Today was my first time for riding a motorcycle in snow and ice.
After spending a couple of cold days on the Central Coast of NSW helping out my parents, I didn’t want to do the motorway run back to Canberra so I opted for a cross-country. Far more interesting, less traffic, lots of fun, it just takes longer.
After experiencing the cold snap in NSW and checking out the weather report over the weekend, I was wondering whether I would have the opportunity to go the cross-country route back to Canberra.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) indicated that by Tuesday the weather would have cleared. Today, after a morning BOM check, it indicated, clear skies, a 20% chance of showers with snow falls above 1100 metres; I said, why not!
All the way across the Blue Mountains, it was clear skies and a temperature of around 7-9 Deg C. After a lunch stop at Lithgow it was on to Oberon, then Goulburn via Shooters Hill.
As I got closer to Oberon, the skies and clouds reminded me of skiing weather and I got that, “OK, this could be interesting” feeling.
As I header towards Shooters Hill, the first thing I noticed was the ice flake flashing on the dashboard of my motorcycle, the warning sign for ice on the road, the temperature had hit 2.5 Deg C.
The second sign was the snow starting to appear in paddocks and on the hills, next the snow started appearing on the road.
The wind had picked up and there were the snow flurries going across the road.
By this time I was slightly concerned as wet patches were appearing on the road, and the further I went, the whole road became fully wet. Low temperatures and wet roads can spell “Black Ice”. That’s ice that forms on wet roads and looks like any ordinary wet road with the exception it’s actually a sheet of ice.
Black ice and motorcycles don’t mix at all, so I said to myself “keep your cool, it’s just like skiing…. I think?”
Looking behind me from where I had come, an ominous cloud had come across and a retreat didn’t seem like a viable option. So it was onward and forward south with a prayer.
Was it cold?
Yep, it got down to 1 Deg C and it’s getting near 3.00pm in the afternoon, see the picture above while the bike was stationary, so it was colder with the wind chill factor.
Electric handgrips and seats are definitely worth it along with warm riding gear.
The BMW has traction control, I was wondering if it was going to cut in at any time!
When I come across wet road situations like this, my approach is to slow down, go lightly and lean little through the corners, no sudden braking moves. I didn’t seem like the road was icy but there were some areas that had the cringe factor about them, it was the “I’m not sure about this”.
When I finally descended from the Shooters Hill region, the temperature rose to 4.5 Deg C and there it stayed all the way back to Canberra.
This type of snow ride is something I had always wanted to do, but now having done it, my first time for riding a motorcycle in snow and ice may be my last.