Got the winter blues? Do you find yourself daydreaming about when you can go riding again? Here are our 10 tips to make the wait until spring a little easier.
by Mark DT
Living in the cold north ain’t easy for a motorcyclist. Winters can be very long. Between shovelling the driveway and dealing with CNN’s latest snowpocalypse type coverage of the weather, it is easy to forget about your motorcycle parked in the garage under a cover. Yet your motorcycle jacket reminds you each time you reach into the closet for your heavy winter coat of better days ahead. If you suffer from motorcycle separation anxiety, fear not. The condition is curable – and for the most part with zero negative side effects.
The good news is it’s only six weeks until spring. To help pass time as winter winds down we have put together a list of things you can do to beat the winter blues.
1. Go to a motorcycle show.
Simply google “Your city + motorcycle show” to find out when the next one is taking place near your hometown. Anne and I never miss attending these shows to chat with other enthusiasts, get farkle ideas and to see all the new and custom bikes in person. Check out our photos from the Vancouver Motorcycle Show 2015 and the Seattle Motorcycle Show 2012.
2. Read some great motorcycle books.
I’m reading The University of Gravel Roads and am really enjoying it. Reading about motorcycle adventures is a great way to beat the winter blues. The winter is also a great time to read about performance riding skills, maintenance and even motorcycle history. We have put together a list of our favorite motorcycle books here.
3. Sign up now for a spring motorcycle training course.
No matter how experienced a rider you are, it is never a bad idea to challenge yourself to become better. There are courses available for people with all levels of experience. We have chatted with people who have been riding for 15 years before they decided to take their first advanced class and enjoyed it so much that they came back for more.
Some courses teach defensive riding, others will identify your bad habits and help you rectify them. Not only will you improve your riding skills by taking an advanced riding course, but in many cases you will also be able to get a reduction in insurance premiums after having completed a course.
For those of you that want to try something completely different, sign up for some track days and get in touch with the speed devil inside of you.
4. Get your hands dirty.
Get into the garage and rip that motorcycle cover off. If the bike is dusty give it a good detailing. Attack a project that you wanted to do last season but skipped as you didn’t want to lose any days riding. Install some LED or HID lights, install a LOUD horn, condition the leather on your seat or install a garage opener or a new exhaust. (Just make sure to snap some photos and send them our way to inspire fellow riders to add some farkles to their bikes as well).
Get a head start on things to do to get your bike ready for spring. We have put a list together of everything from oil changes to battery maintenance.
5. Head over to your local motorcycle dealer.
Visit some of your local motorcycle dealers and sit on a few bikes. At this time of year you may even have the entire showroom to yourself and the bored salespeople will welcome a chat with a fellow rider. Sign up for some of their upcoming demo days to get a better feel for the bike you are drooling over the most. I attend as many demo days I can. Click here to check out my experience trying out three different Triumph motorcycles at a dealer demo day.
6. Subscribe to a new motorcycle magazine.
There are some great deals to be made on subscriptions, some are as low as a dollar a piece. Check out some of the deals on motorcycle magazine deals here.
7. Travel south and rent a bike.
Are you going somewhere warm this winter? Why not rent a motorcycle while you are there? Not only does it give you a break from the family for a few hours, renting a motorcycle is also a great opportunity to try out a bike you are considering buying. Read about how much fun I had on a Triumph Bonneville in Hawaii.
8. Start to plan your next motorcycle trip.
Get some inspiration from the movie Wild Hogs (minus the midlife crisis part), invite some friends over and start planning a road trip or maybe even a pilgrimage to Sturgis. To get you motivated on travelling long and far on two wheels read Philip Drake’s ride report from New Zealand.
9. Watch some great motorcycle movies.
Crack open a beer, get comfortable on the couch and beat the winter blues by watching an old classic like Easy Rider, Motorcycle Diaries or The Wild One. If you are into documentaries, check out Any Given Sunday or Dust To Glory. Watch these films now, because come summertime you’ll be keeping the TV unplugged and spending your free days on the road.
10. Finally, don’t forget to be social.
Lots of motorcycle organizations organize winter pub nights. Check out what’s new on your favourite motorcycle forum. Share some tips, photos and videos with fellow riders on Farkle My Ride’s facebook page.