Beating the Winter Blahs

When people realize how much of my consciousness is devoted to motorcycling, they usually look at me (quite puzzled), and ask “well, what do you do in the winter?”

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Even if you despise winter, there’s no denying how pretty it is.

It’s a good question. Our Newfoundland winters normally put motorcycling off the radar completely for a solid four months, so we need to be resourceful and creative to stave off the winter blahs.

The obvious substitute for a motorcycle is a snowmobile. And while I can sort of understand the appeal, I don’t own one nor do I want one. Perhaps if climate change eventually results in St. John’s getting Labrador-style winters, and in lieu of snow-clearing the City decrees that snowmobiles can be used on the roadways, then I’ll invest in one. Until then, they remain a seldom-used, expensive toy for city-dwellers like myself.

So without a direct substitute for a motorcycle, I’m forced to find another way to occupy myself. I’ve found that the best way to avoid getting the winter blahs is to stay very busy, and get outdoors as much as possible. Many motorcyclists don’t realize this, but we spend the majority of our free time outdoors, and when that access to fresh air is suddenly taken away by the advent of winter, it can really affect you psychologically.

Listen, if a person who loves summer and sunshine as much as I do can at least try to embrace winter, surely anyone can. Invest in good thermal base-layers, wind-resistant outerwear and warm, waterproof boots, open your mind to new experiences and get outdoors. You won’t get cold if you keep moving!

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Groomed, cross-country ski trails in Pippy Park…free to use and lit after dark!

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Snowshoe excursion! There’s nothing like the tranquility of the woods in winter

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The traditional Newfoundland “boil-up” in the woods

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So the sidewalks in your neighbourhood are buried and it’s dangerous to go for a walk? Come downtown for the afternoon, the sidewalks are almost always cleared.

Winter is also a great time to start planning trips, and to take stock of your bike and gear. My Vstrom needs tires in the spring, so I’m currently in the process of researching which ones would be best suited to my riding needs. These things take time! If you respond well to “retail therapy”, give yourself a winter boost by splurging on some new motorcycle gear. I recently bought a Tourmaster high-viz touring jacket, I cannot wait to try it out…and subsequently write a review of it.

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My new jacket! Fits like a smack in the mouth! Photo credit: Tourmaster.com

Today is Candlemas Day, a day celebrated in the Catholic religion by the blessing of candles. Many people may not be aware of the fact that February 2nd was recognized even before Christianity as the “Feast of Lights”, celebrating the increased power of the sun at this time of year. It’s the midpoint of winter, between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Growing up in a Catholic home, I often heard the rhyme:

On Candlemas Day, throw candles and candlesticks away, and eat your supper by the light of the day

As a society we’ve been doing our best to cope with winter for thousands of years; looking forward to longer, warmer days, and celebrating the signs of spring. It’s a cycle, this happens every year…and we really must not mind it as much as we THINK we do for if we did, we’d all emigrate to a place with a more civil climate.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a place where I could ride all year around. Would I get bored with it? Would I not appreciate a beautiful summer day as much as I do now? I’d love to hear from readers living in places without winter as I know it. Is it completely fantastic, or do you crave more “variety” in your weather patterns?

 

 

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Posted on February 2, 2014, in Behind the Visor and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Winter wreaks havoc for me Nov-Feb. Its almost impossible to ride during these frigged times. I often thought of getting a URAL with a side car to drive during this Winter Cycling Hibernation Period but could not afford a bike just for winter. I have started to run to get out the aggression that I have from my winter blues. Snowshoeing is something I just may try..I just despise the cold and have thought about moving to a place I could ride all year round. I would never tire of it unless I did not have a bike. Then it would be torture…

    • Running is one of my other passions, and works wonders for the winter blues. Snowshoeing is great but you need deep snow for it to be enjoyable…otherwise you’re basically just out for a walk in clown shoes 😉 Skiing is a good compromise…you can ski easily in under a foot of snowpack and provides a wicked cardio workout. Hang in there, spring is just around the corner!

  2. Get some regular Metzler Tourance tires for your Vstrom, not the EXP or the NEXT.

  3. You are right Krista … the trick to surviving Nfld. winters is to try and embrace them on some level … a trick I have unfortunately been unable to master … oh well, it is February and we ARE only a couple of months away from the start of another Riding Season!!!

    • I do try hard to embrace it…looking forward to going skiing after work today actually. Though I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t rather be running in 20 degrees! Here’s to an early spring!

  4. A Ural would be AWESOME! At least it’s only a for a short while – use it for gear research & shopping in addition to posts like these with beautiful winter images!!!

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