Well it was a nice Christmas day the kids were happy and so was Wifey then best of all the traditional visit to the mother in law was cut to a 30 minute stint…beat that! (I do her no justice here she has a heart of gold and yes I am being held at gunpoint here)
But the only day off I get is Christmas day because I work for a large multi national that worships the retail gods and you only get Christmas day off because they have to give it you. Remember when the shops were shut for a week at a time? I loved that as a kid and it is with a heavy heart I realise that my kids will never experience such things. Enough with the melancholy I am warm well fed (a bit too well !) and live in a place that offers a good life so I shall stop moaning for times gone by.
Boxing day started well with a good ride to work enjoying the seasonal lack of cars on Nottingham’s ring road and the day was a steady plod on with even my work colleagues being somewhere near to normal breathing everyday folk instead of the usual bunch of “what the hell can we find to moan about today to anyone that will listen to my crap because being miserable and making others feeling the same is the only source of enjoyment I can find in life any more” chaps they usually are, Christmas was truly in the air! About 5pm it started to rain…heavily…nothing unusual about that I just donned my wet weather gear and carried on. I had not seen the weather forecast for the day. It started to snow. Nothing too bad just wet stuff that melted as soon as it landed so I carried on. Before I realised 20 minutes later I noticed the snow settling and settling well at that…I made a call into the office…”It’s snowing like hell out here settling well and I am on a motorbike so I am off now!” Again it must have been the Christmas spirit about because no one complained about me leaving 30 minutes early…I wish I had left an hour before that.
I kid you not it took me ten minutes to get my gear on and clock out by which time the snow had settled well and was coming down in proper blizzard fashion. As I walked outside I had to wonder at my sanity of getting onto the bike but I didn’t want to get Wifey out in it after spending the last 15 years experiencing her driving in ideal conditions I convinced myself that the main roads would be ok. I mean I live in a major city that is travelled well by lots of traffic and has a mass of gritters on hand so the ring road I had to travel 8 miles on should be just fine. First I had to travel the mile to the ring road though….I nearly made it…it was 3 inches deep in snow and I could see the finish line of the ring road entry just 50 feet away when my world started to look kind of strange. Seeing as I was only doing 10 mph I did what can only be described as the best ever slow motion fall off of a motorbike in the history of bike crashes. First I realised of any sort of problem was when the horizon appeared to be vertical then what can only be described as a falling into a mound of feathers as I impacted onto the road. The bike went left up a kerb and I slid in a nice comfy line creating the longest snow angel in history. Feeling like a right pillock I got to my feet walked back the 15 feet to my bike and with the help of the kerb picked the bloody thing up.
At this point you are thinking “why would you get back on it?” I know you are because in hindsight I thought the same thing but I was convinced the ring road would be alright and I put my faith in the local councils ability to keep the roads passable. In my defence I had just fallen off of a bike and banged my head was running on adrenaline and was getting colder than I realised really quickly. The old girl started again and I set off like a kid with both feet down riding at 5mph.
I didn’t get above 10mph for the next hour. The ring road was ok to start and better than the side road had been but it was still bad. My visor steamed up in 30 seconds flat. My glasses then froze in another two minutes so I pulled over and took them off. Then I had to convince myself I was a brave man and carried on off into the storm. At this point the road was turning white and the blizzard was blowing directly into my face. God knows what I looked like squinting like I needed to have some glasses on (I did) with frozen eyebrows and frozen snot down my beard with my feet down either side because I didn’t want to fall over again whilst riding next to the gutter on a major ring road at 10 mph but it couldn’t have been half as bad as I felt.
This was the singular worst riding experience of my life and I have ridden for years all year round in just about all weathers but I will never ride in the snow again.
I nearly made it home.
I was less than a mile away, just, but there was a roundabout and the blizzard was in full flow.
I nearly made it around it.
The off was quick and I mean real quick maybe it was because I was near frozen at this point or the fact I could barely see right anymore because of the storm or the fact I was exhausted that I didn’t realise I was off until I was sliding into the third exit. The motorbike had left at the second exit leaving me to carry on by myself I think it had had enough as well. I lay there thinking “ok then that was a good bump” knowing I hadn’t broken anything but knowing I was going to hurt in the morning.
The first four cars just steered around me lying in the road and carried on their way….arseholes…but then my faith in humanity was restored as a nice couple pulled up behind me with their hazards on and helped me up. Then by a quirky coincidence an ambulance pulled alongside them with lights flashing and helped me pick up the bike whilst blocking the roundabout completely. Sorry if you were stuck behind me for a few minutes but that was far better than me getting run over…I am a selfish git like that.
We blokes don’t know when to quit do we. We don’t like going to the Dr’s we push on when we shouldn’t we don’t like making two trips from the car with the shopping. We see it as a challenge and we accept that challenge because we are the hunters the gatherers and the protectors. We do not like to admit defeat.
I had got to my breaking point with my nerve the cold and I periodically could not face falling off of the bike again. I had been lucky twice and any “off” of a bike you walk away from is a good one. I dumped the bike on the pathway and hiked the last of the journey home through the storm and quite frankly with all that moving it was the warmest I had been for what felt like hours.
When I hit my driveway I was greeted by this sight…
Looks good eh! Like it should be out and about in the snow…wish I had already finished the rebuild and registration!
I awoke with some really impressive bruising and collected the bike this morning but instead of snow it was ice to dance with fate seems to enjoy having a laugh at the moment at my expense.
I’m glad to say no real damage done to either the bike or me but once I got back in today I have spent the rest of it building a massive dolls house that my youngest daughter got for Christmas and if I am honest I think I may just stay in nursing my bruises all weekend and watching the weather forecasts.