The Snow Is Falling – The BikeFailed To Launch

So the Snow came, stayed for a bit then went again. Who knows…it may even return before the spring decides to make an appearance. I was desperate to get out on the trusty Triumph Explorer and go ride some snow trails…after all I do have my knobby Michelin Awake Wild tyres fitted.

The snow fell last Thursday night and sleeted all day Friday. The schools decided to close and so child supervision was required…luckily I was already on a day off so that dilemma was taken care of.

After numerous yomps in the snow and walked the dog…the obligatory sledging down the shallow gradient hill in the local park, I was able to settle in for the afternoon whilst I had tagged out on the domestic duties and thought I might try to get out on the bike for a little bimble.

The air was biting and the snow had mostly turned to slow on the estate roads. The mains roads were all clear so there would be no dramas there. After donning my multiple layers and textiles waterproofs, I was ready for the big artic adventure. To go out as Amundsen or Scott and hopefully not end up like Shackleton…half broken and wrecked.

I had been ill for the prior couple of weeks so the Triumph was eager to be wheeled out of the garage too. If only motorcycles could talk or think…but they do have a soul don’t they? The garage door was flung upwards and opened. The cold rush of air enveloped me and the bike…and the rest of the garage contents too.

I creaked as I move the bike off of its side stand, and it creaked in response. Perhaps both of our joints and muscles needed oiling through to enable freedom of movement. We were both tin men in need warming and cajoling into life.

Out on the drive, I gathered my thoughts and donned my helmet which scraped over my ears as I slid it down onto my neck. The gloves had become stiff with cold and my once warm hands were no match for the sure footed freeze within the air.

Up onto the saddle and a push of the starter and the bike exploded into life, then purred as it awaited further instructions. I had already been out in the car and knew all of the minor roads were tricky, snowy, slushy and becoming icy…so I knew this would be a challenge and a question of fortitude.

As I knocked it into first gear and gradually let out the clutch, I convinced myself this was a good day not to die and that there was nothing to fear but the fear itself. This was quickly countered with a self scolding for being such an idiot for venturing out on two wheels in such conditions too.

Well, I managed to roll off of the drive and onto the snow covered road. I made it around the first bend and arrived at the next junction. I was keep the bike perpendicular to the surface and letting the engine idle as it ambled me forwards. The next junction approached and once again I was upright and forthright. However within a blink of an eye the rear tyre went left and the front tyre went right. The bike leant over to kiss the surface but by the fortunes of the gods my foot planted on the road and I was able to prevent it from spilling over.

As I manhandled the bike into the upright position again, I looked around to see how far I had come and where I was likely to go to. The next few hundred yards would be of the same stuff but only 100yds and I would be back on my drive.

Which do you think I chose?

Yes, I decided that the riding adventure could wait for another day and a nice hot chocolate was the standard orders. I turned the bike 180 degrees and slipped, slid and rolled it back to base. The terra firma of my drive was soon in sight and once landed upon, I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I always say that adventure can be found on your doorstep and peril is never far from your front door. There are battles that should be fought and there are those that should be saved for favourable conditions and when the soldier’s bellies are full and stocks resupplied.

The hot chocolate was warming and my feet and hands were gently caressed back into life beneath a warm blanket as I watch some sky sports news on the tv. My adventure for the day was over. I tried, I almost failed but although short…I had my fun for the day. And as the snow continued to fall and my failed fails to launch me towards any sunset, I was thankful for better judgement and sure footing on an icy road.


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