There’s a bit of danger in giving someone like me many, many months of indoor isolation such as a Western New York winter does each year. For it’s in these periods of intense boredom, semi-depression, and motorcycling magazine stacks – so high on the floor next to my chair that I begin using them to rest my coffee cup and the TV remote – that I
begin wondering why, like your average goose, many of us northerners don’t simply head south at the first sign of inclement weather.
The short answer, of course, is that jet setting to and from the tropics on an annual basis is a costly endeavor and small nuances such as jobs, mortgage payments, and contact with family and friends can all get in the way. Plus as the final proverbial straw to this camel’s back of a fantasy is the simple reality that most commercial airlines frown upon the practice of trying to fit your motorcycle in the aisle; a trend you can darn be sure isn’t going to improve any time soon what with anti-terrorist measures and all.
See, a few short years ago the only feasible relief came in the form of keeping pen pals with those individuals fortunate enough to live in warmer climes. This way, just as old man winter was at his worst, you could sit down at the typewriter (another antiquated notion) and put together a little testimonial to the non-riding induced hardships being endured. You would then proceed to brave your way to the nearest post office, drop the letter in the mail and wait patiently for the response. The response, of course, would almost always arrive in the spring on the same afternoon you were trying to resuscitate the dead battery in your VFR for a quick spin around the block. By then the thrill of living vicariously through your long-distant pal’s riding exploits was lost to your own excitement; too little, too late as it were.
These days the whole practice has been made terribly outdated by the Internet, instant messaging, texting, sexting, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else you’re kids are obsessed with this week. No longer is it necessary to write physical letters of ink and paper that need to be transported, very slowly, from postal hub to postal hub like an only-slightly improved version of the Pony Express. Letters these days sail from one side of the globe to the other at the speed of light and can include photos, voice, video clips and so on. Just the other day I was enjoying video footage of the weekend’s Supercross highlights on my phone, at work. The only way to feel more involved would have been if the aroma of burning race gas had been emanating from those little holes on the phone’s speaker. Side note: I should probably apply for the patent on this technology while I’m thinking about it so Google has to pay me royalties when the time comes for olfactory-interactive devices.
With snow blanketing the ground, perhaps our author, Jason, should invest in a 2Moto Snow Bike conversion kit for his motorcycle.
But I digress, where was I? Oh right, the Internet’s taken some of the suffering out of being housebound and not in the saddle for several months of the year. I find it’s quite alleviating to browse photos of bikes parked on beaches, under trees with leaves, and in driveways not awaiting the snow blower. Sometimes I’ll even correspond with the owners of these motorcycles by means of chat only to discover that they had just returned from a ride, that very day! I’ll then pop up a bag of microwave popcorn and relish in helmet-camera footage they captured on the ride, complete with the sounds of their new Yoshimura exhaust and the audible click as they up-shift from third to fourth in the section of canyon road just after the twisties. It may not be a full substitution to the real thing, but it sure takes the craving away like watching a commercial for a plump juicy sirloin when you’re good and hungry… Wait bad example.
The point is, kids these days have no idea how good they have it – just like I didn’t realize writing letters to my riding pen pals was superior to folding up a message in a bottle and dropping it into the ocean. Technology marches onward and for those of us stuck dealing with mother nature at her absolute grouchiest, it’s sure nice to know that there are places out there where bikes and automobiles still coexist in harmony, places where everything isn’t buried under a white blanket of snow, places where people don’t have to dress like an astronaut just to get the mail or answer the door when the UPS man rings the bell. And speaking of which, the Internet has also brought with it another little invention called eBay. See a few short years ago when you needed a new part you had to get dressed, get in the car, drive all the way to the nearest dealer…