Like a crack fiend leaving the confines of their apartment to score the next hit, we two-wheeled enthusiasts too have our itch – and various methods of scratching it.
To feel the true sensation of freedom get your license and take a scoot or a motorcycle out on the road, be it a zip through an urban center or a hair-raising ride down some nice twisty roads. But remove the ability to experience that sensation, via snow covered or icy roads, and you’ll be going partly insane just waiting for the temperature to rise so that you can relive the very reason why you ride.
Riding anything with less than 4 wheels (some would argue 3 wheels is 1 too many) really is addicting, and the freedoms that come with living in North America means that we have some very fun big boy toys at our fingertips. The downside? These damn changing seasons that force the majority of enthusiast in Canada to wheel their ride into the garden shed for the coldest months. How you solve this problem is completely up to you, but I’ve compiled some suggestions that are tried and true.
Not the ones that you have to hide from your significant other, I’m talking about motorcycle websites and scooter sites. If you’re reading this on YouMotorcycle.com then you already know one good site, now be sure to check back here daily and for new material and sign-up for our newsletter so that you don’t miss a thing. For even more YM be sure to follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook – if you’re into that.
YouTube is another highly recommended source for amazing riding footage, travel tours, gear tests and DIY tutorials. Please keep in mind that anyone can post a video on Youtube so you’re going to want to use your thinking cap before believing whatever you just watched, don’t prove Darwin right. Kijiji and AutoTrader are two others that I surf religiously, even if I’m in no position to purchase a motorbike. It might sound redundant but curiosity and pretend-money are wonderful things.
Forums and manufacture site are the final suggestions. Again keep in mind that one is a little more reliable than the other, but both can be great sources for vehicle specification, new releases and tons of ‘bonus material’ like videos, wallpapers and image galleries. I’d love to compile a list of all of them for you but the options really are endless. Be prepared to poke around a bit and you’ll soon begin to recognize certain sites. Of course, there’s always the YouMotorcycle Links page, where we’ve got some specific links we like.
These pre-historic paperbacks are retro, but always in style. Plus, you can take them to the porcelain thrown with you, dog-ear the good stuff and rip the best pictures or articles out so that nobody else has access to them. Seriously though there are some amazing fictional novels, factual maintenance guides and encyclopaedias. Can’t afford them? Read it for free at Chapters, but if you like what you’re reading consider purchasing it or subscribing because it’s the best way to ensure they’ll be around for future generations to enjoy.
Hint: Read MotorcycleMojo. Do it.
Nothing goes better with beer on a cold ride-less winter’s night like a motorcycle movie. My specialties are of the motorcycle variety so if you’re looking for scooter flicks I’d recommend you surf Google, or ask your friends with scooters. Now for the non-step-through stuff here is my personal short list: The World’s Fastest Indian (because Anthony Hopkins is awesome), One Week (because it’s stuff full of Canadian pride and the spirit of riding an old English motorcycle), Easy Rider (because it’s likely the pinnacle in motorcycling Americana), On Any Sunday (because it’s packed with the best off-road riders and captures the simple beauty of dirt bikes), The Wild One (because it’s a true classic motorcycle gang movie), The Long Way Round (because although it is a high-budget Hollywood flick it can be attributed to kicking-off the adventure touring motorcycle segment craze) and The Great Escape (because I have a man-crush for Steve McQueen, skip to the actual escape for the motorbike goods). Do not watch Wild Hogs, it’s the ultimate cliché and somehow always makes it to the top of the motorcycle must-watch list. Along with the previously mentioned, I’d also recommend any racing footage, be it MotoGP, Speedway, Trials or something else, because they always leave me motivated to improve myself as a rider.
Your Local Dealership:
Keep in mind that you don’t want to waste any of the staff’s time, but I’m sure many sales guys wouldn’t mind you grabbing some brochures or asking some questions while checking out their inventory. Some dealers sell motorcycles only, but more than likely they swap what’s on their showroom floor with the changing seasons. Snowmobiles, ATVs, generators and snow blowers might have replaced the shinny scooters and motorcycles that were all on display a few short months ago – but chances are there might be some used motorcycles tucked away begging to be sat on.
Back tracking to my website suggestions for a minute; you can also scan your local dealership’s website for motorcycles that they might have sleeping in storage. Their sites are also a handy source of motorcycle gear blowout specials and other info like tech nights.
From Moncton to Vancouver the motorcycle show season is finally here! Depending on your location you might have to travel a bit, but I can assure you it will be worth your effort. The bike shows all across Canada and the United States are like candy shops, back when you were a kid. Now you’re starting to watch your waistline and your cholesterol levels but thankfully the ‘candy’ is much different now too. The awesome thing about motorcycle shows is that 90% of the vendors are just as pumped as you. Manufactures are ASKING you to sit on their motorcycles, adjust the mirrors and babble your lips while humming to make your best engine impression.
Come with cash though as most shows allow you to purchase motorcycles right there on the spot, and gear, t-shirts, tools, accessories and related-art can all be had for decent prices. Admission fees range from $0 at small local shows, all the way up to ‘a badly cared-for kidney’ at the larger national shows once you factor in gas, parking and the overpriced food. For a complete list of the 7 national shows hosted by the Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council visit MMIC.ca and click on ‘Motorcycle Shows’. For the smaller regional shows try using that interweb thing everyone is talking about, scan your local newspaper or ask fellow riding buddies. Speaking of riding buddies, the motorcycle shows are a great way to reconnect with those you only see during the summer for your Sunday morning rides. Don’t have any friends? Well motorcycle shows can be a great place to make new ones too.
Hint: The very first national motorcycle show in Canada is in Toronto from December 7th – 9th. If you’re reading this anytime after those dates then you’ve already missed at least one, so be sure to find the next nearest you.
Quality Time with the One You Love
Okay if you’re still reading that means you hopefully like my article thus far, and want to see what other helpful advice I have for you, or you’re unsatisfied with everything you’ve read and are hoping I’m going to end it with something useful. If you didn’t sell your motorcycle or scooter at the end of this past season then you’re in luck. Honestly, the absolute best thing you can do when you’re getting that itch to ride is to dress warmly, make a cup of coffee (or tea) and go spend time with your motorcycle. If you’re passionate enough to feel the itch then I know seeing he/her will help calm your nerves. While you’re out spending quality time with it check for damaged parts like cracked fuel lines, bent spokes, rust or anything else that might have happened while it’s been patiently waiting for you. If you love your mount as much as I do mine then even just staring at it will help numb the pain.
Share YOUR methods of scratching the itch on our Facebook page. By doing so you’ll pick up new tips, help others and hopefully enjoy all the other stuff happening on our page. Be sure to post pictures of your with your ride!