To say there has been a change in temperature since the last ride would be a wild underestimation, it’s gone from moist and mild to freezing cold. The first proper winter night ride of the year. I layered up to compensate, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, cycling shorts, knee warmers, full length tights, Canterbury “cold” t shirt, merino wool long sleeve turtleneck, soft shell jacket, hat and buff and helmet. Should be enough?* We met at 1930 for an hours ride before rendezvousing with The Puppy, basically we just rode to keep warm, hitting quite a few climbs to keep our temperature up. It was at least -2 degrees and the wind chill was shocking on any bit of downhill, luckily it wasn’t windy though, we picked up the puppy and the decision was made to head to the pub, via Dale hill, this climb is one I always avoid because of bad memories of finding it too hard in the past, but this time we breezed up it, it’s now added back to the list! We got to the pub, went in and amazed the barmaid (it’s amazement isn’t it when the young girl behind the bar asks you if you’re mad?) standing outside quickly became jumping up and down on the spot or jigging from foot to foot just to keep warm, maybe Irish Coffees all-round would have been a better idea! The customers in the pub enjoying the warmth and the quiz must have thought we were practicing for some weird boy band X Factor audition! 2 pints each, bacon fries and chilli nuts down we headed for home desperate to regain some warmth on the big climb out. The roads by now had become quite icy and I felt the rear wheel step out occasionally, thankfully the alcohol made this a Whooping experience rather than an arse clenching one. So the first winter night ride done, we need a few of these kind of nights to freeze the mud enough to enable us to go off road properly though.