I learned the hard way last year that perhaps a Brisbane winter is not as mild as one might expect, or believe it to be. It was my first real winter of riding; and with a boy in my life that had spent the better half of his recent years chasing summers between Europe and Australia, I was not equipped with the best support network for preparation.
The extent of my kit for chilly weather was a pair of arm warmers and knee warmers. No gilets, no gloves, no base layers, no booties, no jacket. Just a pair of arm warmers and knee warmers. Do you need me to tell you how this little story ends? I think not. I fucking froze to death. This one time, on a river loop, I got so cold I couldn’t keep riding and everything cramped up and I had to get an uber home. I’m not even joking – ask Tim, he will tell you.
Well not this year, my friends. This year, I was going to be prepared.
I had stocked up on winter kit for our trip to Japan, and fully intended for it to also protect me from the harsh, bitterly cold months in Brisbane. Oh yes, I had smugly thought to myself, try and freeze me now, Brisbane winter. You motherfucker, I will end you.
But no, it would appear Brisbane winter 2018 had other plans; other ideas, other ways of working that just aren’t like the other three perfectly consistent seasons in Brisbane.
You know what Brisbane winter is like? It’s like that one friend who when you invite them to parties, is always super non committal, “oh yeah, maybe, I’ll see what I’m doing that weekend” which is actually just code for if nothing better comes up then yeah I’ll be there.
You equip your cycling kit for Brisbane winter the same way you equip your computer with antivirus software. 99.99% of the time you don’t need it and it just sits there taking up precious space, but then there is that 0.01% day where it’s suddenly the temperature of the arctic, you couldn’t resist clicking that Hot Singles 4 U banner ad on Pornhub, and the investment is all worth it.
Brisbane winter is like a cat. It will be cold and harsh to you right up until breakfast time, at which point it will turn warm and cuddly and act as though you are the light of its life.
It’s like my showers hot water. It could be on for a minute, maybe 3, before it disappears…maybe for good, maybe just a month you never know.
You are essentially a bicycle-riding onion, in Brisbane winter. You will be all about those peel-able layers.
Planning for Brisbane winter is like planning for the “+1” on an invitation. You don’t know for sure that there’s one coming, but you make the necessary preparations for just in case one arrives…coincidentally spending far more on kit than you intended.
I could keep going, really I could. I wrote this article in bed with Tim beside me asking me when I was going to stop with the analogies. My response to him was never but for you guys, I’ll offer reprieve.
The point I am trying to get across is that Brisbane winter is barely a fricking winter, until the day you allow yourself to be completely lulled into a falsehood with your bare arms and booty-less cycling shoes and unequivocally spend a morning #chasingthesun freezing your ass off.
It’s not a time of fabulous winter woolies and entirely new kit fashun. It’s the time of awkward arm and knee warmer combos that don’t quite keep you warm enough to be comfy on the bike but are easier to pack away when the sun finally rises and projects what feels like the heat of hell itself onto you. You’re either awkwardly warm, or uncomfortably cold.
There is no inbetween. And to cut a long story short, I just can’t wait for this fucking season to be over.