Can't ride due to winter weather? Try a long sit and think on your bike, it'll do you good.
Winter is a melancholy time for northern motorcyclists. Today, mentally unable to work, I practiced the age old art of bikesitting. I cranked up the heat in the Tiny Garage to a balmy 58 degrees, stepped out of the house with a really strong cup of tea, and just sat on the Norton. Bikesitting is a kind of meditation – a time to think about rides to come and reflect on rides past.
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I look down at the bike, it's a slightly odd combination of black and silver (slightly odd because everyone knows that the approved color for a Norton is black and gold). My life is filled with mistakes like that. The choke lever is loose, a reminder of long overdue upkeep. No maintenance and upkeep today, though. Today, I am bikesitting. Just sitting and thinking and enjoying my tea. My thoughts wander to the other bikes. The Panther needs a new clutch. (do they even make Panther clutches anymore? - JM). The KZ400 some tuning and a purpose, because small bikes without a purpose tend to die lonely. The BSA Fireball project needs, well, everything except a front wheel. Ask me about the front wheel. Never, ever, take on a bike that has been in a fire friends, it will break your heart and empty your wallet.
The Fireball BSA in all its glory
The workload is piling up, not including four customer bikes, two of which are in for major overhaul. This fact wrecks my meditation, so I get up, open a Deschutes Black Butte Porter, and pop Howlin’ Wolf – The London Sessions if you're curious – into the CD player. Yeah, CD player. I’ve bought this music three times – Vinyl, Cassette, and CD. Last week, while wiring up a CB750, I found it again on Spotify. Getting old certainly has its quirks.
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The opening harmonica (Ronnie Wood, I think) is awesome and I honk along with my own harmonica for a bit. Yes, beer and harmonicas live in the workshop (Where else would they live? -JM). I’m awful, but I don't care. My backup band is great and I get inspired. I think of long motorcycle trips I’ve taken. Day after day a routine of ride, eat, sleep, ride again, reboots the soul. This spiritual reboot is so profound that I remember every trip. Every one, and I have been blessed with many. Lots were taken on this very Norton, my good old friend.
Now I look ahead at what I should do for 2018. This year, I think a run up M25 around Michigan’s thumb is in order, maybe all the way to the Mackinaw Bridge. This was an annual ritual or me once, but it’s been years. Old riding friends have moved away, a couple have died, others don’t ride much these days. Getting old certainly has its costs.
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What are your riding plans for 2018? Where will you go? If you're not sure, I suggest a bikesitting day to get the juices flowing. Sit on your bike, perhaps meditate a bit, make a plan, make a list, call a friend, study a map. NOT GPS. GPS shows one road at a time, a map shows all the roads at once – a web of endless possibilities. Set a date and stick to it. Share your plans. Did I mention call a friend? I know for sure that a ride, with a friend for a few days, up the M25 to Mackinaw would be just what I need. Who’s up?