Updated Dec 15, 2021 ...
Getting Through Winter With Or Without Your Motorcycle
Every motorcycle enthusiast dreams of living in a region where all-season riding is possible. For many of us, that's not an option. Like you perhaps, here I sit, biding my time as days go by, working the math on my cabin fever equation. As with any of my partially informed ideas, I see this as an opportunity to research, reflect and document. Each activity below serves to maintain sanity with anticipation for the next riding year.
“Many midwestern motorcyclists catch the winter blues. Here are a few ways to stay entertained between riding seasons.”
Had we thought to produce a podcast on these matters during winter's start, the result would've been far less relatable. As a writer and editor, I feel it's only proper that I present information from as much of a parallel perspective as my experience allows. You're currently reading the words of a man who's greatly fatigued by the constant thought of motorcycle travel without having access to it and in that, my point is made.
I'm a midwestern sport touring motorcyclist who's definitely got the winter blues. Here's how my friends and I go about thwarting it's implosive effects. Can you taste the castor oil?
If you're as neurotic as I am, you'll appreciate this page. It provides an exacting checklist for the motorcycle winterization process. I stand by it's results. No … literally. I really want to ride my bike and right now, all I can do is stand next to it.
For a more basic approach, simply washing your bike is a good start. Follow that up with an oil change, fuel stabilizers and minor battery maintenances and you're good to (not) go. Many outdoor storage facilities (orange doors) allow for motorcycles.
The cleaning's not over yet, though. Your riding attire and other gear may have an entire season's residue on it. Wash, inspect and store each for spring. At winter's end, air everything out and rewash as needed. It's then that you'll also want to test any camping gear you typically take with.
Now it's time to avoid thumb twiddling. If any of your bikes need to be rebuilt, have at it. That dismantled parts bike you've been micro-selling on eBay might have a lesson left to teach. How are it's carbs constructed? Would they fit on that other non-runner that's hiding in the corner?
Now that she's stored, you're not spending as much on fuel. Perhaps with the money you save, there are add-ons that you'd like to install. End of season deals for new gear, parts and even motorcycles are there for the taking.
This actually mirrors my own decision to install Twisted Throttle's quick release panniers on my Bandit 1200. There's a risk when committing to such choices. Weeks later I found myself ordering Shad's 43 liter side cases, 45 liter top case, mounting hardware and adapter plates for each.
Focus! There are places to be and bikes to oggle! It's show time.
Consider the IMS or EICMA. Both introduce direct access to the newest models and strangely, the newest models. What I mean to say is that if you perform a google image search for EICMA, almost every result on page one features a lovely Italian lady showcasing a lovely Italian lady. Tutte le strade conducono a Roma!
To those in charge, we at The Riding Obsession are hoping you'll pay our airfare!
Of course there are magazines. Motorcycle Consumer News and Rider represent the finest in technical data and opinion pieces. There's always our humble site, too ;)
More expansive reading is key, however. Non-fiction travel stories allow us to experience moto-life even as we hibernate. Rating a book's quality by it's ability to project character development, I'm certain you'll enjoy "The Perfect Vehicle" and "Jupiter's Travels".
As of this post, I'm still hunting for the staple "Lawrence of Arabia" book. There are numerous versions, written by different authors, that focus on different aspects of his life. The one that's labelled "official/authorized" has caught my eye for future reading.
Outside of bookworm territory there's YouTube. Our own Travis Burleson maintains playlists for Jay Leno's Garage and Regular Car Reviews that are motorcycle specific. They're binge worthy.
Jay Leno's Garage ...
Regular Car Reviews ...
Video games aren't a bad outlet either. Into my 40th year on earth, I defend that my generation was raised on such things. Governing your "wasted time" to no more than two hours per week, hair raising excitement can be had through any of the modern console system's four-wheeled racing equivalents (Forza).
Of course, none of the above can replace the act of riding. Wisconsin's snowmobile paths are an outlet that I have yet to explore. Word has it that you can ride from cabin to cabin to cabin without ever seeing a road.
Ice biking is another popular cold weather pastime. Spiked, metallic studs are compressed into the knobbies of dirt machines before they're ridden track style on a frozen lake. Again, Wisconsin proves to be a great destination for this raucous activity.
My favorite option? The winter beater. My friend's 1976 CB550 Four sits in my garage as I type this, waiting for a 40+ degree day when I'll then slop on my least important riding attire and kick salt in all directions. There's no shame in owning at least one rust bucket.
It's Almost Time
Stick it out, folks. The midwestern riding season is almost here and, once started, you'll forget everything you currently feel about "how cold it was", "how long it took" and "how bored you were". Wrench your rides, read a good book and get out when you can.
See you on the road!
How Do You Fight The Winter Blues?
To winterize or not to winterize. Either way, what secrets would you like to share regarding between-season moto-tainment? Your input is invited. Leave a comment!