Wil:Wanna come to Wales for the weekend and ride some trails again with Ride the Wild?
I look at the weather…..snow, ice and severe weather warnings across most of the UK for the weekend and week to come….
Me: Sure thing.
That was the way it went. I left London at 11.30am on Friday and started my way up towards Wales. It was cold, around 1c, but felt like -5c with the wind chill, but I had my heated gloves and handlebar grips and many layers under my jacket to keep the cold out and my body warm. The first and really only part of my body to get cold were my toes and feet. Pretty soon they felt like blocks of ice hanging off my legs.
Then ,just past Birmingham, and heading west toward Shrewsbury it started to snow, and it came down fast and heavy. The roads were not gritted and the drivers were not prepared for it, and as usual, the car drivers were unaware in their warm cars just how bad the roads were getting.
I had to pull over at one point because the road was just too slippery and I also wanted to see where Wil was, and let him know what was laying ahead for him to ride into! I managed to get hold of him and he was about an hour behind me. I decided I would wait for him to catch up so we could ride together, it would be safer that way in case one of us got into any trouble and if it got any worse along the way we would be able to help one another out.
I let some cars go past and let them put a good line in the road before I continued at a crawl along the A5, finally find a service area to pull into and wait for Wil……..and let my feet warm up! I had to wash them in the sink of the Starbucks (sorry!) as they were frozen and I was worried that frost bite could set in. That done and two coffees and 45 minutes later Wil finally arrived. He had ridden past 8 accidents on the A5 stretch that I had called him from. So the weather had got worse…..
Wil was pretty cold too, so e had another coffee and warmed up, checked the weather and debated whether or not we should continue or go back. Going back wasn’t an option as we had come this far, and riding together would be safer and after all it’s only snow, and we are off road riders, so with a little care and caution, it should be fine….should be. We set off with the snow adding to the adventure, and the roads clearing up a little and rideable at around 40mph max at times. The snow came down thick and fast at some points making it difficult to see and ride in. Myself and Wil both felt a strange sensation that we were riding at speed but it appeared that we were not moving at all. It felt very strange indeed and not one that’s good to have in conditions like that. The snow was so heavy that my eyes were so busy trying to see into the distance, but all I could see was black, and the warm yellow glow of my Clearwater Erica lights that were pointing down at the ground which was covered in thick snow. We crawled at speeds between 10mph & 30mph all the way to Talyllyn on the west coast of Wales. It was a hairy, scary ride with accidents, road closures and diversions in place, until about 15 miles out of Talyllyn when the white roads dissapeared and the roads turned black again! The snow was not laying in these parts yet and they had been gritted so we had traction again! What a joy! We finally arrived in Talyllyn at around 9.45pm! A nice long ride, but we were there safe and sound and the bikes had done us proud.