Cyclist - - Ed's Letter - Pete Muir, Editor

Amonth or so ago I re­ceived a mes­sage that, in my ca­pac­ity as a cy­cling mag­a­zine editor, I con­stantly dread. Staff mem­ber Sam was away shoot­ing a ride fea­ture on Gran Ca­naria, and af­ter weeks of plan­ning routes, mak­ing travel prepa­ra­tions, sourc­ing bikes, or­gan­is­ing lo­cal guides, ar­rang­ing pho­tog­ra­phy and book­ing flights, he was fi­nally head­ing out onto the roads of the Ca­nary Is­land… and it was rain­ing. Not just rain­ing but lash­ing down - tor­ren­tial, hor­i­zon­tal nee­dles of wa­ter like some­thing from a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter movie. An ac­com­pa­ny­ing pic­ture showed what looked like a hu­man-shaped wet wipe at­tempt­ing to wres­tle a bi­cy­cle down a river. Af­ter groan­ing in­wardly, my next move was to look up the av­er­age rain­fall in Gran Ca­naria. Ap­par­ently it rains there about half a dozen days a year, pro­duc­ing ap­prox­i­mately enough wa­ter an­nu­ally for a foot spa. This is an is­land on the same lat­i­tude as the Sa­hara Desert, famed for its year-round sun­shine, and yet on the day Cy­clist ar­rives it does a good im­pres­sion of Cum­bria on a Bank Hol­i­day week­end.

Still, what the weather gods take with one hand, they give back with the other. This is­sue, the Big Ride ven­tures to the Faroe Is­lands, a re­mote ar­chi­pel­ago in the North­ern At­lantic, about 200 miles north of the Scot­tish main­land. Now, there’s a place that knows a thing or two about bad weather. On the Faroes it rains two days out of every three, ex­cept when it’s snow­ing, which it does all but three months of the year. A travel guide to the is­lands de­scribes sunny days as ‘rare’ – and yet, when Cy­clist toured these spec­tac­u­lar is­lands by bike, we were ac­com­pa­nied by blue skies, wispy clouds and the oc­ca­sional puf­fin.

Bad weather is an in­evitable fact of cy­cling life, but if you can keep smil­ing and ped­alling when the weather gods are in a foul mood, they will be sure to re­ward you when you least ex­pect it.

Rolling in the isles: Cy­clist heads north to the re­mote Faroe Is­lands

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