The sunny side of the classic world, with the VMJC’s Steve Cooper
The so-called riding season is well and truly over. Chances are you’ll be reading the marvellous pages of CMM mollycoddled with luxuries such as a central heating system controlled by a thermostat and possibly your smartphone while totally immune to the weather outside courtesy of some hi-tech double glazing.
This is the reality of our modern world yet we still seem to hanker for the days of our youth or at least the bikes we owned or aspired to back then. We want the certainty and comfort of machines we know and understand yet we’re not prepared to slum it working on them outside in the cold with a torch and icy spanners. This is, apparently, called middle age, getting soft, selling out, wimping out and similar by the perverse minority who feel we should be fettling and riding in all weathers. If that’s you then good luck; you have the admiration of us softies, we hope you have a grand old time.
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The reality is few of us now chose to get cold, brave seriously inclement weather, daily with wet diesel-soaked roads or risk black ice. We’ve done all this and more and thankfully most of have survived to tell the tale. We’ve also probably paid a fair toll to be where we are now in terms of fractures, breaks, muscle damage and god knows what else. This column still occasionally nurses an aching tibia when it’s damp and cold courtesy of a cast iron cat’s eye, the M1 and sheet ice. And don’t even ask about the right shoulder that’s still damaged thanks to a myopic Proton driver and some patchy fog!
None of us really need to be recreating such scenarios. We’ve commuted on motorcycles when we had no other viable alternative, coped with wax cotton waterproofs that aren’t, tolerated third rate Rukka rip-offs and stood thawing out iced hands because our gloves were rubbish, With the advent of modern technologies digits now stay warm via heated grips, bodies remain toasty thanks to heated clothing, genuinely weather proof clothing maintains both core temperature and wicks away perspiration. But you now have more opportunities to fall off on ice thanks to the cut backs and lack of salt, there are more potholes than roads now and car drivers don’t even know you exist. Fluorescent clothing, permanent headlights, body armour and lord knows what else don’t go anywhere near balancing the scales of survival, we may have had our day in the eyes of younger riders but I reckon we had it pretty good back then. Anyone fancy a Winter of Discontent, three-day weeks, frozen saddles and ice on the inside of the window panes?
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