Marilyn Stemp, Executive Director of Iron Works Magazine is one of the sweetest ladies of our motorcycle industry. Very discreet but very efficient, she is one of those you will always see helping others during most charitable events. From her North Carolina office she shares her thoughts about riding to work, even in winter.
"As falls moves into winter, riders in the northern parts of the country tend to move to a mindset of hibernation. When I lived in the northeast, that process was well on its way by November. In fact we assumed that the riding season would be finished by Thanksgiving and began to prep the bikes for winter storage, unless we wanted to hone our ice-racing skills. Here in the Carolinas, the weather allows for more optimism, as riding right through the winter remains a possibility, so we keep the bikes ready to take advantage of nice days when mother nature allows. I’ve lately been talking with riders who have clocked up mega-miles on motorcycles over the years, asking them how it happened that they rode so many miles, how they incorporated riding into their lives. They’ve been kind to share their philosophies with me and I’ve been impressed by the variety of the responses.
Some riders have made it a quest to rack up as many miles as they can, taking an annual cross-country trip and hitting every poker run to keep the clock rolling. They wear their miles like a badge of honor. Others don’t even notice, they simply ride for the pleasure of it. Some commute by motorcycle or ride everywhere they go, using their bikes as transportation in these times of high fuel prices, and high miles are a consequence of this. I can relate to this frugal approach.
Weather is a deterrent for some. Others ride if they want to ride, dealing with less than favorable weather if necessary, going on two wheels in any case. Then there’s the fair-weather-only crowd who keep the bike parked when there’s the slightest chance of rain because, as we say in the south, they’re so sweet they might melt if they get wet. Hmmm, I know some of these people and I don’t think that’s the reason.
As I’ve been thinking about the coming winter, the advice I heard more than once from the high mile riders hit home: "Don’t worry about the weather," I was told. "Just get some good riding gear and go." The second most repeated comment: "Ride with someone who thinks like you, or ride alone." That advice addresses safety as much as enjoyment.
So are you getting ready to hibernate? Or are you like Cyril, blessed with south Florida weather in the winter months? If you’re a high mile rider, has that happened by intent or do you simply ride everywhere because it’s your first choice in transportation? Does the weather hold you back? I’m a proponent of emphasizing the economy of motorcycles, not only related to gas mileage but in traffic reduction, ease of parking, even leaving behind a smaller carbon footprint. Andy Goldfine at RIDE TO WORK has compiled all the rationale you need to keep riding your bike for transportation. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see all the cars clogging up the highways of this country, I have to wonder why the EPA is worried about motorcycle emissions. Aren’t there any motorcycle riders working for the EPA?" Marilyn Stemp, Executive Editor Iron Works Magazine