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Rob Goodall dons some bright green gloves to get this icepick done somewhere in Kippax.

Surviving Winter Words and Photographs: Thomas Halliwell

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inter can be a difficult time even for the best of us. This little island we call home is somewhat notorious for the terrible weather and yet, despite that reputation, it still seems everything grinds to a halt once even the slightest bit of poor weather kicks in. You would have thought we would have come up with some way of managing this at some point throughout the years but no, still we have public transport effectively shutting down, houses and towns flooding

and a whole host of other annoyances, all because we (as a country) can’t handle a bit of cold, wet or snow. C’est la vie, as the French would say. Now, alongside the hassle and annoyances of trying to find alternate ways of getting to school, university or work, what about those of us who want to get out and ride our bikes? Summer has just finished, that awesome time of year where they let the kids run wild for almost two months,

essentially banning you from your own public skatepark. That aside you might have had a couple of decent rides but now the clocks have changed, it’s dark when you wake up and it’s dark when you get home. Things aren’t looking good, what can you do now? How is it that this country can make something as simple as riding a little bike as difficult as it does? Well, luckily there are a few options out there that can help keep you sane throughout those cold few months.


Man Up One option we have for the more brave and dedicated amongst you is to simply man up. Buy yourself a bigger coat, wear an extra pair of socks and gloves and go out anyway. This option can be difficult and it only really works against the cold, riding in the wet or snow is never too brilliant an idea. Those who have the time or knowledge could look at the option of creating a “dry spot”, old abandoned warehouses are great for this, but you didn’t hear it here. Get together with a few friends and you’ll be surprised how quickly you could have a few ramps built in a convenient location to get away from the weather. Just remember not to tell that one guy, that one guy who will invite everyone you don’t want inviting resulting in your spot being shut down much before its time. Everyone hates that guy. Indoor Parks Indoor parks are another option for those of us who absolutely have to ride with the current surge of new parks being built it’s not like you’re short of a few options. Here in Leeds we have the Works Skatepark, with new parks in Doncaster, Sheffield and Halifax just short train journeys away. Ah, you say, this brings us back to the public transport situation. Up there with spiders is another one of my least favourite things; getting stranded at some unfamiliar train station in the cold, wet or snow with no idea if another train is going to show up. Your phone battery is usually dead at this point too because once upon a time sod made a law. On top of all this, in case you’ve somehow forgotten, those scooter kids you had the pain of dealing with all Summer are at these parks, enclosed in 4 walls and hyped up on energy drinks. They’ve also multiplied, tenfold. To be fair a lot of the parks do run BMX only nights and I’m sure many people greatly appreciate this. It stops a lot of the unfounded rivalry between different groups of people and all the ignorance that comes along with it. A lot of the time this might suffice. The major downfall of these parks is, of course, the price. Having to spend close to £15, including travel and membership costs, every time you want to ride your bike for a couple of hours just doesn’t quite seem realistic. Some people are fine with that but we would much rather see the local pub get that money. To each his own and all that. Alternate Hobbies Something you may wish to consider is looking into alternate hobbies. If there is simply no way you can make BMX a viable option for the cold half of the year then you’ll probably have to. Things that induce similar adrenaline levels would be

Danny Clayton, opposite lookback at the Works Skatepark, Leeds

“Buy yourself a bigger coat, wear an extra pair of socks and gloves and go out anyway.” a good place to start, snowboarding or skiing would be ideal. Unfortunately us Brits usually get maybe one day of snow before it is rained away so you can’t always rely on such a thing. Indoor hobbies such as learning to play the guitar are also a good way of wiling away your time, it also has easily measurable levels of progress that you really can see. The more work you put in the better you get. There has to be something out there that you like doing just as much as BMX, it’s just a case of finding it. This can seem a little hard once you’ve gotten a bit older but you’re never too old to try.

Go Down to the Pub If all else fails, you’ve literally given up all hope of ever taking your little bike outside again, those nice folk who work at the pub at the end of your street will always welcome you in with open arms. Perhaps not the best choice but easily one of my favourites. A couple of pints and a nice dinner and you’ll soon forget all about that bike you wanted to ride earlier. It’ll still be there waiting for you when the weather gets better, don’t you worry about that. So there we have it. A few nice ways of keeping yourself busy throughout those dark months. You could listen to any of those or you could do like everyone else in those seasons and eat everything possible. Either way it’s not so bad, who knows maybe next year will be better!


Surviving Winter