Well, for the first time this riding season, the threat of snow is tickling the higher elevations in parts of Wyoming and Nevada and it was noticeably less hot (as opposed to “cooler”) here in South Georgia this morning. Guess what? While you’re reading this, somebody is thinking about putting up their bike for the winter.
I know, I know, sacrilege, but we all eventually have to do it, if only for maintenance. Since I have to rail every Spring about “getting ready”, let’s talk about some of the stuff that I hear every Spring from riders that you ought to actually do this winter to be a better rider when the season opens back up…
Fix your junk! Seriously. If you’ve been limping something along, now is the time to get it addressed. Especially since shops are going to really be slow in the coming months. Sure, they’ll get some “winterizing” business, but bigger jobs? Few and far between. If you’ve been thinking about that engine build, go-fast parts that mean cracking into the crankcase, or painting the frame, then get it in the shop now, not in January. The other benefit? Getting it in early might get you some freebies – like winterizing and tuning – if you are having to do some costly work.
Stay in shape. What? Yes. Every year, we hear the same old story “been a while since I rode this thing.” How about getting some exercise, especially in your core, but also your upper body. Don’t have time for the gym? Pushups, sit ups, and a host of other exercises can be done right there at the house. Another upside? Your leathers will still fit next year.
Take a class. Yep. I said it. Whether you take a riding class at the local dealership (even if it’s not a -Gasp!- Harley dealership). Sometimes taking a basic rider’s course can be a great reminder of how traffic laws actually work. I did that when my kids were learning to drive and you know what? I realized that the concept of “right-of-way” was one that most of the drivers in my town didn’t understand when it came to turning. I saw the same thing happen when I taught firearm safety years ago – the old guys were the ones that forgot stuff.
Plot next year. I know that sounds silly, but if you remember, I had some very distinct goals that I wanted to do this season while riding. Sturgis and at least 15,000 miles. Guess what? I haven’t gotten to the 15K mark yet, but I’ve had a great time this season, even with all the engine drama from this Spring. Think about what you’d like to do next year – and how you’ll spend the time you have on your bike and when you have that goal, you have something to look forward to.
No doubt that every season has different things that we like to do in it. It’s hard for me to not watch some college football on Saturdays this time of year, and with Hockey season, I know plenty of folks that are ready to yell at the television screen at night. No matter, by keeping a few things straight in your riding hobby, you can be ready year ‘round, even if the roads are icy and the weather doesn’t cooperate.