Monday, October 16

Brrrrr! Winter storage or what?!

Thinking aloud about needing to decide what to do with the bike for the next five months...

It is not unusual now to awaken to mornings that are 35 degrees. Until this year, I've never complained too loudly about cold weather. Jogging, hiking, and x-cross country skiing along the lakefront can keep one sanguine during the winter doldrums. Just dress properly and outdoor life can be fun. Dressing properly are the operative words. As this is my first "winter" riding a motorcycle, I'd like to see just how long I can go before the cold makes me cry uncle. All I know now is that riding at 35 degree F, at speeds of 60 mph, feels less than joyous on anything longer than 25 miles. I have gear that, so far, has kept me relatively comfortable. But allow me be clear: I have not come close to the skin-slicing, nose-hair freezing, knee-numbing, head-hurting cold that is standard fare for Chicago. I'm not a wimp. But on my last "cold" ride, I was not a happy trooper.

I could put the bike in storage now, which would render it entirely off limits on those sporadic November through April days when the weather's schizophrenia produces some amazingly warm, ride-friendly days. Like today, the early morning has reached 54 degrees F. A couple of days ago, at the same time, it was 34 degrees. That's a huge difference! At 54 degrees, I'll ride without hesitation; I'm less enthusiastic at 34 degrees. I could not store the bike and face the frequent frustration of warming it up and accepting that my pleasure shall be restricted, at best, to listening to the engine rev. I guess, I could pack up and relocate somewhere that promises year 'round motorcycling.

All of these "choices" have drawbacks that make me whine. The best solution, I think, is to select a date and put the bike in storage regardless of the temp outside at the time. I'd grumble and get over it and ache for the new riding season. For a reasonable fee, Motorworks, at 1901 S. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL, will store the bike in a climate-controlled space, change the oil, remove the battery and keep it on a battery tender. Then come Spring, the bike is given an assessment, serviced and is ready to be ridden out the door. Doing a home variant of this that may consist of occasionally firing up the bike or removing the battery and storing it in the house. No sense kidding myself, that would be agony. Sort of like baking sweet potato pie every few days, smelling the rich cinnanomy aroma and not being able to eat any of it. I am not a masochist.

I don't believe the adage, "out of sight, out of mind." I will think of the bike and my yearning to ride every day. More aptly, putting the bike in storage will be "out of sight," slightly less whine.

Coming up: SRTT Report--Finally!