Changing Gears

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October 16, 2013 | By: Jeff Maddox

Fall SceneEditor’s Note:What appears below is a guest blog post from veteran biker Jeff Maddox, who regularly holds court over at the JMAdog blog.

It’s time to change gears. You can feel change in the air right now as summer is slowly fading into fall, and as Mother Nature is telling those who ride to either dress warmer or put this bike away. We fight it like a kid being told to come in the house and eat supper. We want to play some more - and we’re not ready to give in. There are a lot of areas in this country where we as bikers can ride all year long, but a big portion of us need to make a decision “weather” or not to ride. As motorcyclists, the weather is such an important and determining factor in riding our motorcycles that in a sense, we become better at determining the weather in our area than the weathermen and women we see on television.

As the seasons change so do we. Colder weather usually brings about shorter rides, and that week long ride we took to Sturgis is replaced with a quick ride out of town and back. Maybe we still commute to work, but with the shadows showing up earlier in the evening, we have to keep it short as the temperatures drop. Our tolerance to the cold is revealed and the desire to ride is beat down by the reality of the weather.

But now is the time to do all the things you’ve wanted to do to your bike. It may not be ridden every day, so what better time to change your handlebars or add those accessories you bought this summer, but never installed? This is also a good time to check your motorcycle over for anything that may need attention. Tires, cables and a general check-up is a good idea while you have the time and you are already out in the garage wishing you could ride anyway, so why not make the most of it? And we both know you can’t resist.

It goes without saying that if the weather breaks, and the sun comes out you should get the bike out for a short ride. You’ll feel better both mentally and physically and for me I’m always glad I do. A short ride can do wonders for your outlook through what most people consider the non-riding time of the year. What does the weatherman know anyway?

Comments (13)

Go Bob Holmes! Enjoy life & thank God He gives us each day. I’m 61 myself & I keep my bikes maintained & on the ready all winter. My rule is if it is 40 degrees & sunny, I’m riding…Just be home or wherever you are going to not much past dark. Anything below 40 degrees & it depends on how I feel about going.

Ernie, I was in Nova Scotia in July of 2000…I never took off my coat.

John, if your ever in Mass. in the Brockton area give me a call and we will go for a ride. I will show you some new territory. Keep it up BOB

Fall ?? Its LEATHER time here. Its Cold

the first things I look for when the weather changes to pre-winter is the loose dirt washed up on the inside of curves, layers of leaves in the shade and that for some reason the calendar says October gauges seem to forget there are such things as motorcycles out there. I also received and added Insight from one of your fellows when your truck is at Bloomington Harley Davidson: he told me of a conversation he had with a Dunlop tire man for one of the MotoGP teams who compared the two laps or so that it takes a competition tire to get to performance levels equates to waiting to about 12 or 13 miles of highway riding and more if on city streets. Really made me think about being a little more careful than I have been as I ride year around & tire temperatures can be very critical when the weather is cold.

Had not thought about the rubber requiring more time to warm-up and soften in the winter. Good point.

Maybe this would be a good time for some company to come out with winter bike tires. No, wait, that’s what the four-wheeler’s call “snow tires”. I’ll just be exceptioanally more careful in the curves.

I ride all year. I don’t wear heated gear. I wear thinsulated gloves, long johns, and my gortex/kevlar jacket with 3 layers. I also wear a half shell with a face mask. You can’t feel a thing in that jacket. Nothing gets through. But I will not ride in the rain or snow. Being wet and cold is just miserable and I won’t do it.

HotHands inside the gloves, longjohns under the pants and an extra sweatshirt under the leather. I’m good to go. As long as the roads are ice free, No problem. Only time I have problems is if it snows while I’m at work. Then it’s Fred Flintstone all the way home cause all I gotta do is look at the throttle and that back end tries to wash out.

I live in the N. E. Boston area and I ride all winter long, except for ice and snow and I am 74 and look forward to this coming winter. I ride with OFR’S ”OLD FART RIDERS” and a lot of them ride too.

Rosie cheeks are just a good indication that you had fun on the way in to work!

I ride year round and when my buddies at work say, “You’re crazy!! It’s 18 degrees out there!!” I look at them and ask “Do you like to SKI?? Same thing except I’m not falling down in the snow!!”

It’s only time to put the bike away when it’s too cold for the heated gear to work, or snow/ice on the ground. Other than that I can’t think of a reason not to keep riding 365.

Mid-Atlantic coastal region
2011 Victory Kingpin

Agree 100•/• If she don’t run or there is ice on the why stop.
NC
Mountains

Too much snow & cold weather up here in Nova Scotia. Ride the old Harley until end of November. After that your only slip, sliding away.Good thing about it, can’t wait for Spring to get riding again.

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