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