For some, November signals the last few weeks of the biking season. However, putting the clocks back at the end of October means that those early runs down to the coast for a Full English can continue to set off reasonably early but it won’t be long before even they become ‘Brunch’ rather than ‘Breakfast’ runs.
Many of us of course will continue to ride right through the winter and I’m sure it won’t be long before we start seeing questions about the merits of using ACF-50 or Scottoiler FS 365 posed in the All-Members message area. Riding in cold weather means taking a few extra precautions for yourself though. Clearly the summer airflow jacket and pants are no longer going to be the best option as an outer layer. Retaining body heat becomes vital to ensure you stay alert when riding, so heavy textiles with thermal layers underneath seem a better option. Just ensure you’ve still got good movement with all the warm kit on so you can actually ride the bike safely.
The other big change you’ll notice is the reduction in tyre grip as the temperature drops and road surfaces become less grippy. Tyres don’t warm up the same in winter so are less ‘sticky’ and wet or salt-treated roads, let alone any ice that might be about, means you probably won’t be troubling the edges of your tyres over the next few months – unless you’re very brave.
Light levels may also be lower under heavy skies and you may find yourself riding in the dark so make doubly sure all your lights are working and are clean and bright. Bikes are often lost in the confusion of headlights on busy roads at night so give other road users extra time to see you, and for you to take avoiding action if necessary.
However, riding during the winter can be rewarding on those bright sunny clear days when you can see for miles, the coffee and burger taste so much better at the halfway stop, and you get to spend time with your mates. All valuable things for your mental health in these difficult lockdown days.
Of course, many will choose to lay-up their bike for these colder months. There are multiple guides on the best ways to do this as simply throwing a cover over it after the last autumn ride and then expecting it to come out all clean and shiny next spring is probably being a bit optimistic. Look out for a guide to laying-up your bike in Slipstream next month.
As a Club we continue to be active at all levels despite not being able to meet as a Club. The Local Teams are doing a great job organising social runs on a regular basis and also Observer swaps for Associates. We’re also having a rush of test passes as Associates complete the Advanced Rider Course. Chris Brownlee is making test pass announcements on the St Crispin’s Zoom call each month. Last month he announced 6 test passes, 1 Masters and 4 Observer validations. Also we had 131 riders participate on 24 social runs that were reported using the Social Run form on the website.
Finally, after five years on the TVAM Committee, the last four as Chairman, it’s time for me to step down at January’s AGM. This of course is only possible if there’s a volunteer willing to take up the reins of Chair so I’m pleased that we already have a member who’s stepped forward agreeing to be nominated. If anyone else feels they would like to consider the role do please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for some background to what’s involved.
Keep safe in these difficult times