Riding home for Christmas

Following the editorial in issue 403, John Hersevoort recalls how he used to wrap up for winter trips over 50 years ago.

I’m 69 years old and have been riding motorcycles since 1967. I ride all year round and have always done so.

The Friday before Christmas, I had to collect a crankcase that had been welded, a round trip of 230 miles. The weather was awful: high winds, heavy rain and cold, but I was warm and dry. The waterproof gloves became wet but I had reserve gloves with me (old and wise).

While this isn’t a picture of John, it is the Dragon Rally, in 1966, demonstrating the weather, and clothing, that prevailed at the time. (Photo – Mortons archive, wwwmortonsarchive.com)

When I arrived home, I stopped in my local pub; I really needed a beer after such an awful trip. The young girl, 19 years old, said: “Isn’t it cold on the motorbike?” A sigh from me (it’s a frequently asked question) and the standard NATO reply: “No, I’m not cold, modern clothing is so good and I have electric gloves and winters aren’t cold any more.”

Then the Christmas song, ‘Driving home for Christmas’ came on, reminding me of my 22 years in the RAF, when I used to drive home for Christmas and Christmas is winter time, and we had real winters then. The girl is 19 years old, and has never seen a real winter.

With global warming, the last 20 years have seen the climate change.


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