Time of the Season
TAKING AIM, by Chris Maida, editor
As I write this, it’s about two weeks before Thanksgiving, and, as per many of the suggestions and tips given in last’s issue’s Storage Strategies by John Frank, I’m preparing my bikes for a hopefully not-too-long winter’s nap.
Whether it’s due to global warming or just the constantly changing cycles of our planet’s weather systems (I’m not getting into that debate), this yearly ritual can take place during different months/weeks of the year. When I first moved to Connecticut from New York and started working at TAM, I was able to ride all year. In fact, I didn’t have a car, only bikes. Of course, my wife at the time had that bastion of modern family life — the minivan — to haul herself, the kids, and the paraphernalia required for them. (It’s always amazed me how much stuff is needed to take care of two toddlers, but I’m not getting into that now, either!) The winters were mild for this part of the country back then, which was in the late 1990s. Very rarely did it snow, though it was, of course, cold out. Other than watching out for patches of black ice at stoplights thanks to people throwing coffee out their car windows, riding one of my bikes to work was a safe, cheap, though chilly, way to commute.
Unfortunately, for the last 10 years, winter here in the northeast has been more what you would expect. We can get snow starting in November (our first was yesterday, November 12) until late March, hence the need to pack the machines safely away. Bummer! However, Joe and I have been known to ride down to Daytona Bike Week in early March with snow on and all along the side of the road. People in cars look at you like you’re crazy, but what the hell. As long as they look at us and don’t run us off the road I’m good with it.
No matter when nap time comes for your bike(s) where you live, if it comes at all, be sure to take the time to properly stow away your machines, this includes motorcycles, lawn mowers, or anything else that has a gasoline engine. The better you do this process, the easier it will be to fire them up when needed. This is especially true with ethanol gasoline in carbureted bikes. I’ve had to pull apart and clean many a friend’s carb to remove the varnish residue left by evaporated ethanol gas. But I’m not going to get into that now, either!
See you on the road.
Editor Chris Maida’s column “Taking AIM” appears monthly in American Iron Magazine.
This article originally appeared in issue #306, published in February, 2014.
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