Thursday, 15 November 2012

Glorious Mud

Boy did I have a ride yesterday. Its that time of year when all the agricultural types (and I'm surrounded by them out here) conspire against us motorcycle types to make a final concerted effort to get us sliding down the roads before the frost and ice arrives.



Encounter 1. Less than a mile from home, at the start of my journey, I find `Benny` and his tractor, with its 6 foot high tyres and massive contraption bolted to it. It looked like a pile of moving scaffolding. From a distance it looked like it was surrounded by a flock of brown birds but as I got closer I realised the `birds` were clods of soggy mud being liberally sprayed along the road, landing with a dull splat (there are many dull splats living round here, too). I picked my moment, sounded the horn and passed him by onto the clean tarmac ahead of him. He didn't hear me anyway as standard fit motorcycle horns sound like a donkey with a sore throat, plus he was talking on a mobile telephone.



Encounter 2. Within 5 miles Benny's mates had done a great little number on a stretch of B road, through a series of sweeping bends, no doubt having been warned of my approach via aforementioned mobile phone. It was well spread about and they had taken great care to ensure that not only was there plenty of mud on the crown of the bend where my lean angle would be at its peak, but even the approach, where I would be slowing down/braking, gave the road a sort of `ploughed field on tarmac` effect. Nice. Thank you BMW for fitting traction control and ABS, albeit I managed without either, although a third wheel would have been handy at this point. 45 minutes later and I had reached my destination.

Encounter 3. The first half of the return journey was uneventful and enjoyable, with the temperature hovering around a balmy 10C with the skies clear and blue as the afternoon sun reached the last hour of it's traverse and descent. I left the A roads for the final 12 miles. Big mistake. Benny's mobile network of rustic chums in tractors had been busy whilst I'd been enjoying an americano and eccles cake with a chunk of Lancashire cheese. This time they'd had time to really do a number on me. So cocky were they, that they'd even put a sign up saying `Mud On Road`. As I slowed gently down on the approach to a right hander I met my nemesis. There was no `mud on road`, the road was mud, a mid-brown-inches-deep river of the stuff. From hedgerow to hedgerow it was a bloody swamp as far as my vision extended.  I am no novice and for the previous 3 winters in North Yorkshire there were only 8 days when, for safety reasons, I didn't use the bike to get to work because it was minus 12 and the council had run out of salt to clear compacted snow and ice, but this was way too much and downright dangerous so I turned round and found another way home.



Leaving mud on the road is actually a criminal offence, but its one of those things where nothing is done unless something bad happens - and anyway farmers put food in the shops and can't be expected to carry a bucket and brush around with them as they traverse the countryside shouting "Git orf moi land". Bless `em.

Now this is skid control. I was billetted for nine months in one of the buildings that overlooked this skid pan. I've watched those instructors, in big Rover V8's, chasing each other backwards with the grace of ballet dancers  (but I bet he couldn't do it on a motorbike).


18 comments:

Anonymous said...

The skid pan is no more. No MetCars are without stability control so the skill is no longer required...

Hogdayafternoon said...

Anon: I absolutely believe you. There is nothing left in that regard that will surprise me. I am sitting, watching the two souls from the council sat in the village hall opposite, out of their minds with boredom, waiting for the voters in the Policing Commissioners election....and waiting, and waiting

"If you build it, they will come.....but it's being knocked down"

Trobairitz said...

Wow, I thought the farmers' rigs left mud and crap on the back roads around here, but it sounds like you have it worse.

Hubby said guts from pumpkins spread across the rod are really slick as well. He used to have to ride by a processing plant every day and during pumpkin season the roads were bad as the pumpkin innards spilled on the road.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Troub`: The pictures were off Google images but the text was no exaggeration. Pumpkin innards ay? Never heard that excuse in thirty years of policing :))

rosco said...

Sometime people do die though because of mud on the road and, even more rarely, a farmer gets procesuted because of it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10377971

The police also ended up being blamed for not putting out warning signs.

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

Funny - I lived just outside Towcester for a while and I too was convinced all the local Farmer Giles' were in radio contact and conspiring against the non tractor driving locals.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Thanks Rosco. I'll add that link to the post.

Hi Dave. I used to live in Northants.

BillB said...

HD - in my neck of the woods along the river levee during season there are these giant combines that have to use the road - things will take up 3/4ths of the road - but have to say - no mud.

But no place to go unless you want to swim on one side or go down a 30' incline on the other.

On the unique "experiences" of motorcycle riding - had an eccentric uncle years ago who lived in the Hills above Warner Brothers Studios.

He got into motorcycle riding and after learning on a Honda 305 got a BMW R65 (this was awhile back - he also had a turquoise MGA roadster) -

Anyway I remember him saying how he would be behind a Los Angeles city bus at a stop light - on a hill - and when the light turned green, that old diesel spewed off those diesel things - it was a thing to behold.

bob skoot said...

HD:

I have no experience in mud so I would chicken out and turn around too.

I imagine that mud covers up the whole paved portion. I wonder how all that mud got there ? Stuck in the treads ?

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Hogdayafternoon said...

Bill: Diesel...another killer substance on our roads, often caused by over-filling of heavies and the excess venting onto the tarmac a la James Bond's Aston Martin. There is an on-going MAG campaign re this(see MAG link/banner on this blog).

Bobskoot: I'm sure you wouldn't chicken out, you'd make a considered decision!

Hogdayafternoon said...

Ps Bob skoot. Saw your Flickr pics. Nice angle shots. Was the oriental lady in Gastown by any chance?

bob skoot said...

HD:

have you been to Vancouver ? It was close to Gastown but a few blocks away on Carrall/Pender streets. It was just a grab shot and they were looking at me.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Hogdayafternoon said...

Bob Skoot: Been to Vancouver a couple of times in the last ten years. Also to Victoria.

BillB said...

HD - have you tried this device when practicing skid control?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AOqa3c0AOA

You can't really see the auxiliary wheels too well but they sure accentuate skidding 1000%.

MTG said...

I suspect this farmer is just aware of the 'Cotton-bud and Solvol' polishing regime of ardent bikers.

Hogdayafternoon said...

MTG: I guess so, although my bills for cleaning products have reduced dramatically since i traded my Harley.

Anonymous said...

When I was County Engineer, farmers were no problem. Loggers gave me fits, however.

Quartermaster said...

Oops! The anon above was me - QM