5 min read

Hello everyone and welcome to the post-lockdown second edition of chair’s chatter, which should only be read if you are in tiers one to three but if more likely to reduce you to tears of boredom if you continue to read this and don’t skip through to the exciting stuff.

First of all I hope that you have enjoyed (will enjoy) the Christmas holiday and that you have (or will have had) the chance to celebrate with the maximum number of people allowable under the current Government Tier system.

We recently took part in the modern day equivalent of Operation Dynamo. At the behest of HM Government and the University of Wolverhampton, we were given the green light to take our small craft to the Midlands and landed on a small side street, duly filled up with term-long used duvets, washing and Breville Sandwich toaster, whilst all the while dodging the axis troops (or the unmasked as they are known), in order to release our son from his 3m x 3m confinement space called Halls of Residence and bring him home for Christmas.

Not much has been happening on the LAM front, save for the first meeting of the Committee post AGM and welcome on-board to Diogo and to John. Thank you for stepping up and supporting the group in two crucial roles.

Unfortunately, although we had begun to resume OR's and AOR's, these have had to be suspended as they cannot be held within Covid protocols. I suspect that even with a vaccine, we will need to keep our way of operating under review for some time; so please bear with us and even though it’s winter, there may still be some fine days out there to get on your bike and get some practice miles under your belt. Even if practice means going to an empty car park to work on 20 minutes of slow riding.

 

Which leads me nicely into my confession

My name is Paul and I have a kit problem! This is box one of two, which are both full of gloves, inner gloves, heated gloves, heated inner gloves and various silks or carbon gloves all of which are designed to keep us warm when out on the bike. In addition to these, I have a couple of trunks full of trousers, leather, textile and heated; and two biker tidies worth of jackets and thermal liners.

Why? Well, it goes back to my younger days when I experienced cold in an environment where you were cold and that was part of the job - and I mean cold to the very core. Ever since then, I promised myself that I would never willingly let myself feel like that ever again but rather stupidly forgot that I rode a motorcycle and I have been on a quest to find the perfect set up ever since. No one likes being cold (well I am sure there are some dark web websites where people do) but I don’t think we realise why, if we are going to ride, that it is essential to try and keep warm.

Anyone returning to work recently will have been greeted with the morning temperature test, which should (if you are healthy) read around 37 C. Hypothermia occurs when the body drops to 35C or less and even with the best Rukka in the world, the weather factors alone during the winter will often drive your core temperature below this.

It’s one of the reasons we as a group postpone training at anything of 5c or below, not because we aren’t hardy types, but the wind chill factor when riding your bike at 20mph or more will easily reduce your core temperature to 35c or less, and you might not even realise this

I was out on an OR once with an Associate who wore leathers over which they had a thermal top and what started as a great ride quickly went downhill. When I stopped the ride, their lips where blue but they themselves had not registered they were that cold. We all do this to a degree, often thinking we will just get home and warm up and thus ride a bit faster, just at the point where our brains are slowing down and the blood is being moved away from our extremities such as fingers, hands and feet (vital for quick reactions on a bike).

So why am I saying this? Well many of us are now using our bikes more and perhaps this is the first winter we have ridden into town (because of COVID and not wanting to use public transport) and towns (by which I mean London, a city) are a little warmer than the outlying commuter belts or countryside and can often lull you into a false sense of actual temperature, so you might not think you need to wrap up as much. Generally, this is fine in the morning going in, you leave your dry home in your lovely dry kit, ride in, in the rain, but it’s okay I have a waterproof jacket, get to work, change, hang the kit up and go about your day.

Come five o’clock, you get kitted up, jacket and gloves are still a little wet, the liner of your helmet is definitely not dry and now it’s dark and the temperature is going down – that’s an easy cocktail to reduce 2 degrees from your core! So, stay safe, stay alert of “SELF” and where possible, buy the best kit you can. Not only will it protect you when it needs to, it will also keep you warm and alert.

From my hoard, the best kit I have is my warm and safe base layer – heated, but failing that, I am a massive fan of Merino wool (not the Spurs manager) or if you really want to push the boat out, buy Rukka down X – expensive and there are other alternatives out there, but worth every penny.

If you don’t have the budget for additional winter comforts, then please just be aware that just a 2 degree drop in your core can have a significant negative impact to your riding and concentration.

You probably spend time winterising your bikes, don’t forget to winterise you, but recognise when this isn’t working!

Roll on 2021 and as Ringo says “peace and love, peace and love

Paul

Ps I am told that a portion of freshly cooked chips works well down the front of your jacket, but not on a sports bike - unless you like salt and vinegar mash!


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