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

- George Washington

Friday 8 January 2010

Cold, in both senses

My mansniffles are no better, so I have taken another day off work. Don't worry - I won't be getting paid for it, so there is no dishonesty there.

Anyone who has visited Pembrokeshire will know that the climate is normally mild and wet. We rarely see snow in winter, and if it falls, it is usually gone by the next day. I ws brought up in the Frozen North (West Yorkshire) and lived for a long time in the Frozen East (East Yorkshire and Lincs), and a winter without snow and a few good frosty days doesn't seem to punctuate the passing of the year like a 'proper' winter does.

I had to set off early last Monday to be in Swansea for 8.30 am, and at 6.30 am when I emerged from the house to chip the car out of the ice-floe, the temperature read -7°C. I thought that was bloody cold for round here. Today, I came out at 9.00 am to take Anna to her physiotherapy, and the car thermometer read -11°C. That is astonishingly cold for round here. Even at 11.00 am, when we returned, and after a lot of warmish sunshine (the sky is clear and lovely) it was still -8°C. Because the atmosphere is dry, it doesn't feel all that cold, but touch something that has been outside all night and you stick to it.

I have taken pity on the poor Honda and put its battery on to charge. I'm not likely to be taking it out any time soon (it is far too big and heavy to be useable in these conditions), but the computer makes a tiny drain on the battery, and it's better to keep it charged in cold weather than to let it go down. It's a gel battery, only a year old, and cost me about £90, so I'm looking after it. The XT sits outside the front door looking forlorn and covered in ice. I shall go out and start it up in a minute, just to let it know it's not forgotten.

Anthropomorphism rules.


  1. Good luck with batteries - last winter my gel battery failed and this winter the super duper Odysee (how do you spell it?)seems to be going the same way - whilst it managed to just about crank the boxer twin to life it set off the ABS computer into low voltage failure blinking light mode (and that was before the very cold spell).

  2. The Honda's battery life is minimal, which is a bit stupid on such a big bike. Half a dozen ups and downs of the screen with the engine off (while fitting a new screen motor) was enough to flatten it. Temperatures like these are not good for batteries anyway, so I think I will leave it on charge for the foreseeable future. I don't know if it's the same Odyssey batteries that they fit in expedition Land Rovers, but they are sold as being the best thing - huge capacity, long life, holding charge, withstanding abuse, etc - and yet people I know who have paid the high price to get one have not been impressed.

    The XT didn't really want to start today, but it reluctantly coughed into life after a few turns of the starter. I let it warm up and then took it for a spin down the lane. I didn't fall off, but I was glad to get off and park it again. This is not bike weather!

  3. I believe that the Odyssey (thank you!) fitment for my R1150GS provides lower capacity than the OEM but it does seem to provide higher cranking current for slightly longer(due presumably to its lower internal resistance). It's just annoying having this blinking ABS failure problem just when you (might?) need the benefit of zero braking effect...

  4. PS

    I presume that the XT may be an excellent candidate for "Easi Start" (it's called something else now)...it's that ether in a spray can stuff that will explode any reluctant motor to life - I'm you have used it to get the lawn mower going!

  5. My other half has been unable to ride his Shadow since before Christmas, but he still goes out every other night, wipes the snow and ice off her (his anthropomorphism) and runs her up to temperature - wish he lavished as much attention on me (LOL).

  6. It's nice to be run up to working temperature every so often. Keeps things nice and free and avoids deterioration due to lack of use.

    Shadow - that's some kind of cruiser, isn't it? Not great weather for any bike, but especially for those with lots of chrome. This is skanky old trailbike weather. Well, it will be when I get down the lane and onto the road, anyway.

  7. I can assure you that he has de-chromed it as much as is humanly possible (and it's matt black). It's an all-year cruiser, and when the cul-de-sac is clear he will be off, thank gawd. All that moping around and grumping about snow is doing my head in - I like the snow; he hates it - as he has to drive my car.

  8. I had a Tenere - now that is an all year bike.

  9. Wow. My next bike is going to be a Tenere, I think - or at least an XT with some long-distance extras. I plan on doing a lot of touring one day, and the XT/Ten is the ideal compromise of weight and usability.

    All-year cruiser? Top man. I've had to drive the car a lot more than I would have liked recently, and I hate it too. It gives me a kind of four-wheeled cabin fever.

    Do you still have a bike? If not, why not?

  10. Lol - to old and wise - gave up any notion of riding again after I nursed him through 3 years of recovery and rehab after a Mercedes decided to turn right through him and his bike - still ride pillion, but look stupid on the Shadow, and it hurts my tail after an hour or so.

  11. Fair enough, although I disagree that an accident you could have avoided is a reason for giving up. I have posted about this a while ago. An accident you could not have foreseen or avoided is a reason for giving up, as it demonstrates that the world is a dangerous place. One you could have avoided demonstrates that you need more training or practice, or an attitude adjustment. It's the difference between avoidable and unavoidable risk, and why I will cheerfully ride a bike anywhere, but will not fly. But I accept that not everyone will agree with this.

    Cruisers aren't great for pillions - the riding position is all wrong, and puts all the weight on the bit least well designed to stand it. My wife (despite serious back problems) thinks the Pan is as comfy as an armchair. Next time I am in Edinburgh ... :)


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