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18th January 2005

Winter Rides 6 - Mystery Pic Identified!

Just when you thought it was safe to venture out on your classic bike... here comes the snow! Could be worse. You could live in Iceland...

Mystery Pic Identified!

The unknown photo is a picture of my two daughters on one of my bikes, an Ariel/Matchless mix-bike. When I bought the bike I was told that this bike was made because the owner had a Matchless with a broken motor and a very rusty Ariel. The bike was very worn when I got it so I rebuilt it and, because it is a mix of two bikes, I did not have any obligation to make it close to standard, I just tried to let it look good.

So now we know. Isn't the internet fantastic?

I must confess that we did not take a long Christmas ride as on that day we had very cold and windy weather! However, if it was difficult to ride a motorbike when the picture was taken, then it is impossible now. At least it would mean some work for me, as where I normally can see the garage door is just snow to be seen at the moment.

The very small things at the foot of that big hill are buildings and ships.

Thorbergur Kjartansson. A name, not an anagram.Although the snow keeps me from using my bikes for riding at the moment, I do find it much better to do some work on the bike in the garage rather than watching TV. I am also, like the man from Japan, very keen on skiing.

To let you know how bikes look in Icelandic scenery when it's not completely dark, I have also sent two pictures of my Norton. One of the pictures has Isafjordur in the background, and, I am to be seen on the other.

Thorbergur Kjartansson,
in Isafjordur in the north-west of Iceland


Lundy: Storm 10 Increasing Violent Storm 11, Moderate Becoming Poor

The Christmas Day blizzard at Bude was greeted with cries of 'Stuff that! Pass me the sofa'. When we moved to the West Country - in part to enjoy a longer riding season - we weren't aware that hailstorms and genuine proper snowfall were on the agenda for Christmas Day.

Perhaps they aren't normally; perhaps it was just because we intended to go for a ride. Either way: job done before begun, more turkey, vicar?

Two days later looked more like it, and we even thought we were in with a chance of a cuppa at The Piers cafe. Once more I was undone, this time by my lack of faith. I chose not to ride one of the classics - not even the all-weather Snarley - but plumped for the BeeEmm with its heated handlebar grips and ABS and all that.

Oh me of little faith.

If only I'd taken an unfaired, low level lightweight instead of the tall modern machine with all of its gubbins.

Shivering Rowena and Smirking Frank not shown.

Got blown to bits in the astonishingly strong wind (so this is what Violent Storm means...), thoroughly miserable ride - only alleviated by seeing even more miserable riders on sportbikes creatively going the other way and sideways at the same time - not at all helped by the fact that the Bigger Half chose to ride the borrowed Enfield and had a great time on it, belting off into the far distance with scant regard for the Low, 949, falling steadily. The Piers Caff, naturally, was shut. We returned, me shivering, him smirking.

Following day, slept through the shipping forecast when it actually said 'Hurricane 12'. Dammit. I've never heard it say 'Hurricane 12'. Strangely uninspired to ride...

Until. Finally. Clear blue skies. Roads still filthy but (shhh, don't tell Watsonian) it's a borrowed bike. Finally, a winter ride worthy of the name. 50 miles or more of country lane in shatteringly bright sunlight, each breath sharp and fresh, eyes watering, tyres sliding, exhaust echoing between high, high hedges as we romped up three-in-one switchback clifftop tracks to greet the walkers at the summit, with their children and their dogs and their welcoming grins.

Happy New Year? I should say so.

Rowena Hoseason

Enfield Stuff on


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