Here in Texas, we have a relatively short off season. The weather here just doesn’t go into months of deep frost. Even in what passes as the dead of winter in Texarkana, I can find a couple of riding days in any two week period. I never store my bikes for the winter. They just aren’t going to be there long enough for that to be a necessity.
I find it interesting to listen to the guys from more northern climates on the various motorcycle boards I belong to. I think the off season can be harder on the riders than on the bikes. They’ve had to winterize their rides with additives to the gas and oil. Some believe in draining the fluids, while other insist that keeping seals moist is important. The motorcycles have to be protected from the elements. Some find winter homes in garages or storage buildings while others are wrapped warmly under bike covers.
As the machines peacefully slumber the winter away, their owners grow increasingly frustrated. A few, possessing large enough working areas, ease their pains with winter projects and maintenance. Many others turn to forums and biker boards trying to stay connected in some way with motorcycling. But often the good-natured and friendly posts about summer rides and adventures are replaced with laments about being stuck inside. Tempers are shorter and the topic list is broader than in the summer months. The result is often a general decline in civility and tolerance manifested online. Several members have commented on the cyclic nature of online temperament. During the winter months there is more arguing and name-calling than when people are out burning energy and frustrations as well as gasoline on the road. I also see more people coming and going on the boards during the winter. As one person gets feelings hurt and leaves, another will join. And often, the newbie will have just left, or been kicked off, another board.
But eventually the days get longer, the weather warmer, and the flowers start to bloom. And guys who sounded as though they might have done violence had they been in the same room will clap each other on the back as they leave a favored greasy spoon to put some miles under their wheels.
So to all of you out there sick of the trolls, hang on. Summer’s coming.
－ Guy Wheatley