January 6 2011 by Jason Fogelson
I'm lucky -- I live in Southern California. We ride here during the whole year. I actually moved to California in order to extend my riding season. I was living in New York City with my trusty Sportster, Manny, and my work situation changed. I became a freelancer, and my clients were as likely to be in Chicago or Los Angeles or Dallas as they were in New York. I realized that I could live anywhere -- so I chose the part of the country where I could ride all year long. I have never regretted that decision, even when I miss some of the cultural and business advantages of living in Manhattan. I love to ride, and just knowing that I can jump on my bike in the middle of January makes every day feel full of possibility.
Perhaps you live in a climate where year-round riding doesn't seem possible. Maybe your work life, your family life, your economic circumstances don't make relocating to a more temperate climate realistic or even desirable. That doesn't mean that you can't extend your riding season -- or borrow some.
Most riders pack away their bikes way too early in the year, and leave them winterized way too long. As long as the temperatures remain above freezing (32º F), I consider it safe to ride. With the right gear, and with a bike in good riding condition, motorcycling can be enjoyable in cold weather.
In some cold climates, riders even outfit their dirt bikes with knobbies or spikes to ride in the snow and ice. DieselJo is a group of motorcycle ice racers based in Wisconsin, and their website is a great resource for getting started on this exciting, challenging sport.
Another great way to extend your riding season is motorcycle rental. Choose a great, warm weather location, and arrange a motorcycle rental to build a trip around. Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals features hundreds of locations at dealerships across the country, and some even offer online booking. What could be easier? Then, use the HOG Ride Planner, and find the BEST WESTERN Hotels in the area, and you've got a warm weather road trip on your hands. Don't forget the Ride Rewards.
If ice riding or bike rental is beyond your budget or time limitation this winter, how about a little bench racing? I'm not a big video game guy, but I have friends who swear by the Harley-Davidson Race to the Rally game for PC and PlayStation3. There are also MotoGP and motocross games for all platforms, so you can get some simulated thrill without busting the budget or leaving your comfy garage.
There's no reason to let your motorcycle mania hibernate for the winter along with your bike. Get out there on two wheels -- either in real life or in your head! Just do it!