Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Is winter a problem for bikers? I love it.

For those of us in more northerly places, the onset of winter normally brings the blues. The weather we have enjoyed in the summer and autumn slips away and the rain, cold and even snow and frost appear.  Once the clocks go back and darkness falls ridiculously early, we tend to put our bikes away until the spring.  We tend to miss our motorcycling passion and a mild form of depression normally sets in.

Not for me!

I love this time of year!

That is because It is around now I am planning my rides for the following year.  This is what I have planned so far....

10 days riding around Cuba in February.  I cannot wait to see all the old cars and motorbikes in this very unusual country.

In May, I will be returning to St. Tropez for the Harley-Davidson Euro Festival. Jackie and I will be driving in a car (our Cobra) on our way to take the car all the way back to southern Spain from London and we will be stopping in St. Tropez in southern France on the way.  I will be shipping a bike to St. Tropez to use while we are there.

In June, four of us will be getting. Ferry from England to northern Spain and the riding our custom bikes about 900 miles to Cascais in southern Portugal for the main H-D European Rally, then back again.  My son Charlie will be joining us on that ride along with friends Paul (who joined me for part of my USA tour last year) and Ian who I went to Croatia with.

At some stage I want to ride to St. Petersburg in Russia, but that might have to wait until 2013.

Planning these trips is great fun and keeps me sane at this time of year. It does however drive Jackie a little crazy as our office is often covered in maps and books and other stuff needed for road trip planning.

Is anyone else planning for next year already?


Steve Williams said...

Planning for next year? I seldom plan beyond tomorrow when it comes to riding. Especially in the winter. My riding ritual consists of checking on my iPhone to see if any snow or ice is predicted, walk outside and look at the sky to determine if they are lying, and then ride to work if things look reasonably safe. And when I make a mistake I trust to the Heidenau SnowTex tires to get me home safe.

Cuba? St. Tropez? What sort of winter riding is that? I didn't know that had any winter there.

Good luck with your adventures. Someday I'll figure out how to have some of those.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Trobairitz said...

Wow, those trips sound amazing. You are so close to so many other countries for exploring. I'm jealous.

I think next year we'll probably be tourists in our own state again. I am hoping we'll get a lot more motorcycle camping in next year. I've been bitten by moto-camping bug.

Gary France said...

Steve - I admire and respect those like you that ride in the winter.  I used to, but rarely these days unless the weather is pretty good.  I am going to ride to the European Parliament in Brussels at the end of this month, but not too much after that. Cuba and St Tropez trips are not really winter trips - you are right, they don't really have winters there.

Trobairitz - yes, very lucky to be so close to so many other countries.  You are lucky however to have so many terrific places to see in you own country. Even though my wife was born there, I have never been to Oregon.  I understand it has a lot to offer, especially if camping, so I can see why you are enjoying it so much.  I would be interested in reading a post from you on your blog about why you enjoy moto-camping so much.

Anonymous said...

A few of us are planning to ride our bikes out to the Bonneville Salt Flats for Speed Week 2012.

And I want to ride to the summits of Mt Evans and Pike's Peak (both over 14000 ft)

VStar Lady said...

You are so right ... planning keeps the excitement alive, but I just can't decide where to go next. There are so many roads to choose from.
Signed - Needs suggestions!

Oz said...

Living in Texas allows me to both plan for the summer (which I love doing) and still ride most days of the year. I am planning another trip to New Mexico and Colorado. I love planning, researching, etc.
Your trips sound great. I need to get over to Europe and do some riding.

redlegsrides said...

Sounds like quite the lineup of nice riding destinations Gary.....

Call it a sickness but I tend to prefer iffier weather for rides, finding sunny and breezy to be sometimes a bit boring. : )

Then again, I wouldn't say no to a ride around Europe, no matter the weather! : )


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

SonjaM said...

Oh, I love travel planning as much as I like traveling. And south of France sounds tempting to me.

Nothing set in stone yet but I would like to re-visit Montreal, go to Germany for a family gathering, and there is some talk about a cruise.

Gary France said...

No Name – I would love to go to Bonneville during Speed Week. Having never been, it remains a long-standing dream to do that. I am lucky that I have done Mt Evans and Pike’s Peak and I can thoroughly recommend them.

VStar Lady – The trouble is, once you have done a long ride like you recently did, you can get bitten so hard with the touring bug, that it hurts. The planning is almost as good as the doing.

Oz – You know, riding all year round must be terrific, but there is something about having a winter break, as it makes the anticipation of the coming riding season even higher. Sort of like what sports fans go thru during the off-season times.

Charlie 6 / Dom – If it is a sickness, then you have it really bad! I have noticed from many of your winter rides that the skies are often bright and clear and that you are riding in snow, which means you are riding in very cold, but relatively good weather. That is preferable to riding in the grey and wet days we get in the UJ each winter. Cold I could stand, but rain is horrible.

Sonja – I agree about travel planning. The south of France in May is a perfect first long run to the sun. I have never been on a cruise and don’t have any great desire to. I had a picture in my mind of you in full ATGATT riding round the decks!

Unknown said...


This is a cruel post, Knowing of all the places you'll be going, and knowing I'll be nowhere close. Someones got to do it, I suppose. Enjoy. I would tell you to keep your spirits up, but I don't think you've got any problems there.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Gary France said...

Brady - With you being 'Behind Bars' any travel must be difficult to read about from your cell! Seriously though, that is one of the coolest names for a blog I think I have ever seen. As you say, someones got to it it, or it would only be car drivers having fun and we can't have that!

Chris said...

Some of us don't mind winter because we are still riding. I am thinking about CA1. We'll have to see.

Gary France said...

Chris – I was thinking about normal riders when writing about winter riding. You, my friend, I do not class as a normal rider!

CA1 is a great road, without a doubt and I found some great places to see when riding it. If you are planning to go, let me know and I will point you at some of those places.