(formatting frustration disclaimer: I have written this blog 3 times today. The program I use crashed twice, erasing everything. Now it refuses to format properly, meaning the paragraphs look sloppy and long…I’m over it…take it as it is!)
I’m over winter and it hasn’t even reared it’s ugly head yet. Just let the temps dip into the 30’s or lower for any length of time and I start dreaming of Palm trees and white sand. What’s odd about that is that I’m generally very hot natured. My wife calls me “the furnace.” My kids know when they come to visit us in the winter they better bring plenty of layers because I keep our house rather chilly. I cannot sleep when it’s hot so I turn off our bedroom vents completely in the winter. My wife says you can see your breath. To be fair, a thermocouple for a coffee roaster has registered the room in the 50’s…oops!
One of the reasons I don’t like winter is because I am a rather single-minded guy. If you split my brain up into a pie chart, my interests would be about 80% motorcycles, 15% coffee and the last 5% just randomness. To be fair, coffee consumes a lot of my time and thinking, but at this stage in my life I could easily go 100% bikes.
I never really put bikes up for the winter. I try to get them out as much as possible. I have heated gear, other cold weather clothes and heated grips. I have no problem riding in the 50’s. In fact, I prefer it over the 90’s. I can manage the 40’s also, no sweat…pun intended. I can even do the mid 30’s in relative comfort. The 20’s, things start to get challenging. One of the coldest rides I ever took was delivering my Ducati ST2 to the dealer for service one winter. It was 75 miles away, about 25 degrees and the skies were gray. I rode fast…very fast. My wife, who followed me in the car to bring me home, said, “You will be in driving school before summer is over!” I said, “I was cold.”
I used to do a lot of winter riding, but it seems I have wussed out some over the past several years. Some time ago a group of Midwest riders decided to form a winter riding group. Part parody, part to keep us all riding, they initiated a winter riding contest that mimicked BMW’s summer riding contest. Instead of running April to October, or whatever their contest did, we ran October to April. At the time I was riding a BMW R1150GS with Jesse bags. Loved that bike. I thought, “What the heck,” and signed up.
I know it is silly to ride just to log miles, but, hey, it got me out of the house. For the first 3 months I did my level best to make sure I stayed in the top 10. I can’t remember how many miles I rode during that time, but I’m thinking maybe 3k+. And then John Ryan joined the group. And blew everyone out of the water. John was well known in the long distance riding community. He lived on the East Coast, a much harsher climate…and he didn’t own a car. Within a few weeks he was far out front, clocking over 10k miles. Then he quit goofing off…and I gave up. All said and done, he recorded about 26k miles during that contest.
I don’t have any contests to compete in but I have been thinking about attempting to ride more this winter. There’s nothing more enjoyable than to bundle up and take off in a miserable climate and head south, shedding layers as you move closer toward warmer weather. That’s what I was up to when my father-in-law and I rode this Harley and a Beemer down to Naples one year. It was late October with the temps in the low 40’s and a gloomy drizzle. By Atlanta we had shed a layer and by the Florida line we were looking for sunscreen. Awesome ride down, depressing return home.
I’m thinking of taking a couple destination rides, or maybe more accurately, purpose rides, this winter. Details to follow, if I follow through. Otherwise, your going to have to pry my hands from the door jamb to get me outside. Now, if you live in a climate that is colder and wetter than mine, please accept my condolences. If, however, you live somewhere warmer, well, just keep it to yourself, will ya?