It’s often easier to forget about the things you miss rather than dwell on them. During winter, we neglect the urge to ride and tuck it away in a far corner of our brain. We do the same to the community that surrounds biking. As the world changes, the idea of a new normal becomes more commonplace; the things and feelings you experienced in the past slowly fade away to distant memories that occasionally resurface for short periods of time.
I recently took a trip to Victoria, B.C., and while there I thought I’d stop by a couple of the dealerships to have a look at the new models coming in. I donned my mask and meandered in and was quickly greeted by some of the staff. They may have lost some motivation once I made it clear that I wasn’t there to buy a bike, but I was happy to just talk bikes with them. After I walked out of Island Triumph, I felt like I was on a high; so happy and ecstatic about the experience of speaking with someone about the joys of motorcycles.
I went across the road to Victoria Harley-Davidson. I ogled at the bikes and spent about an hour chatting to the staff. We created conversation surrounding bikes, and again, I walked away feeling a new sense of happiness and release because of the social outing.
Leaving the shop, I felt a euphoria of sorts. I sat and thought a bit about this after, and realized that what I had been missing was the sense of community that I always felt through motorcycles. Throughout the winter especially, our community quiets down and goes digital. You miss looking at new bikes, riding bikes and having conversations face-to-face about motorcycles. In the past, our Canadian motorcycle shows had always filled this void, but with the cancellation of the shows for the past two years we, as a collective culture, had missed out on this type of interaction.
This idea of the culture that’s created through motorcycling is transparent across all genres of riders. Whether we realize it or not, and no matter what we ride, we all share the same passion and the same need to connect with fellow riders. Although I experienced this for the first time in a long time through these dealerships, it underlined the importance that our Canadian motorcycle shows actually hold within our community.
After experiencing this missed connection, I started reaching out to more of my motorcycle friends to create more small community moments. I started participating on a podcast with a couple of other motorcyclists; just having a conversation about bikes with people through a computer gave me fulfillment from something I had been missing.
In the winter I had always relied on motorcycle shows; it always felt like a family reunion. Now, I have created a similar connection in a more technological and non-traditional sense. It’s not the same by any means, but it still offers the essence of what we had lost out on through the past few years.
With these recent connections, I thought about what else I had missed out on this winter. The obvious answer was motorcycling. I decided that, even though it wasn’t riding season yet, I needed to search for more ways to connect with riders in real life. This was also a great way to get back on a bike in winter.
I had taken a long hiatus from snowbiking after a bad crash that led to serious injuries. However, I had some friends coming to ride snowbikes, and I was not about to miss out on this opportunity. I hopped on one and immediately felt comfortable again. I remembered why I loved snowbiking before I developed a fear of it. On top of that, I was able to reconnect with a couple of riding friends that I normally only see in the summer.
I wanted to get more creative with my winter riding; I had a set of studded tires and a dirtbike that was begging to be ridden. I swapped the rubber for studs and brought the bike down to an ice-covered riverbed that offered a mix of ice, snow and a bit of dirt.
Through connecting again in small ways with the biking community, I had found inspiration to ride in the winter, along with realizing what I was missing throughout this winter. I found my purpose and drive to get out and ride.
Through our community, we can thrive, learn, and feel immense comfort in knowing there are like-minded people standing by us to help with any fears or questions we might have about motorcycles. These connections can also inspire us to continue riding, and spark the urge to find new ways to ride in the off season.