This picture above was taken in Biarritz on Thursday, and shows the rain clouds hanging over the Pyrenees, looking towards Spain. What a stunning place this is.
2017 was a great year for riding in the Pyrenees and I feel certain that 2018 will bring more superb trips to this wonderful region, hopefully with some of you that are reading this here with me too.
I write this blog from Paris, having come here to spend the New Year with family from the USA. The ride up, covering some 780km, was rather "testing"; being battered by some huge cross-winds, then having to deal with rain along with the wind, and then final run into wet Paris with really busy city traffic.
These events over a full day on the bike make me realise that winter riding is all about reading and managing the conditions on that particular day, and adapting with your riding skills to what you find on the road.
Managing these conditions is about looking for where the wind may affect your bike and how you plan to handle the blast, which could take you off line or into danger. Signs I look for are:-
* Open countryside that allows a strong side wind
* Preparing for a bridge or trees that may block the wind or stop the side wind
* The "bow-wave" from a truck that you are passing, which when you pass can suck you into the vehicle
A technique for controlling the steering is rolling off the throttle the get more weight over the front wheel, which is what make the bike settle - always considering that as you slow down, there is no-one close behind.
Parked up safe in Paris, ready for the New Year celebration, I wish all readers a Happy New Year and look forward to meeting you in 2018!!