Wednesday, February 10, 2010


No, it's not what you think ... I'm talking about Parked Motorcycle Syndrome. It's something I'm becoming well acquainted with this winter, my first full winter since I began riding motorcycles.

When I bought my first bike, the Yamaha Virago (the red bike on the left), in late February of 2009, the winter was winding down, so by the time I had it registered in early March, the roads were clear of snow and salt and I was able to ride. I was so excited to have a bike that the cold did not stop me from riding as often as I could. Since I didn't start out as a "fair-weather" rider, I rode late into the year, until about mid-December, when the first snow arrived. But for the most part, that was when I hung up my helmet for the season.

Then, in January 2010 (last month), I bought my second bike and first Harley, a 2002 Dyna Wide Glide, and have only ridden it one time, when winter took a very brief reprieve and rain washed the salt off the roads. Then winter returned with a vengeance (on Wednesday, as I started typing this post, we've had about six inches of snow, which you can see in the photo below, a view outside my window). If it seemed like spring took forever to arrive in the past, I'm sure it will take even longer, now that I have a Harley parked in my garage.

"A tough time to buy a bike (is) in the middle of winter," says 'dog155,' a rider from Maine, on "I did just once - the biggest mistake I ever made, because the urge to ride was agonizing."

Of course, riders who live in California, Florida and Arizona don't have to deal with winter, and sometimes they like to rub it in, while those of us who live in colder climates wish for global warming.

Some cold-climate riders minimize off-season motorcycle withdrawal by doing maintenance and upgrades on their bikes (a heated garage or basement is a big luxury - mine is unheated, but I'm thankful to at least have a garage), or browsing accessory catalogs to plan their next upgrades. Then there are the big motorcycle expos (I'm looking forward to one in Boston on Saturday), although they probably make it even harder to wait for spring. One rider on an online Harley forum had some practical advice: he uses the winter months to do most of his home improvement projects, so he can focus more on riding when the weather is nice. Yes, now's the time for those 'honey-do' lists.

Of course, Daytona Bike Week is just around the corner, and those riders with the time and money can trailer their bikes to Florida to enjoy some early warm weather riding, but I'm not one of those fortunate ones this year. I had an invite, but I had to decline it - buying my Wide Glide wiped out most of my finances. Maybe next year I'll get to go and get an early reprieve from PMS.

My Wide Glide could use a few upgrades (although a rear tire with low tread and an oil change aren't upgrades, but necessities) but that will have to wait another month or two while I save up. Meanwhile, I will do what most riders do - just wait it out (and grumble occasionally). I will say one positive thing about cold and snow - it makes me appreciate the warm, sunny days.

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