Each winter, I implore the gods of weather to take pity on this poor little rock in the North Atlantic, and send us an early spring. A “real” spring, like we see on TV. Blue skies, brilliant sunshine, soft breezes…little birds singing to each other while the first crocuses push their way up from their long winters nap. Most years the weather gods laugh at my pseudo-prayers, and blanket the North East Avalon with thick wet fog and bitter winds, occasionally interspersed with a blizzard or ice storm.
But not this year. I’ve been wanting to write up a post since my first 2016 ride on March 27 (MARCH 27!) but I’m superstitious and was afraid that I would jinx it and not get the bike out again until May.
I might be in the minority here, but during the months that I can’t ride, the areas of my brain usually taken up with motorcycle stuff gets sub-let to all sorts of other interests. But after that first ride of the season, the “lease is up”, so to speak. Now my free time is spent perusing the online motorcycle classifieds, studying Google maps to find out -of-the-way destinations, and reading blogs by riders much more adventurous and interesting than myself. It’s good to be back.
Here’s a few pictures from our *early* rides this year. Looking forward to a long riding season!
March 27, 2016. Still looks very much like winter, temps just above freezing. Went for a little ride around the prettier parts of the city.
April 2, 2016. First ride on the Vstrom. Temperature was around 14 C (57F), warm enough for highway riding. Lots of bikes out that day!
On April 20/21, we were hit with a snow storm that dumped 50cm (over 1.5 feet) on us. Thanks to the warmth of the spring sun, we were riding again a couple of days later!
At the time of writing this, a blizzard has shuttered most businesses in St. John’s (yay snow day!) and the fierce north easterly wind is making my old house creak. Winter in Newfoundland stirs primeval urges to curl up by a heat source and eat copious amounts of carbohydrates in an effort to produce an insulating fat layer to keep warm. A few centuries of living on the edge of survival in an incredibly harsh climate tends to warp DNA a little, I figure.
If you live in a place where you can ride your motorcycle all year around, you don’t understand the psychology of the “off-season”. Some people call it “PMS” – Parked Motorcycle Syndrome – characterized by irritability, gloomy attitude, looking longingly out the window, and pervasive thoughts of relocation to warmer climes.
But the off-season doesn’t HAVE to be a bad thing. In sports, the off-season is a time to rest and repair, cross-train and work on deficiencies and weaknesses so that you can be better than last year. Some of you might think it odd that I look at riding in the same light as athletic pursuits, but there are more similarities than differences. Riding a motorcycle exacts a physical and mental toll, and if you’re a good rider you’re always trying to figure out ways to be better. Why not use the winter to prepare for riding season? Read the rest of this entry
It’s been a poor winter for snow-lovers here in St. John’s. We had over 100cm (39″) of snow in January, but it was usually followed by mild temperatures and rain so it didn’t stick around long. Today, February 1st, the temperatures reached to almost 10 degrees C (50 F) so of course we spent the balmy Sunday afternoon on the bikes. The task of washing the salt and grime off afterwards was completely justified by the looks of disbelief and envy we got from just about everyone!
It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden a motorcycle in February, which is usually our snowiest month of the year. The forecast for tomorrow calls for a high of -7 degrees C (19 F) so I think it’s safe to say that today was an anomaly. It sure breaks up the winter though!
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?”
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. Read the rest of this entry
After a frigid start to 2014, the weather has taken on a teasing, spring-like quality over the course of the past couple of days. Yesterday I was delighted to discover that the snow had retreated enough to allow me to run to Signal Hill without fear of being clipped by a car’s side mirror. I was rewarded by a spectacular sunset before I headed back down the hill.
The thaw continues today, with rain and temperatures forecasted to reach 11 degrees Celsius (52 F). If the rain lets off this afternoon I would not be shocked to see a few motorcycles out and about!
Around the middle of November, I come to terms with the fact that riding is over for the year, and settle into winter mode. Helmets and leather jackets are put away, replaced by mitts, scarves and snow shovels.
Being an island, we often get bizarre weather and this past couple of days was an example of that. By the grace of the weather gods, we were given the weekend of November 16 and 17, 2013: Temperatures of 10-12 degrees C., very little wind, and dry! All household chores fell by the wayside, this weather had to be taken advantage of! Read the rest of this entry