Snow-covered roads at last
Despite the evidence from scenes of chaos being reported from across the UK, it is just possible that the British motorist is beginning, at the third (fourth if you count the earlier freeze this winter) time of counting, to get to grips with driving on snow.
Last year and, indeed, the year before, following heavy snowfall, the only roads relatively clear of snow were the big ones, sheer weight of traffic having swept clear the path of motor vehicles to leave a soft foul slush either side and in the middle. Once away from these roads, the minor ones were a playground of packed snow, rutted for spice and adventure and great fun to ride.
Cabin fevered, I went out yesterday in the hope of finding much the same conditions, which pertained in my own street. Out came the Fuquay mtb, recently fitted with flatty/spd “one each side” pedals and off I went up my hill, past a vainly-sliding vintage MGB GT that was giving as fine an indication as any of one reason why front wheel drive supplanted rwd for most cars.
My garb might have looked unconventional but it worked. Wellies, jeans and a big, thick anorak plus gloves and hat will win no style awards and I won’t be trying the outfit on the office commute, but I was warm and comfortable.
Trouble is, the packed snow playgrounds I was hoping for were hard to find. Instead, even the minor roads either side of the main one were boring tramways of slush, with the thick muck to the sides an unpleasant riding prospect. Thinking hard, I remembered a quiet private road (with permission to use) not too far away and headed for it.
On the way I found a couple of roads covered in packed snow as evidence of how little traffic uses them. Otherwise it was easy but boring and flithy going until I got there, evidence that plenty of cars were moving around pretty freely on roads that only 24 hours earlier had been under six inches of snow. Which was not the case a year ago.
Finding enough fun on the way home meant, ultimately, taking to a bridleway. otherwise I might have ridden 15 miles with only five of them on proper snow. Where’s the fun in that?