If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Winter Is On Its Way

You can tell winter is coming. Today's rideout was a total of two bikes and three people. I met Andy and his girlfriend Ann in the Propellers Café at Withybush Airfield and had a hearty (or heart-stopping) breakfast. And then we went for a ride round the coast of North Pembrokeshire. A visit to St Davids, coffee in Goodwick, and a return over the lovely Preseli Hills.

It was a glorious day, the kind you often get at this time of year, with bright sunshine for the most part, and a clear atmosphere that made the views spectacular. Everything - ships out at sea, distant hillsides, the glint of the far-off estuary - seemed to be within touching distance. But the air was cold. I wore my trusty leather jacket with a hoodie underneath and a pair of thin jeans. By the time I got home mid-afternoon about 70 miles later, I was chilled to the bone.

Next time, it will be the textile suit with the thermal lining.

I fully intend to ride through the winter, as I always have done, but I suspect that I will be rather lonely on some of the days out. Some of the TOMCC are talking about laying bikes up for the winter, and when we discussed a possible trip to the Triumph factory at Hinckley, or even the new Norton works at Donington Park, there was a lot of support for hiring a minibus.

Guys, this is a bike club. We travel on motorcycles. The clue is in the name. The 'MC' in TOMCC stands for 'motorcycle', not 'mini-coach'. OK, 500 miles there and back in January is a bit of a test of character, but for heaven's sake.

I can see myself riding alone for much of the time this winter.



  1. wimps indeed! Naturally I feel 'virtuous' in having completed a 170 mile trip in gusting rain and wind from East Anglia to Cheshire yesterday. The weather eased near Nottingham thank the almighty!

  2. PS I was riding my GS in case you thought that I was caging it.

  3. Good man! Keep it up. With the right kit, there is no reason to shun the bike, whatever the weather. I draw the line at ice and snow these days, though. I don't want to test how brittle my bones are the hard way. But cold or wet - bring it on.

  4. Bike club travels by minibus - is that a conscious irony?

    I've only just started wearing leathers instead of jeans for the daily commute. No sign yet of having to break out the textiles, lined gloves, thermal layers...

    Haven't even been regularly using the Versys yet: it's still VFR weather.

    Anyhow, obviously no need to preach to the converted, but I like winter riding. It's different, it's challenging and it's still a million times better than being in a car. Not that I've got a car anyway.

    See you out there on the roads, non-wimpish types!

  5. There's a wonderful Frank Patterson cartoon (he used to do the illustrations for Cycling Weekly in the 30s) depicting a man on a touring bicycle in full wet-weather gear, with the rain slanting down in stair-rods. He's grinning at the reader, and the caption is "Better than mugging in an office any day!"

    I feel the same about biking. Rain, cold, wind - bring it on! If I'm in the car in winter (it happens sometimes), I feel for the poor old bikers in the cold and wet - but if I am on the bike, I never wish I was in the car.


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