So what the hell happened to the weather this year?

Yvette Yeates

Sep / 27 / 2022

So international travel is almost fully open and we are loving it. However what's up with the weather? Crowded House sang the song, Take the weather with you. It's a great song and some of the lyrics feel just right:

Well, there's a small boat made of china
It's going nowhere on the mantlepiece
Well, do I lie like a loungeroom lizard
Or do I sing like a bird released

That's what this year felt like, after 2 or so years of loungeroom lizarding - EVERYONE was cycling! And not just on our tours - e-biking, mountain biking, road, gravel biking and bikepacking.

Families with trailer bikes and trailers; retired folks tackling mountain cols on e-bikes; bike shops struggling to supply bikes and components; middle aged women out escaping family duties (that's me!)... it seemed to me that the world had discovered the joys of cycling.

You can control so many variables, and carefully plan your cycle days and holidays. What you cannot do, despite what Tim Finn croons, 'Everywhere you go take the weather with you', is arrange or take the weather with you!!
So what the hell happened this year?

Australia drowning in La Nina floods and the west Americas in drought and wild fires; Europe in the worst drought ever - Switzerland brown, dead trees, level 4 and 5 fire restrictions, hose pipe bans, and glaciers melting at such a rapid rate that one has split into two; and summer ski resorts closed to protect their glaciers. In Italy the Po River dried up and the Marmolada glacier collapsed killing several climbers.

And Uri and I found ourselves in opposing weather situations.

Uri was in Norway guiding our guests through gale force winds that cancelled ferries and meant our guests had to walk across bridges and even fly a bike like flag together with horizontal rain and hail with temperatures down to 6 degrees C.

That same week, I was bikepacking the Lot River Valley in Aquitaine, France (BTW a beautiful place to ride), during the August heatwave. Afternoons were peaking at 39 degrees C and on my last day 41 degrees C.

My eyeballs were drying out, I drank so much mineral water I didn't need supplements and I was following the long and winding river routes that offered ample shade in order to avoid the sunbaked, hot, dusty and gritty faster main roads.

The next day, I was driving back to the coast to collect my son from surf camp and my sat nav took me along the back forest routes to the smokey wildfire fronts! Burnt out smoldering forests, manned road blocks, fire trucks with lights and sirens... I'm not ashamed to admit, it was a little stressful. Uri and I posted photos to each other I am guessing he was wistfully wishing for the heat and sun; and I know I was thinking that that cooler weather looked nice!! The next week, Keith and my son went to the same area in Norway for a sailing and environmental expedition aboard Adventure Yacht Co and they had perfect weather!

So plan and organise but anticipate that the weather will do the opposite!