I’m Bitter, and Cold

So this goes without saying but I’m saying it anyway. If you live anywhere that experiences a full swing of seasons and you ride a motorcycle, it can be the same as an emotional rollercoaster. Ride today, wait a week, sneak in a 15 minute ride before the temperatures drop at dusk and then spend days walking around dazed and confused at the conflicting reports of weather from one channel to the next. What TV station is right and why do the weathermen lie to me? Even my phone can be overly optimistic when it comes to predicting the weather and riding my motorcycle.

I know it’s temporary and Spring is right around the corner, but for crying out loud, I need to put some miles on my bike as all of this winter baggage is stacking up in my head. I have all these thoughts running around in no particular order and I use my bike to file them properly. My head feels like someone dumped a filing cabinet in the front yard while the wind was blowing and left me to pick it up. In the dark. With my motorcycle mocking me through the garage window.

We all know the solution to this. Move. Move south where the sun shines 365 days a year and the temperature hovers in the 70’s every day. Trees and grass and rainbows around every curve, and no matter the direction you look, there are mountains and clouds that have whatever shape that makes you happy…blah, blah and blah.

But when the weather finally does break, look out. You can only hold the excitement back for so long and then we kick the door in and free that trapped motorcycle from the chains of isolation we call a battery tender.

The reality is overcast, cold and windy with a chance of rain mixed with snow. My motorcycle is sitting in the garage (or at least I hope it is, I can’t say I’ve looked that hard) just waiting to be backed out and fired up. It’s tough having a blog about riding motorcycles when, well, you can’t except for maybe that sliver of nice weather the weatherman is promising me, next Thursday, south of I-70 between 9 am and 9:45 am – if you’re lucky. But that’s a week away and it might as well be a month from now. Do I sound bitter? I sound like I ride motorcycles.

But when the weather finally does break, look out. You can only hold the excitement back for so long and then we kick the door in and free that trapped motorcycle from the chains of isolation we call a battery tender.

We ride motorcycles, and unless you are fortunate enough to live in the land where the weathermen are accurate and the roads are free of salt and sand, we wait. We wait until we can wait no more. Be patient my fellow riders as it’s coming… soon.

 

The Snot Indicator

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For the last couple of weeks I’ve been battling a cold. Headache, coughing and a runny nose, along with the usual achy feeling you get when the crud is winning. That, combined with extremely cold weather, has kept me off my Road King for a few weeks. Now that it appears all that remains is a runny nose and the Kansas temperatures are back to what’s typical in January, I’ve been back to riding to work. This morning as I was getting my leathers on to leave for work, stopping every few minutes to blow my nose, I thought to myself once I get my helmet on I won’t have the chance to blow it again for about 25 minutes. So the helmet goes on as I go out the door.

When its 18 degrees outside before you get on your bike, you know you’ll be in for a cold ride. I’ve been here before and for me it’s more of a mental thing. As long as I’m prepared inside my helmet, I’ll be okay. It only takes a few miles to realize where the short-comings are in your winter riding gear as my fingers start getting cold. The face shield of my helmet is opened slightly to keep it from fogging over so my eyes start watering and of course that runny nose of mine is a bit of a nuisance. As I slow down two miles west of town to make the corner, I raise the face shield and use my gloved thumb to wipe the snot from my nose before it goes any further down my lip. Nobody ever said riding a bike in the winter was glamorous.

Another 5 miles and my nose is needing wiped as I roll down the hill to Skiddy. Again, I raise the face shield of my helmet to use my thumb and another crisis is averted. This allows me to focus on more important things, like I shouldn’t have had that second cup of coffee before leaving the house. It’s still a beautiful morning no matter how cold and it’s seeing the sun shining and the few clouds in the sky that make it all worth the hassle. As I came to a stop at highway 77 for the final leg of my ride, I had a realization; my nose had quit running! It appears that at 18 degrees with a wind chill of who knows what, snot will eventually stop running from your nose. A small victory I know, but I’ll take it. I finally pulled into work and removed my helmet and found a paper towel to blow my nose on. Much like molasses when exposed to this temperature, snot will slow if not stop when placed under harsh conditions such as this. My gear is a pretty good indicator of how cold a temp I will be willing to ride in, but my snot indicator tells me the colder the better.