Sunday, February 3, 2013
Vicarious Winter Riding
Winter is not my friend. I once had a Michigander pal say, "make a friend of winter" and ice skate, ski, snowshoe, and all that. Get out and do winter stuff, blah, blah, blah...
Yeah, right. Now how can I do those things when I hate the cold? Nope, I don't like winter and that is not going to change.
It's not just the cold, it's the whole package: ice and snow; darkness; dreariness; dull gray skies and landscapes. Oh, yeah, and suiting up like Nanook of the North even to go out to the grocery! Yucko!
Mostly it puts my scootin' life in limbo and sets me to longing for the days of warm sunshine and open roads.
How to cope with this drought of scootin' opportunities? Do it "vicariously", which means, more or less, do it "in your head". For me, it is the next best thing to doing it in reality.
Here are some tried and true approaches that I employ:
Haunt scooter/motorcycle forums:
As many as you can find on local, national, manufacturer's, consumer review, moto magazine websites. It is amazing what is out there that might have gone unexplored if you weren't so desperate for a bit of "scooter talk". I've gone back on some of them all the way to the beginning of postings aka "years ago". It is interesting to see trends change, especially as affected by the economy tanking from 2008 onward. I've listed my favorites on this blog, but would love to read more if anyone can suggest.
Haunt scooter/motorcycle blogs (or start your own):
I check into my "community" of bloggers daily. I post on my own when I find something in my head to post. I read other blog links on other blogger sites. It is a blast! I take virtual rides, read about everyday life issues with pals, and just feel a part of a group of enthusiasts who are as obcessed as I am about the two wheels.
Haunt scooter/motorcycle shops:
This one is more of a challenge as it is getting more difficult to find ones that are still open around here. I check out the local scooter shop, Honda/Yamaha Powersports, and that is about all I can see in person around here. Even then the model selection to view is very skimpy. But it gets me out of the house and I enjoy talking to the guys and planning out my test rides for the spring as I contemplate another scooter.
Read scooter/motorcycle related books and magazines:
I have some scooter/motorcycle books and I read a lot on my Kindle too. Most motorcycling magazines don't pertain to me, so I don't buy them, but will look at them in the grocery or library. I am in the process of trying to collect actual hard copy scooter books, but since our local bookstores are all shut down now I am resigned to do it through Amazon before even hard back and paper back books will no longer be sold. I sadly think it is going that way.
Read scooter/motorcycle travel journals:
I love this especially. These can be found by Googling and also on Adventure Rider and Total Ruckus Epic journeys. I am always book-marking websites or blogs that are about cross country trips. Some of them I read over and over. If I have a dream left in my old heart it is to travel on the back roads on a trip for days at a time. I keep hoping I will be able to do this. But in the meantime I read as many stories about this experience by my fellow riders as I can. A girl can dream, can't she?
Explore potential routes on paper or Google Maps:
Now this is something that I really enjoy and it s kind of weird, but I love it. I have Google Maps on my phone and I will sit in the comfort of my winter nest and pick out ride routes. I use the landscape mode and am literally traveling visually down that road and seeing what is on the route and linking it up for hour rides, day rides, or more. Using this method I have about 7 routes set up right now that I can explore directly from my front door and which will get me out into my beloved back roads within 20 minutes of departure. Amazing!
Peruse Ebay, Cycle Trader, Craigslist, etc.:
It's fun to see what others are selling and sometimes why. I have contacted sellers with specific questions as to what they did or did not like about the bike and why they are selling. I've learned a lot that way. I've even set up some test rides that way on bikes that otherwise I would have no way to try out. Sometimes I've made a few email pals in the community or learned about scooter clubs, rides, or routes too. I will be doing more of this in the early summer as I consider another scooter to buy.
Ride around in the car, mapping out routes:
I've even done a bit of this since I moved here. It's a fun way to get out and explore the neighborhood, find out what is hidden on local back roads, and plan exciting scooter rides for warmer weather.
All of the above are my coping activities. I'd love to hear from others as to how they get through the winter when the bike is idle and the soul is longing for the open road!
Please feel free to add your comments...
Meanwhile, happy dreams of Spring!