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Rapha Rides Little Switzerland
film by Ertzui°film
The Fränkische Schweiz (aka Franconian Switzerland or Little Switzerland) is a delightful place to ride in the summer. Its landscape made up of forests, jagged rock faces, brutally sharp climbs and winding rivers, it was named after the obvious comparisons to its larger cousin. It also just happens to boast the highest density of breweries in the world, with hundreds of Biergärten to boot.
So the Gentlemen's Ride planned for the 3rd July, leaving from our good friends bikedress, should have made for a lovely day out. A testing route over 130km, including gravel and forest tracks, a refreshment stop with a view at one of the most famous breweries, plus BBQ and drinks back at the store. Not to mention the chance to work on my pathetic cycling tan.
Unfortunately, the weather gods clearly had other ideas. Even with a day to go, I was somewhat naively hoping we might get away with just a couple of showers.
As it was, the conditions on the day would be best described as apocalyptic. Instead of the usual 25-30°C weather, temperatures plummeted to 7°C in the hills. I was so wet and cold by the time the sheet rain and hail arrived that I just had to laugh about it.
But conditions like that bring a whole different sense of achievement to those brave enough to venture out. Knowing that others are just as cold as you are if not more so, you shiver and suffer together as you smile about the ridiculousness of what you're doing. Berating yourself for being so stupid to be out in such weather whilst at the same time knowing that you respect yourself all the more for having done it.
And with that knowledge, I'll be one of those out there on the roads and trails this autumn and winter, come what may, even if I won't be lending my Rain Jacket to someone else this time. So if you happen to pass me in a car and wonder who that poor soul is, please remember that I'll be the one spending time on my bike, not you.