Winter had one last (hopefully) hurrah today, and it was pretty cold when I set off into the the blustery rain that was sweeping in from the sea. The wind felt stronger than the forecast Force 4 Westerly, and the cold damp air was troubling my asthma a bit as I tried to warm up with a few hills. Eventually I wound my way back down to the West coast for a blast on the aerobars for the first time. I opted for the flattened ‘s’ bend type with the bar horizontal to the road rather than ‘ski’ shaped ones with upturned ends. They didn’t feel too unnatural, and with a bit of comparison on long straights I was certainly a good 2-3mph faster than I could manage in the drops, but the stiff cross wind (or just plain incompetent bike handling) left me weaving all over the road as my weight was more centred on the bike than usual from my ‘narrow’ position. That, and for some reason there were an awful lots of ducks in the road today (which I felt obliged to avoid), which didn’t help.
As it happened, I caught up with a group of seven heading round the coast after about 15 miles, so asked if I could join them to shelter from the squally weather. They were going along at a decent rate and, with aerobars really not safe for group riding even in the hands of a competent user, I abandoned my initial plan and just enjoyed the company. I split off from them after 25 miles or so, and headed back up the coast to get a bit more experience of the aerobars, but my fingers were pretty numb by then as I only had my thin gloves on and there was still too much crosswind for me to really feel comfortable so I eventually headed for home via the inland route after 70 miles.
On the plus side I didn’t find them too uncomfortable to use, and it was nice to put in my first metric century for a few weeks, but I don’t think I’ll be troubling the the top of the leaderboard at the next Velo Club TT.