What’s the definition of being British?

By Marcus Farley | Tuesday, January 13, 2009 12.40pm

What’s the definition of being British?

Is it the placing of importance on standing in queues? Being the laughing stock of Europe in the fashion stakes? Falling about in the street after a night on the sauce? A stiff upper lip when up against the odds? Running down our sporting and celebrity heroes, rather than celebrating them? Having a newspaper where there are breasts on page 3? Using said newspaper to wrap our fish and chips? Or complaining about the weather?

Well, it’s all of them, I guess, and more besides. But for me, at least, it’s about the weather.

For the whole summer and all of the winter I’ve complained about the rain and mud. Lamenting how dry singletrack seems to have evaded our island this year. Muttering curses to the weather gods under my breath, as yet again the cleaning of my bike takes longer than I have to ride it.      

But, hark, a miracle happened last week. We had a week of totally bone dry trails, didn’t we?

Missed it? Poor you, yes, it did actually happen. I spent an almost happy week blasting every ‘usually muddy at this time of year’ trail I could find, returning from said jaunts with bike and arse mud free. For a moment I thought I’d moved to SoCal, except for the biting cold that is ...

So, why almost? Because last week was the week I’d set aside to start testing my new long-term test Scott Gore-Tex Paclite shorts! And they didn’t even get muddy or wet once. I even wore them home on the car trip we did, sans car seat cover.

Happily, I wasn’t alone. Getting on the blower with Matt at the tail end of last week, he told me they’d had to scrap a whole ‘riding in mud’ skills photo shoot. Both of us cursing the bone dry trails more than loving them! And this week, as the mud returns, we have exchanged emails about missing last week’s dryfest.

And that, dear readers, is Britishness defined for me!

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