100% Biker 153

100% Biker 153
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Thank God (or the imaginary sky fairy of your choice) the snow’s gone!

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s very pretty, and in the days when I lived oop t’north, it was an excellent excuse for a skive off work (“the snow’s blowing almost horizontal up here and I can’t possibly ride in today… what’s that? There’s none where you are? Yeah, that’s ’cos you’re in the lowlands and as you know, I’m up in the hills… righto, see you tomorrow, hopefully!”), but the allure of looking out over a snowy wasteland soon wears off when you’ve got to go out on a bike in it, I can tell you.

Yes, I do ride all the way through winter, and when I was younger, I used to take real pride in the fact that I wasn’t one of the nesh who put their bike away in October and retreated to the warmth and relative safety of their cars. Now, though, I, like a lot of you, am older, a bit more broken and (possibly) a little wiser. So while I do still relish the relative emptiness of the roads that you get in the darker, colder months of the year, these days I do try not to go out in the pissing rain and the freezing cold unless I really, really have to. In fact, this winter I reckon I’ve done less than 1,000 miles – last year it was closer to 7,000…

It’s funny, isn’t it, how as you get older and, so you’d’ve thought, more used to travelling in this sceptre’d isle’s increasingly inclement weather, and with the increases in technology to help us stay warm (things like Goretex, heated clothing and not riding around in winter with jeans with no friggin’ knees in them…), that dragging the bike out any time after October 31 would get a bit easier, wouldn’t it? It doesn’t though, does it? No matter how good your thermals, how thick your jacket or how warm your ’leccy vest, it’s still a pain to pull all that gear on, struggle outside like the Michelin Man’s pie-addicted brother, clamber aboard the bike and then head off into the day to dodge car drivers with steamed-up windows, grit lorries, ice patches, diesel spills, suicidal pedestrians and pissed off coppers who want to take out their frustrations on someone. The fact that we still do it, I think, is what sets us apart from other folk – it’s part of what makes us us, if you like. The fact that as bikers we’re more  hardy, more willing to take the risks, more alive than ‘normal’ folk. If you’re one of those who does it, I salute you… well, I will as soon as I get me frozen fingers working again anyway.

See you next month when it’ll be warmer… hopefully.