Thursday, 29 November 2012

Elephants in the snow

As winter draws closer, temperatures drop and road conditions become more and more dangerous and treacherous.

Of course, modern motorcycling gear is fantastic, keeping you warm and dry without being too bulky and hindering your movements on the bike. But how did riders cope in the good old days before the existence of Goretex, Thinsulate, Cordura and so on? The other day I came across this short French documentary film from 1970 about the fabled Elefantentreffen motorcycle rally in Germany. The most high-tech clothing in sight is the Belstaff wax-cotton jacket, and full-face helmets for road use didn’t exist yet. But that didn’t stop hundreds of riders from braving sub-zero temperatures, sleet, snow and black ice to get to the Nürburgring, including 80-year old Robert Sexé (note the prudish spelling of his surname in the opening credits – “Autres temps, autres moeurs” as the French would say), a journalist who had already been round the world a few times by bike.


So we really don’t have any excuse for not riding once temperatures drop into single figures. Just get a cheap winter hack, invest in some good riding gear and get out there on the road – who knows, you might even like it!

Film footage © INA

No comments:

Post a Comment