With summer long gone and the prospect of winter fast approaching, I was surprised to discover a couple of mosquito bites on my left leg. I usually find the first bites of spring and the last in the autumn to be the most painful. I haven’t applied any repellent for a few weeks now, assuming wrongly that they’d be long gone.
My tolerance of the bites has improved since I’ve lived here but I still have an allergic reaction. I am also allergic to latex. It’s a bit of a blow realising you’ll never be able to play cat woman or cross the threshold of an S&M club. Thanks to this summer’s warm sultry conditions these little blighters seem to have been even more prolific. I have spent a fortune on repellent and then even more money on unguent to soothe those areas where the repellent has worn off or hasn’t repelled effectively.
I’m working my way slowly but surely through the available preventative sprays. I bought an anti-mosquito bracelet which was supposed to be effective for a month – four days more like. This was supplemented with a spray which should have kept the mozzie munchers at bay for several hours but, when I’m out riding, lasts only as long as it takes me to break into a sweat. So, not long then.
I felt I was dealing reasonably with the issue this year until one evening when I dined al fresco in a friend’s garden. Mosquitos are attracted to static water and the combination of their swimming pool and watering butt meant the monster variety of mozzie munchers were out in force. I ended up with clusters of bites all over my legs some of which later swelled – painful and unsightly. Served me right for wearing shorts!
A couple of evenings later, and I was dining outside again – will I never learn? This time I wore trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, so the wee beasties attacked my hands and feet despite liberal applications of a repellent. Again a couple of these swelled up making my cycling shoes feel a bit tight in places for a couple of days.
I often get attacked by hordes of insects while I’m out riding. It’s almost impossible to ride and swot at the same time. During the summer, I tend to ride most often in a couple of pairs of Santini bib shorts which I’ve had for a while. Indeed, they’re beginning to look well past their best and will now need to be replaced. The legs have silicone grippers and some elastication which is starting to fray, exposing strands of latex. As a result, each time I took off my shorts my legs were ringed with red welts – my reaction to the latex.
Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, from time to time, bunches of enterprising mozzies had nibbled all the way round the hem of my shorts giving me another welt of bites. It was the combination of these two which saw me reaching for something soothing every five minutes or so to stop me itching the affected parts. In fact it looked so bad, I resorted to wearing 3/4 bib shorts despite the heat. This is one aspect I won’t miss as the days turn cooler, and indeed, colder.