A Winters Tale

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A Winters Tale

Postby raesewell » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:16 pm

I had the bike in the FJ Owners workshop for its 30,000 mile service yesterday. Originally I was expecting to be on my way by about 3 O’clock but it rattled on a bit and I didn’t get on my way until about ten past four and the sun was setting over the Cotswolds.
The journey was to take just over 3 hours taking the motorway route. However factoring in that I was now going to encounter rush hour traffic it was going to take longer. The M5 was busy but flowing freely until I got to the road works at the M42.
The lanes here were a bit narrow so filtering was going to be difficult but the traffic was moving at about 25mph ish so I was happy to sit with it. Tomtom came up with an alternative and faster route which took me off of the M42 and onto the A38. As I pulled off of the motorway the welcome sight of the two golden arches of a McDonalds greeted me. I was ready for a coffee and a quick snack and gave Melanie a call to give her a progress report. Melanie tells me that it’s very wintry at home and starting to snow, not settling “yet” just wet she says. :shock: :cry:

The A38 is a good fast road that I know well, I was impressed with the lights on the FJR, dipped beam (Philips Blue Vision Moto) was good enough for me to see far enough at 70/80 mph.
Everything was going great and I didn’t see the first flurry of snow until I rounded the last roundabout through Derby on the A38.
I thought it best to slow down a touch as it’s been many; many years since I have rode in snow. It was sleet with a bit of snow thrown in then snow with a bit of sleet.
As I got further north it was proper snow and having to wipe my visor every 10 seconds was a bit of a pain and watching the snow sliding down the visor made me smile, I must be mad I thought.
Anyway I pressed on through alternating rain, sleet, snow. The M18 saw me closer to home, then the A1(M) pressing on to the M62, this is where it got even more scary. I pulled off the A1(M) onto the M62 to find the slip road was ever so slightly white, the snow was starting to settle. :shock: :shock:

I was happy to tuck in behind an HGV for the last five miles. All the while the snow was getting heavier and the previously fantastic lights were now almost non existent as the snow had formed on the headlights as well as a thick layer of snow on my windscreen. My exit came along soon enough and I said goodbye to the HGV I had been following, I could see the road ahead on the slip road, so being very familiar with this exit I took my best guess and aimed the bike where I thought it should be. Luckily my guess was good and the street lights lead me the rest of the way home. The main roads were just wet, as I turned into my cul-de-sac and onto my drive (this is normally one fluid movement) the snow had settled so I took it very steady got my feet down and inched onto the drive and safely into the garage.

Does this make me an ‘ard roughty toughty biker? Or just mad?

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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby alexis291 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:36 pm

I think that's a good story about the realities of riding a bike in the winter, and how to deal with the challenges sensibly. Thanks for sharing it.

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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby Galactic Greyhound » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:29 pm

Thanks for sharing Rae - it just shows how easy it is to get caught out in winter.

In 'the old days', as long as you were not riding in heavy traffic, an occasional fall in the snow was the norm, expected and a bit of a laugh.
The bikes were built to take a drop now and again without incurring major (and expensive) damage.

My most memorable winter snow ride was on an ex-army 1945 BSA M20 (500cc side-valve) from Glasgow to Fort William riding over Rannoch Moor and through Glencoe at 0700 hrs before the snow-plough had arrived to clear the road.

I was the only person on the road between Crianlarich and the Ballachulish Ferry - it was really a Winter Wonderland!

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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby gogs01 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:33 pm

I hate snow !! :shock:
Rae's tale had me fearing the worst, so well done on getting home safely. :cheers:

I was on a straight, level road which had a dusting of snow on it when I went down so fast I burst the tendons of my shoulder blade / collar bone before I knew what had happened. I have no issue with riding in the cold, but I would do anything to avoid riding on snow (or ice, I suppose). :smile:
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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby raesewell » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:17 pm

I would never choose to ride in the snow, but the situation left me little choice. Fresh snow is not too bad to ride in but it's never fresh for long.

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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby DEEP DIVER » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:36 pm

It's been a few years since I rode in snow. Now I have the trike it would be easy but I have it sorn for some winter work. But next year wait and see.
At least you got home safe so now just sit with your feet up and a nice warm cuppa. Or a glass of vino.
I tried to be normal once, worst two minutes of my life.
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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby windmill john » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:57 am

I last rode in proper snow about nine years ago. I was able to keep ploughing on, pardon the pun, until the front wheel would only slide. Had to abandon the bike and a nice lady gave me a lift to the main road and I walked home, collected the bike the next morning.

About five years ago-ish, I came off on ice. That was the last time I rode if I felt it might be icy on my journey.
I went to work this last Monday, local weather station said minus 1. I walked up the road first to check my road and the next road. It was okay so rode to work. That decision though was based on the fact that I cannot stand traffic. I hate it so much, I sometimes stay at home on a weeken rather than take a journey that might necessitate a car trip.

Basically, I am on the bike unless forced to use the car.
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Too many bikes have come and gone, trying to be sensible now!

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Re: A Winters Tale

Postby mike pace » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:43 pm

Back in 1977 ish I remember coming home from the Ox rally in Somerset in February all the way to Retford. Snowing most of the way. We came up the M5 M42 etc and stopped at every service area to get warm. No heated grips in those days. I Road all year round back then as a bike was my only transport. The trip was on a Honda 500 four.

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