I went for a gravel ride with Euan Camlin, Andrew Cullen and Christo Gallagher. We had planned out a route but when we saw that it had snowed over night we decided to scrap our plan, make things up as we go along and the ride worked out even better.
Riding in the snow is a whole new way to experience routes that you have done hundreds of times before. With grip levels at a minimum and the ever present risk of ice you need to have your wits about you. Line choice has to be completely reconsidered and often the best line is off the path most travelled where the snow may be compacted or ice could form. The brain engages and easy sections are rewarding as you can not simply activate cruise control. Even road sections become interesting (if not sometimes terrifying), the tactile crunch under tyres and the glitter of snow thrown from the tyres makes the experience a bit more magical.
Snow certainly slows progress though. Climbing is tougher as the cold saps strength and the lack of grip forces you to ride cautiously. Even having a rest needs to be carefully considered. The cold will quickly bite fingers and toes, moving is the key to maintain warmth. Riding in winter is a real test of rider and bike.
We were lucky. Some fresh overnight snow combined with a bluebird day had us excited to head out of the city. Edinburgh usually shrugs off the snow and opts for some just above freezing rain instead. However it doesn’t take long to escape the soggy city streets and we pedalled into the Pentland’s and soon found ourselves in a winter wonderland.
So tune in for plenty of rowdiness in the snow and let me know in the comments if you liked the video.
If you want to ride this route or any of my other routes yourself, check out my Patreon where you can download the .gpx file with route notes.