Barbour International: Best Winter Rides with Alec Sharp

In the finale of our best winter rides series, we sat down with Alec Sharp of Old Empire Motorcycles to discover his favourite rides around the East Anglian coast.

December 19th 2016

In 1908, we introduced our first oilskin suit for motorcycling, and our love affair with biking began. Today, we seek to share our passion with likeminded people across the globe. That’s why we couldn’t wait to chat with Alec Sharp, Custom Bike Builder of Old Empire Motorcycles, to find out which amazing Great British roads are the best for an exciting, winter ride.

Find out what makes Alec tick when it comes to testing his custom bikes on the winter roads.

 Pictured our B.Intl Steve McQueen Hairpin Slim Fit Shirt.


1.         When it’s winter, do you have any particular motorcycling routes that become your new seasonal favourites?

I thoroughly enjoy a ride to the coast from our workshop. It’s around an hour or so ride to either Southwold or Aldeburgh on the east coast. The roads are tight and windy and can be hard work, but it’s fairly flat around this way!

Another route we usually embark upon every now and then is the 15-minute trip down to Banham for a visit to the Garden House pub, the scenery on the way is beautiful.

2.         You mentioned seeing lots of beautiful scenery, what kind of things have you discovered along these routes?

The route to the coast takes you through some beautiful villages. If you go through Framingham you can ride right past a beautiful old castle, then through to Yoxford where you’ll find one of the best little antiques shops tucked down a quiet road.

The route to the Garden House pub is a short one, but by no means uninteresting! We travel right through the low areas of the Fenland, then along and up into Quidenham and Kenninghall, brushing the edge of the Thetford forest.

3.         Why are these routes particularly good at this time of year?

The routes that I described utilise the best of the surrounding environments and sights. Just make sure that when you ride in the winter, you travel in the most protected way possible to avoid wind-chill, ice and although, rare any snow drifts! Both these routes are built up with trees, hills and buildings, saving you slightly from the bitter winds.

4.         Can you recommend any great places to stop off along these winter routes?

It is well worth having a quick nosy at the Yoxford antiques store before grabbing yourself a piping hot portion of a fish and chips on the main street in Aldeburgh – although, you should expect a queue, even in winter!

5.         What is it about these winter routes that make them extra special?

For the coastal trip I think it’s the varying countryside that appeals to me so much, from travelling through open arable land, to fields full of free-range livestock, and alongside old country estates. As the coast nears, the temperatures drop and the air gets crisper, and you can even taste the salt on the air.

6.         What would you typically wear when riding in the winter?

To beat the chills, I’ll always pop on my Barbour International Wax Jacket over a woollen jumper, along with a pair of jeans, scarf and gloves – that usually does the job!

In case you missed our last blog with Alec, we unveiled him as our third rider in #TeamBarbourInt.

Discover our AW16 Barbour International Menswear collection.