Riding in winterland

VILHELMINA, SWEDEN

-8°C, 13 days, 1840 km

Bike: Triumph Street Scrambler 900

Ice racing in Lapland – a winter adventure

"Try to ignore your instincts when going out on the ice, turn off your brain and just trust the bike!", was the main advice I got from former stunt legend Sune Andersson – so that's what I did. I ignored my brain screaming at me to do not lean into the curves, instead I gave extra throttle and behaved like I was on smooth asphalt on a warm summer day. The euphoria that followed was the most rewarding feeling I've felt in a long time.

I arrived to Vilhelmina in southern Lapland after three days of riding in snow, on ice and slush-laden roads. My Triumph Street Scrambler (who I named Snövit) was fitted with studded tyres, heated grips and extra hand covers. I had never ridden more than a few kilometers during winter before and this was not the last time – for sure!

How to ride on ice

01/

GET THE TYRES RIGHT

I used Continental Twinduro together with studs from Best Grip.

02/

LEAN FORWARD

Lean forward on top of the bike when cornering, sitting on the upper edge of the seat with the bike leaned sharply underneath you.

03/

IGNORE YOUR BRAIN

It'll feel strange in the beginning, but that's just in your head.

04/

MAXIMISE TRACTION

Put your weight on the outside peg to maximise traction. Drag your inside foot on the ice as a third contact point. Don’t put too much weight on the foot to avoid hooking it on rough ice or getting it trapped under the rear tyre.

05/

STEER WITH THE REAR

As you get faster, learn to back the bike into the turns. This gets the bike turned with the rear rather than ‘steering’ with the front, which can increase the risk of the front sliding out.

06/

GO FOR THE SNOW BANKS

Going to drop it? Head for the snow banks.

07/

HAVE FUN!

Don't think too much, have fun and continue challenging yourself at your own speed.

Tips given by the pro himself; Sune Andersson.

The ROUTE

STOCKHOLM – ÅNGE

Took the highway to Uppsala, then the classical road trip route "Tidernas Väg" that consists of road 272 and 83. Read more here.

ÅNGE – VILHELMINA

E14 + E45 (I took the bigger roads to be sure of good quality).

SANDVIKEN

VILHELMINA

ÖSTERSUND

ÅNGE

STOCKHOLM

GEAR

UNDER LAYERS

01/

HEATED UNDER LAYERS + MERINO WOOL

I used double under layers, first a heated kit from Mobile Warming and then a sealing layer in merino wool from Icebreaker.

02/

HEATED SOCKS

Socks with a heating system from Pro Heat + thermo pads to put over the toes when it's very cold outside.

03/

WOOL SWEATER

A warming wool sweater. 

04/

NECK WARMER + BALACLAVA

Neck warmer with fleece and a balaclava to keep the top of the head warm.

OVER LAYERS

05/

WIND STOPPING GORE-TEX

Very important to use a jacket and pants that stop both wind and rain. I used jacket and pants from Triumph's "Snowdon" set.

06/

HELMET WITH PINLOCK

Normal touring helmet works fine, but a peak for the wind is good. I used tape to cover the ventilation holes on my Shoei NXR. Pinlock is a must to avoid fog.

07/

BOOTS

The hardest part to keep warm is the toes. I used my normal touring boots from Sidi, but they weren't perfect. It worked with heated socks and thermal pads + stopping to warm them up once or twice.

08/

HEATED GLOVES

Gloves with batteries from IXS – I loved them! A very good choice, especially if you don't have heated grips.

“This was my first time on a track and once Sune had reassured me that the Scrambler and the tyres would give me perfect traction, I trusted him and went for it. This is something everyone should try at least once!”

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© 2019 by Hanna C Johansson