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Check out this excerpt from the Motorcycle Superstore blog section, from author Graham H:

Why We Ride… Even in the Winter

Living and riding in the Pacific Northwest is amazing for so many reasons. We’ve got twisty mountain roads, no traffic, fresh air, beautiful panoramas, amazing communities of riders and enthusiasts, and so much more. Riding year-round in the Northwest can be brutal though, when winter weather rolls in.



So far this has been a pretty cold winter here in Southern Oregon, and as someone who prides himself on riding to work and working to ride, I had to endure almost two months off of my bikes this winter, with below-freezing temperatures, freezing fog, ice and frost on the roads and the resulting red rock gravel all over the roads, dumped by the plows.

Itching to get some time out of my cage and on the throttle, I jumped at the first opportunity I had to ride! I woke up last Thursday and saw a temperature of 36 degrees out, so I geared up, unplugged my battery tender and warmed up my bike. What an amazing feeling to shoot to work on my Husky Supermoto, wind whistling through my helmet, the big-bore single-cylinder engine roaring, smelling the crisp morning air, ahhhhhh… stress was flowing behind me out of the exhaust vents of my helmet and combining with the exhaust from my bike.

My cold morning commute reminded me of one of my absolute favorite passages about riding I’ve ever read, so I figured there have got to be some fellow cold-weather soldiers out there who would appreciate this short essay by moto-blogger Dave Karlotski. It’s an oldie but a goodie:

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Season of the Bike
By Dave Karlotski

"There is cold, and there is cold on a motorcycle. Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a bone bruising cold. The wind's big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away; caught in a cold October rain, the drops don't even feel like water. They feel like shards of bone fallen from the skies of Hell to pock my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead streaked with blood, but that's just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.



Despite this, it's hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you're changed forever. The letters "MC" are stamped on your driver's license right next to your sex and height as if "motorcycle" was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition.

But when warm weather finally does come around all those cold snaps and rainstorms are paid in full because a motorcycle summer is worth any price. A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us languidly from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.

On a motorcycle I know I'm alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sunlight that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than PanaVision and higher than IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard.

Sometimes I even hear music. It's like hearing phantom telephones in the shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raises acoustic ghosts out of the wind's roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock 'n roll, dark orchestras, women's voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed.

At 30 miles an hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the individual tree-smells and flower-smells and grass-smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony. Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it's as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it.

A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous. The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane. Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It's a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It's light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it's a conduit of grace, it's a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy.

I still think of myself as a motorcycle amateur, but by now I've had a handful of bikes over a half dozen years and slept under my share of bridges. I wouldn't trade one second of either the good times or the misery. Learning to ride was one of the best things I've done.

Cars lie to us and tell us we're safe, powerful, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, "Sleep, sleep." Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth: we are small and exposed, and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that's no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride."

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Personally, I can’t read this without getting goose-bumps and itching for the rumble of an engine beneath me. Thank you Dave, for putting the intangible joy of riding into words so eloquently. For more of his work, just google Dave Karlotski.

Here at Motorcycle Superstore, we’ve got all the gear you need to stay warm and safe, even through a winter on two wheels. Check out our huge selection of heated gear, waterproof gear, heated grips, full-face helmets, balaclavas, and so much more.

Or click here for huge savings on everything you need to extend your riding season: www.motorcycle-superstore.com/692/MNGR/Extend-Riding-Season-with-Cold-Weather-Riding-Gear-from-Motorcycle-Superstore.aspx

By Graham H.

You can keep up with the staff of fellow riders at Motorcycle Superstore in our blog section. Check back weekly for new posts: Latest Motorcycle Superstore Blogs - Motorcycle Superstore
 
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