Another year in the books! As I sit here at my desk wishing I could go for a ride to release the stresses of the day, I remember that it is only 15 degrees out. For me that is just a little too cold even with the heated jacket liner I picked up last fall. Extending the riding season into late fall was great, but January is just a little too extreme for this biker. Between the frigid temps and ice/extra dirt on the road, I think that waiting until it gets nicer out is the smart thing for me to do.
On the other hand, I know there are a lot of readers out there who ride year-round in warmer climates. For all of you, I have only one thing to say “appreciate what you have” because I would do almost anything for a “ride” about now. When I lived in Florida a few years back the riding season was much longer, but I find myself thinking back to how much I rode. Comparatively I think the miles per year are about the same, but now I am just riding those miles in Iowa in a shorter amount of time. The reasoning? Well it’s probably because I know I have to get it in while I can.
I have been wondering about the “extreme” riders who ride year-round in rain, sleet, and snow. Is it really that enjoyable? You get dressed up like an Eskimo, so none of your skin is showing and weigh about 20 pounds more because of all the leather (losing a lot of mobility). There are so many variables to take into consideration when riding in good weather, but riding in the winter or just bad weather, those variables increase so much more. Maybe it’s the thrill or just the pure enjoyment of being on two wheels.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of riding in less than favorable conditions. One of these times took place last year while on a dealer ride in the Rockies. I got caught in a really bad rain storm which turned into a snowstorm. Riding over a switchback mountain pass in the snow is quite daunting and not something that I would consider doing again on a Suzuki M109R if given a choice. It was weird how small I felt and how big the situation was around me. Soaked to the bone, no visibility, and with the bike sliding from line to line on the road, I took my time and made it through. Now I have one really good “Riding Story.”
So my question for you is: What are the most extreme riding conditions you have ridden in and why were you riding in those conditions?