Opinion: Winter is here

A traffic sign for motorcyclists is covered in frost on the Grosser Feldberg mountain in the Taunus region near Schmitten, western Germany, on December 11, 2018. (Photo by Arne Dedert / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read ARNE DEDERT/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s 17C-below outside and the wind chill is already dropping to 34-below tonight. Snow’s starting to fall – the forecast is for at least 10 cm and maybe double that. There’s no denying it anymore: even here in balmy Southern Ontario, winter’s finally hit. Damn.

I should have expected this. Just last week, when we posted our story about charity rides on the CMG Facebook page, reader Larry Henderson commented that “You know winter is here, right?” (Larry’s profile shows that he lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where winter visits throughout the year, but I digress.) As much as we try to pretend otherwise, there does come a time in most of Canada when all sane people should put away their motorcycles for a while and resign themselves to the car.

But this doesn’t mean we can’t stop thinking about bikes. In fact, CMG’s readership increases at this time of year because people need an online motorcycle fix. If we can’t ride them, then we’re thinking about riding them. We’re planning for the season ahead and we’re living vicariously through Costa in Spain – whatever it takes to make it through.

CMG reader Eston Stephen Stites shows how he won the BC ice racing open pro class on a KX500. Photo courtesy Fat Pig Photography.

What other options do we have? Willy in Winnipeg heads out on snowmobiles and barely notices the cold. Zac hunkers down in his workshop and fixes up his old DR, while Costa cranks the heat in his insulated garage and tinkers with any number of motorcycles that his friends beg him to improve. Some of us screw studs into tires and hit the frozen lake, while others hit the highway anyway, all for a good cause. Some of us head south, perhaps trailering our bikes or sending them on ahead, and some collect them out of storage from the last place we visited on a trek around the world, one month at a time.

The rest of us watch movies, read books, and make those plans. Yesterday, I signed up for the Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting in Ontario this coming May. It’s on the shore of Rice Lake, which is frozen solid now but will be thoroughly thawed in just four months’ time. I guess I should fix up my old DR600 for that weekend so I don’t look like a total poser. Hmmm. It’s a pretty major project to get her running and there’s not that much time – good thing I’m not planning on riding for the next month or so.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as Oliver Brokentooth Solaro can attest, on his way here north to Churchill, Manitoba.

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