by Liz Jansen
Face it and embrace it!
There’s not much motorcycling going on in this corner of the world in January. That makes it an ideal time for reflecting, researching, planning, prioritizing – all essential to make the most of your riding season. You can’t get out there on your bike right now but you can engage your senses and keep them sharp.
Short of heading to the southern hemisphere, or at least south, here are some other options.
- Read. Whether you’re interested in moto adventure, resources for women riders, history or travel – there’s a book about it. But beware – you may become captivated and find yourself irresistibly heading towards an adventure of your own. For starters, check out this list of 10 Moto Books.
- Stay physically fit. Join a gym (and go), walk, hike, ski, practice yoga. Do something! While road riding isn’t a particularly strenuous activity, exposure to the elements hastens the onset of fatigue, which impairs the senses – and makes you less safe on the road.
- Visit your local retailer. Showrooms are quiet at this time of year, so it’s a great time to shop around. New models are in and there’s likely a good selection of previously loved bikes. Sit on bikes, ask plenty of questions and get the information you need to make an informed decision on the bike or apparel that’s best for you.
- Attend a motorcycle show. Winter is show season and they’re happening across Canada and the US. Check out the major show nearest you: International Motorcycle Shows and the Canadian Motorcycle Shows.
- Plan this season’s travel. Many state, provincial and regional tourism associations have information specific to motorcycles. Start by looking at general destinations you’re interested in, then narrow it down, or string a few areas of interest into a longer route. 10 Tips for Motorcycle Travel Planning
- Join a riding group. While not for everyone, many enjoy the camaraderie that groups offer. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the one that works for you, but be persistent. They’re out there. Word of mouth is the best place to start.
- Get routine maintenance done. Now’s the time, whether you have someone else do it, or try doing it yourself. You don’t want to have your bike off the road during riding season. As a minimum, get to know your bike—and your owner’s manual– better. Read up on minor maintenance; cables, hoses, belts, tires etc. for wear. Conditions can change quickly and you risk your safety by not taking the time for some basic checks. 10 Tips for Finding a Mechanic
- Check your gear. You depend on it for your safety and comfort so make sure it’s in good repair. The elements can be tough on it. Ultraviolet radiation can degrade textile so if your gear is faded, replace it. Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing your helmets every five years, even if you haven’t dropped it.
- Sign up for a skills refresher. There are many around. Here’s a list of Ministry of Transport approved course providers in Ontario. Alternatively, an off-road course like one offered by S.M.A.R.T. Program is invaluable for road riders. You’ll develop skills to effectively deal with the unexpected when it pops up on the road – and it always does!
- Enjoy the winter. It has beauty of its own. Spring will be here before you know it and you’ll be riding again!
What’s your favorite way of spending the winter?