#365daysofbiking Leaf it out:
October 16th – Time for an important warning to cyclists and motorcyclists alike – watch out for the fallen leaves at the moment. They’re very slippery indeed.
These innocuous piles of autumnal debris gradually get reduced under wheels to a slimy, soapy, wheel-steeling goop which will make you skid and catch you out when you least expect it to. Add to that rainwater, spilled diesel and other slippery stuff and the recipe is for a tumble.
In my experience the councils are pretty good at controlling the problem, but it’s an impossible task.
So watch where you’re riding and be careful out there!
August 8th – The rain came in Redditch just as I boarded the train back, and I thought it was probably in for the afternoon. I was however wrong, it seems to have been a narrow band of rain that passed the conurbation, and it approached me once more as I rode back from Shenstone. It caught me in the lanes.
The rain was sweet, warm and enjoyable when it came, following skies that would surely have won an Oscar for best supporting performance.
What wasn’t so great however was that one more, with insufficient rain to wash it away, the roads became greasy, slippery and soppy with the road debris and wash down.
It pains me to say it but we need heavy and prolonged rain to clear this away.
December 28th – It’s rare I’ve seen roads this hazardous.
Many of the backlanes as I returned at sunset, where gritters can never be expected to reach were thick with lurking black ice. On the ice stud tyres with lower air pressure I was sure-footed but careful; in a car or on a motorbike, hitting this at even moderate speed and braking would have you in the hedge.
Fine on the bike, when dismounting several times I slipped on foot.
This is of course the kind of weather we used to get every winter, but in recent years have been relieved of, so take care folks, particularly if on two wheels.
I know the forecast was to warm up overnight with rain, but this is dense, thick ice that will be well lubricated with meltwater in the following 24 hours.
Take care folks.
November 23rd – I mentioned this earlier in the week, but it’s deadly at the moment, so bears mentioning again – watch the paths and cycleways at the moment. They’re more slippery than a grease deal dipped in baby oil.
Algea, leaf mulch and general damp slime are combining to make the less well used paths treacherous. I nearly lost the bike twice today. The main reason is.a few days of light drizzle, but not enough rain to actually cleanse anything.
Although the routes in Telford are beautiful, they are to be ridden very, very carefully – and they’ll be in the same state everywhere.
November 21st – On the streets of Birmingham, the autumn leaves are making for a golden carpet, and as usual, however hard an army of street cleaners try, they fight a losing battle and all one can do is plough through the fallen remains of a summer past and enjoy the sounds, colour and sensation.
There is a downside, however: on urban pavers and country lanes, the leaves will mulch under foot and vehicle wheels, combine with rainwater, road oil and grease, and form a soapy, slippery wheel-stealing goop that will make riding a concentration suck for a few weeks to come.
Every season has it’s hazards.
November 16th – A hazardous time of year, and not just just from the black ice on frosty mornings. Many hazards lurk in the damp autumn waiting to steal the wheels from beneath the incautious cyclist – one of the worst is leaf mulch. Fallen leaves, ground into a pulp by feet and wheels turn to a soapy, slippery grease that makes steering and braking a hazard.Combine this on busy roads with road grime, oil and spilled diesel and you have a real recipe for an accident.
The only answer is to be vigilant, beware of the front brake and take it easy.