I’m going to keep this quick, because right now the last thing you should be doing is staring at a screen inside. After months of cold damp days when even the shortest glimpse of sun had us sprawled like gasping lizards, it’s finally prime ride time. There’s still enough rain around for hero dirt to hang on in the shade but out in the open the dirt is concrete and dust. The green stuff is growing hard enough to suck out the moisture, but it hasn’t completely camouflaged the singletrack yet or turned into a bar end snatching assassin. It’s hot enough to go shorts and T’s and hang about after a ride with mates not shudder, shiver and scuttle inside. But not so baking burnt flesh is a missed SPF recoat away and you’re blinded by helmet sweat on every climb.
And while we can rejoice in the fact that water splashing on your feet washing your bike is almost as refreshing as a cold beer, you barely need to wash your bike anyway. Instead just look at that beautiful coating of dust, the stretch marks of sidewalls pulled to the limit and try and work out why the bits round the spokes are always clear even if the rest of the rim is dusty. Spin the chain backwards and think, ‘no, that’s fine’ not hear every link and tooth rasp and grimace under the onslaught of grow bag grinding paste. Or squeal in torture as metal grates on bare metal because any lube was washed away long ago. Throw your riding kit in a quick wash and line dry it ready for next day, not jet wash it in the yard and then hunt out the reproofer after the DWR got drowned again.
Sure the trails are busier and the summer ramblers and community Karens are getting hot under the collar because they’d rather have a bitter life than a better one, but there’s still plenty of space to find your head place. More riding hours every day mean it's the perfect time to try something new too. So go down the jumps on a school night, start planning for an epic solstice ride, try gravel riding in summer not the Somme and go wild camping while it's actually warm.
And stop worrying about whether you need a new bike/tire/suspension setup etc. I don't want to hear excuses that you’re not fit enough, there isn’t time to get to the best riding spots, you don’t want to be tired for an upcoming event, or the last few months have tanked your mojo. I promise you just getting on your bike for a few minutes of kerb hopping, tire growling playtime in your civvies at lunchtime or after work will feel way better for the rest of the day than doom-scrolling through videos of other people throwing it down or shopping for things you "need".
Even if you can’t ride right now for mechanical or physical reasons, get out there any way you can. Do some trail maintenance, garden bike servicing, or stretch or strengthen whatever bits of you are still working with the help of some solar physio.
Do it because there’s way more to getting outside than just a good hit of vitamin D. It’s pure primal pleasure being out in the woods or on the hills. Feeling the wind, listening to the bird song, watching fat white clouds cruise overhead or tiny creatures at your feet. Suck in as much exhaust-free, non-air-conditioned air as you can and breathe out all the toxins that accumulate when you’re trapped inside. And this isn’t just hippy BS here, there’s real science behind all this ‘nature bathing’ Sunday supplement shite.
So put down your device and go play outside, because the one thing you don’t want to regret when it all goes dark, damp and depressing again far too soon are all the times you could have seized summer by its golden balls and covered yourself in its blissful warmth.