Winter riding – some do, some don’t. I rarely take the thermal liners out of my motorbike suit even in the summer, so it’s not surprising that I tend to wimp out once the temperature reaches single digits. However, I know other Scottish bikers that ride every day, all year round and don’t even own a car (kudos!)
Can you ride the Crieff Cloverleaf during the winter? If you’re a hardy soul you could probably withstand the winter temperatures on a clear, sunny day. It’s worth remembering that our winter days are short though. It’s the price we pay for our glorious long summer evenings…
Of course, there are other things to take into account. If you’re riding wide open roads through the mountains, especially at higher altitudes such as on the Cairngorm Plateau, you’ll find it much colder than in the city. The biker hotspot of Braemar, the first stop on the Crieff Cloverleaf North route, is regularly the coldest town in the whole of Scotland! (We’d better make that hotspot hotter…)
Obviously the conditions matter. You don’t want to head out on a day when the roads are going to be icy or too snowy. Some of the most beautiful Cloverleaf roads can actually be closed to all traffic after heavy winter snowfall – even the A9, which is the main arterial road between southern and northern Scotland! (You can spot the big snow gates near Drumochter Pass, the highest point on the A9, when you ride the third leg of the Crieff Cloverleaf North.)
Also, it’s worth noting that the Crieff Cloverleaf routes feature some adventurous single-track wilderness roads. These won’t generally be cleared of snow or treated for ice. They may not be passable at all in winter, unless you’re a veteran off-roader with a suitable bike.
The main biking season in Scotland runs from early April to early October, and this is the best time to plan your motorcycle adventure on the Crieff Cloverleaf – especially if you fancy a blether with all the other motorbike riders you’ll meet on the route!