore, your knees or IT bands may be aggravated or your shoulders and arms may feel tight. Worst yet, you may develop saddle sores. Ease into riding this spring to avoid these aches and pains. Remember to stretch and stay cautious of whether you need to make adjustments to your position to become more comfortable.
The weather is nice and you are pumped to hit the local trail network. But hold on a second, the trails aren’t ready for the abuse if they haven’t completely dried out yet. Despite how eager you are, resist the urge to chew up the singletrack that someone spends a lot of time and effort meticulously maintaining. Destroying a nice bit of trail for a couple of hours of early season fun isn’t worth it. Stick to trails that are dry and be courteous so when the next rider comes along, they don’t find it damaged and no fun to ride.
Salt and debris on the road
After winter, there is going to be a ton of debris on the roads. Salt and gravel have been laid down to increase road traction with snow and ice. All the broken glass and rocks that were hidden beneath snow are now on the sides of the roads waiting to embed themselves in your brand new tires. Be cautious to stay clear of this debris because it can easily result in a flat tire.
For the first time in months, you may be feeling hopeful that summer is almost here. That riding outdoors will consistently be possible because of clear skies and sunshine. While we encourage you to embrace this feeling, at the same time, it’s a good idea to temper it because you don’t want to feel too disappointed when the season continues to be frustratingly inconsistent.