Yesterday on my Facebook page I got slammed a little for posting a video of a friend riding home after working a night shift - On her sporty - with her helmet cam on
In the video of my friend you could see she is running knobby tires on her sporty...
Some criticized - feeling that I was promoting riding in the snow and that it is unsafe and that since I am always promoting safety that I was wrong to post/share ii.
Now - in some regards they were right. I probably should have kept my amazed comment of good job to myself and not shared the video - I was mesmerized though - I really hadn't looked at it from the safety point of view.
But now that the topic has been broached - I gotta tell you I am intrigued.
It would appear that there is a sub culture of people who don't just get caught in a snow storm and have to continue riding, but people who actually seek to ride on the snow and ice.
I found a whole host of articles that talk about cold weather and snow riding, these are just a sampling of the articles I found:
From Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine-
From Lazymotorbike: http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/weather/
From Ice Road Bikers: http://motorcycleinfo.org/2008/08/ice-road-bikers/
From EZine Articles: http://ezinearticles.com/?Motorcycle-Riding-Tips:-Cold-And-Snow-Rides&id=5169024
MCN Magazine featured Snow Chains: http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/News/newsresults/General-news/2010/january/Biking-snow-chain-equivalent/
This article features a back right hand tire addition for the bike for stability: http://redlegsrides.blogspot.com/2008/11/sanokes-snow-outrigger.html
Ural riders seem to do a lot of snow riding - I know YKStorm in the NWT loves riding her Ural, through town, out on the ice roads and well - anywhere she'd ride her Harley in the summer.
Here's another interesting blog: http://www.mc-addict.com/aguidetowinterriding.htm
Here is a video of a guy riding his BMW on ice, in town: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gmDuJEAyuk
Now folks - I am in no way condoning anything here - I am attempting to
1: Educate myself as to the dangers of snow and ice riding. Being that I wear braces on both feet - there are a ton of things I would NEVER entertain doing myself.
This is one of them I would not do, but I decided to educate myself on the topic.
I love going to the ice races and watching the riders fly around the road course, I admire the skill it takes to ride on the ice and snow. Living in the far North - not the Extreme North like many people I know in the Northwest Territory, I am used to seeing a certain number of riders here who take their bikes to work - in the snow, on crap roads. There are not many - three or four - but they exist.
2 - I am hoping to enlighten others - for I know many who live way up north that have side cars and will ride no matter what. But what I never gave thought to it - and I guess it is because of where I live - I never once really gave thought to the safety - because I have never heard of, read of a rider being injured in the winter except at the races and I have always been exposed to winter riders.
There are guys like Paul Mondor: http://www.calsci.com/motorcycleinfo/PaulMondor.html
Paul is absolutely passionate about riding in a snow storm. He calls the term "ride of a life time" an understatement to explain riding in the snow.
Here he is on a cruiser: http://www.bikerspost.com/video/paul-mondor-frozen-butt-tour?commentId=2153104%3AComment%3A351059&xg_source=activity
I don't get it - I don't have the guts - but he talks about the fear - as he calls it GUT WRENCHING fear like it is something to embrace - he talks about pushing the limits - challenging yourself.
Here he is on the news: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8D4_L4nZ0
Here is info from the BMW rider page... http://www.bmwrvi.org/links/
Here is info on my friend Robin in the NWT and her Ural Side Car: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=422290&page=5
Check out her video channels on YouTube, or web site, read some of her articles on the Polar Bear Ride on January 1st...
After hours of reading and watching videos I finally found some information on accidents involving motorcycles on ice and snow - Here is an Accident alert from an insurance company - it makes reference to the Cardiff Call Centre for AA: http://www.thermahelm.com/blog/blog-post/2010/12/08/motorcyclists-beware-snow-related-accidents-rocket.html
This info from a motorcycle training school : https://www.lrn2ride.com/the-joys-of-winter-motorcycle-riding/
From the female riding site: Ride my own... http://www.ridemyown.com/links/winter.shtml
One link on her site isn't working right - the AMA one, here is the right one: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Riding/Street/Resources/KeepingWarm.aspx
From Bennett's in the UK: http://www.bennetts.co.uk/You-and-Your-Bike/Biking-Advice/Biking-Tips/Winter-Motorcycle-Riding-Tips/
Now folks - there are tons and tons more links like the ones I am giving you here - the Dneepers forums, the Adventure Riding Forums - heck there are even tours - mostly self guided that have been created for winter motorcycle tourism in the north.
I gotta tell yah - this is a sub culture of our community. Some do it far more prepared than others, but all seem to embrace the risk, the fear and for some they simply say: If I had to wait for a riding season, I would never get to ride.
Are they crazy? Are they foolhardy - I have no real answer to those questions. It is not something I would attempt but then again, with the braces on my feet, I wouldn't even attempt snowmobiling although I used to love it.
For the purposes of this blog post I stuck mostly to featuring North Americans, a number of them Canadians who seem to do and love the extreme, but if this topic at all intrigues you the way it did me well - go sign up for the ADVRider Forum - google or bing search motorcycles and snow, motorcycle riding in snow, snow riders or any other search term you can think of. You will find a vast array of difference in opinion on safety, on enjoyment, on skill and gear, accessories - in fact you will find a whole subculture from ice racers to road riders that think riding in the snow and ice is the cats arse!
(I also found that the number of bicycle riders who love to ride in the snow is also far more than I would have ever guessed had the thought ever truly crossed my mind.)
These riders who love riding so much, who embrace the adrenalin and as they call it - extreme gut wrenching fear - these people are either crazy or very skilled - or passionate or something....you either admire their accomplishments or shake your head at them - me - I think I fit in somewhere in the middle - mesmerized - amazed, awed and yet - would I attempt any of it? NOPE.
Canadians like Paul Mondor and the people who rode with him (3 riders - one of those riders rode across Canada both directions on his trip with Paul - his name is Steve Becraft : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogvxl46PX9g) and Robin from the NWT on her Ural to Mike Cole on his Harley riding across Canada in January for Diabetes Research...these are some extreme riders.
In closing I want to say that there is enough of a sub culture for snow and ice riding that an entire industry of cleats, studs, tire chains has evolved no to mention contraptions to add a third wheel or training wheels to your motorcycle or bike.
I never really gave it that much though before - the only times I have ridden in snow is during a storm on a road with no where safe to pull off. I am not that much of a die hard. I know my personal, physical limits.
I would love your feedback on this topic - Please note though - that I am neither condoning or bashing the snow and ice riders - this is about your opinions on the topic - would you ride on the snow and ice - ON PURPOSE? If yes - why and if no, why not.
Have a fantastic day - I gotta get to my other tasks...