While not the absolute warmest I can remember, it goes without saying that this year’s winter in southwest Ohio was unseasonably mild. I slipped in a handful of rides in January, and even a few more on the front end of February, but for whatever reason, the week of February 13th was impressively warm, so I took full advantage. That entire week was “warm and sunny” (for February…), so I rode the bike to work each day. That trend rapidly became two weeks straight as the following week also had relatively dry days. The last weekend in February had some minor threats of “winter weather”, so I decided to sneak in a 10 mile ride before it snowed to string together a few more days of non-stop riding. Before I knew it, this streak became the entire month of March, then April, and as of last weekend, 90 days and counting.
It’s kind of Forest Gump, (“Everywhere I went… I was riding….”) and it’s kind of following up on a self-imposed challenge. I said way back when that I wanted to ride a motorcycle for 365 days straight. I have no idea how to answer “why now”, nor do I believe that with my current, and only, machine, that I can keep this streak going for an entire calendar year; but that’s not going to stop me from going until I can no longer bear it, or “life happens” and I have to tackle more important things.
Needless to say, riding the bike every day for 10 miles or more since February, I’ve made a few observations:
Daylight comes at a premium…
You and your bike are going to get snowed on… which is actually not as bad as you thought.
Snow should obviously not to be taken lightly… but assuming you’re comfortable, a few flurries aren’t as terrifying as I thought they’d be. I do however recommend you not be in a hurry…
After you decide to ride “Rain or shine”… You get rained on… a lot…
Gear is everything… but I’ve mentioned that a few times… but nothing prepares you for debilitating fog…
If weather alone isn’t bad enough, Mother Nature can be unkind in other ways.
On the way to work a couple weeks ago, a bird struck both me and the bike. The “hit” was bad enough it flung my right foot off the peg. I felt like I was hit by a “wild pitch”; I was surprised there wasn’t a welt the next day. While Rosie didn’t seem to care, it was messy. A Few days later, I also witnessed my buddy hit a deer. He was unharmed, but I can’t say the same for the deer unfortunately.
You’re doing maintenance… all… the… time…
While I can’t pin down the exact numbers, I’ve covered around 6,500 miles since this madness began. I’ve now switched both tires, performed the 18k service, and replaced a chain. The chain really snuck up on me; in the event I truly decide to start a 365 day riding streak, a maintenance plan will be key.
“There’s no time like the present” to check a few items off the “Moto-Bucket-List”
You may see some of the most majestic views.
While I set a “10 mile minimum” standard for myself (I stole that rule from Blaine Paulus Jr.), this “winter” still offered up some of the best rides and best views I’ve ever seen. Watching the sunrise over the frost and fog each morning was fantastic, but I also took a long solo ride down to Red River Gorge in early March when the leaves were still down. That ride included a little dirt excursion up to Chimney Top Rock, a view I’ve wanted to see for some time; I just didn’t have the right bike to get there. That same wanderlust gave birth to the ad hoc DDDB trip a few weeks later, where the views were equally majestic, just in different ways.
With spring finally unfolding and summer on the horizon, I’ve been more thankful for the little things.
After my bird strike incident, I kind of felt like I “upset the balance” with nature or something. On some of my long journeys in the recent days, in appreciation for all of Mother Nature’s gifts that I have been enjoying so thoroughly, I stopped to rescue a few turtles crossing the road. In a similar fashion to Motobservations (Vlogger), I stopped and gave a stranded off-roader a short ride home. I figured it’s merely a matter of time before Rosie and I are stuck in the mud and I need a hand, so I wanted to pay it forward. Lastly, I’ve managed to get down to see my Grandma more this spring than I probably have in years (via motorcycle to boot!). Sharing coffee on the porch, stories of old times, and the breeze running through the Appalachian creek valley; I can’t ask for anything else.