There's a rumour going around that people ride in the day.

Another weekend gone, another two rides in the bag, so all is good. Both of circa 20 miles, both tours du Headley, both mountain bike specific. Both undertaken well into darkness thanks to being busy during the day Saturday and Sunday. Saturday I was selling t-shirts over at Tadworth, so at least something bike orientated even if not an actual ride. Sunday was just one of those days when 101 things needed doing, mainly yard chores. Did pop into a re-energised C & N for some bits, so again I did manage to sneak bike related chores into daylight hours. Now I'd not figured on my LBS being open, so I'd gone into Halfords for some Jockey wheels. Looking at the rack, none there. Cheerful assistant came over, so I asked him where they were. He looked at the chains, then asked why wasn't I looking in the wheel section as that's where the wheels would be? I pointed out that if he was working in a bike shop, then perhaps he should know what things are in the first instance, and left muttering things about stupid people.

Anyway C & N. Damien was in chatty mode so I ended up being there ages. Explained to him that I'd not been in for six months simply as nothing had broken or worn out on my bike until now. This seemed a well trodden tale as he explained that the trade had noticed this effect too, thanks to the relatively dry summer. More so as all those MTB'ers that had moved over to being roadies did so many miles over the summer that the majority are having a winter break. Trade in other words was quiet. He was in a very friendly mood, giving my children free water bottles and offering to clean my chain, perhaps I may want to try a cyclo-cross bike? The cynic may feel that this was friendly to sell, but I got the impression it was just friendly. It made a really pleasant change to go into a bike shop and feel welcome.

May need to explain why I needed jockey wheels in the first instance eh? Essentially my Shimano SLX transmission has been on the bike for at least three years. Let's say 3,000 miles then as I've a choice of bikes to play with. In other words I need new transmission as it's shagged out but working in a fashion, but it's Christmas so I'll drip feed it in over a month or so. This week the pointy jockey wheels, next week the "indexed" Hope bottom bracket and so on. Luckily at least with the Hope it is just a question of new bearings, so relatively cheap. Only issue being my inability to walk into a bike shop and only buy what I need. 

So my rides. Lights charged both days, out at 7pm for two, two hour spins out. There are no cafes to stop at, and being solo there's no chat or faffage time. So two hours means twenty miles, all off-road. And what lovely evenings to be out. Warm at 8 degrees C, not even an hint of moisture in the air. No horses, no walkers, and only a few lose dogs. Lose dogs? Yuuup, some nice person over near Pebble Hill lets his dogs out to roam the trails at night. I came down the trail, drifted around a corner and there's mad barking at me with four glowing eyes leaping out of the undergrowth. Some choice words, and full blast of my lights into their eyes kept them at bay, but really, it's not on is it? Other than that both rides were fairly tame with no dramas. Even managed to practice my manuals. Got them down to a fine art now, really impressive. Lunge my arse backwards in an horizontal direction, weakly extend my legs, pull up with my arms, achieve a flight distance of perhaps 25cm before crashing down to earth with a sudden veer to the left or right. Only taken me three years to achieve this state of perfection.

Of course following my "it'll be OK, no need to charge my lights" stupidity last week, on my second run out I actually had full batteries for both lights. It made no difference to the ride, but at least at the ten miles away from home turn around point I wasn't a sweaty, worry "will I make it home!" mess. I may, one day, just one day, pack a spare light. Of course that will never happen will it? Pack weights are an issue with me. Bit of money, some tools and a pump, water, spare warm top you're at 2kg already. Pick it up, jettison a tyre lever and some change to save weight. With that kind of mentality I'm not about to add 600g worth of spare and generally superfluous lighting, same as I don't carry a first aid kit, foil blanket, telephone, or a bivvy bag. 2kg is right on the limit of what I'm happy to carry these days.

Got home, caught the end of the X-Factor. Big man crying and hiding behind his mate, spotty boy crying, warden and boring boy on the bench. Glad I missed it as watching it would not have enriched my life. The ride, however, did.