Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter doldrums

Except for the lucky ones, far too many of us live in a climate where riding all year round isn't possible.  For the better part of my life I lived in New England where winters were long and cold.  My bike got laid up typically about mid October and stayed there until March.  I kept my bike in a shed, and on many a day during the winter, providing that snow hadn't blocked my access, I found myself opening the shed door to check in on the bike, wistfully yearning for the springtime to arrive, hoping it would be early.

Depending on how much you ride, you might even have welcomed the colder months so you could focus your free time on winter preparation chores or things other than riding, but in my experience it would take but only a few days before I found myself wanting to get back on the road.  Splitting firewood could wait.  So, occasionally, if snow didn't prevent it, I would pull the bike out of the shed, don the snivel gear, and ride for an hour or so.  Riding in 28 degree weather sucks!  No way around it.

Now I live in SE Arizona, a place I consider to have one of the best climates for riding all year round. Winters are not cold compared to what I've known in the Northeast, summers can get warm, but nothing like the unbearable heat of Phoenix or Yuma. I know, I lived in Phoenix for a couple of years and riding in the summer was pretty much limited to early morning or nighttime. Sitting in backed up freeway traffic at noontime with air temps about 115 degrees isn't pleasant. I have a friend who swears he loves to ride in that kind of heat, but I think he fried his brain one too many times.

One way to cure the winter doldrums, though, is to plan a winter trip, a bike vacation to a warmer climate.  Rent a bike for a few days.  Southern California, Florida, southern Arizona, and Hawaii make for good destinations during the winter to ride.  Of course, it's not cheap to rent a bike, but, shoot, what else are you going to spend your money on during the winter.  Buy yourself and your spouse a roadtrip for a Christmas present.

In the meantime, maybe some motorcycle magazines can help pass the time.  Dreaming about riding helps.  Plan trips for the warmer weather in your head.  Look at websites for new parts and accessories for your bike.  Read blogs like this one.  While the bike might be on hiatus, no need for you to stop being a biker.

How do you pass through the winter doldrums?


  1. Well, the bendix on my starter shaft-end is almost shot. So, pull the primary, pop the lil bastard off and replace it.
    Then, the front forks are air/hydraulic and don't hold air anymore. Off they come, and to the shop cuz they have a big ol push/pull press. Fresh seals and off I go!
    Pretty much all I need this winter. The roads are clear (dammit) but I have 4" of ice/snow in the 30 yd driveway and can't get the scoot in or out. Gonna buy some fertilizer and melt the crap so I can go for a ride!
    edge "Itching2Ride" walker

  2. Jimmyacorn here........When I was working I could handle the winter better. As a retired guy I tend to get a bit cranky, that is until I started having to gather and chop wood for the wood burners. But even after a month of that I'll still load up the bike and head south to Alabama. Now I'm thinkin' of just buyin' a small place down there for the winter.

    I do pm on my bikes but I do that constantly.