I have got to learn to read a map. Failing that, work out how to use the apps on a 'phone that's smarter than me. I keep getting lost and as I venture further afield training for the Ride London 100, I'm losing myself in uncharted territory.
It happened again on Monday. Two hours into a ride, with the rain coming down again (I swear I can see the first signs of webbing between my toes) I reached a quiet junction with all roads pointing to places I'd never heard of.
OK, that's not entirely true. I know where Newport is. I'd just come from there. What I was looking for was the Staffordshire town of Eccleshall, destination of choice for anyone looking for a hot chocolate. Which I very much was.
I stood looking at the road sign for a while. I viewed it from different angles, hoping something would ring a bell. Which reminds me, I've got to get a bell. Anyway, nothing did. Maybe I could ask someone? Not a soul. I'd chosen the Marie Celeste of cycle routes. There was a dog barking in an otherwise empty farmyard but border collies are notoriously bad at giving directions to anyone except sheep.
Then I had a brainwave. I took a picture of the sign and sent it to an online forum with the post heading 'Where Am I?'. I asked if anyone could work out where I was and suggest the fastest route to a hot chocolate. Within minutes I had received clear, step-by-step directions from a variety of helpful forumites. Someone even uploaded a map of my route in a joke sat-nav frame.
Before long I had reached Eccleshall and found the Star Cafe. They offer a warm welcome for cyclists and bikes and have earned awards from various cycling clubs in the area. On Monday they sat me down by a radiator and brought me a hot chocolate. Before long, feeling began to return to my fingers. Everything looks better after a hot chocolate. It had stopped raining and I knew where I was. To be honest, both of those have been quite unusual events in recent months.
Twenty minutes later I was ready to climb back on the bike again. Warm, dry and ready to roll, I remembered why life really is better on two wheels.