Riding at this time of year has its own pleasures. Such as riding through snow silenced woods, quiet lanes empty of most human life, most of which is sensibly holed up in a nice warm centrally heated room in front of the TV. Finding a warm pub, with a huge log fire, heading out into the icy cold again, wrapped up against the chill to ride through falling flakes of snow, the icy air blasting against your cheeks as you descend a steep hill at speed. Strangely, all this, I find, exciting and pleasurable as long as I have sufficiently wrapped my core and extremities to feel toasty warm in the places that matter. Even hills are welcome in winter, they keep the blood flowing on the ascent and reward you with an exhilarating blast on the descent that really lets you know you are alive.
We did such a ride on Sunday. 40 miles out of London across a bit of Surrey, Kent up and over the North Downs a few times, then back to London. Despite the ice, sleet, snow and chilly wind, a great way to spend the day. Of course, it always helps to have great company too, which indeed I did. The picture below (thanks, Ian,) sums up the atmosphere of the whole ride, perfectly.