With fall firmly here and winter trying to set in, any day the weather warms a bit I try to get out for a ride, knowing full well that any day now might be that last perfect ride of the year. Kansas winters can have their warm days, so I don’t really completely take any of my bikes off the road for the winter, unless repair or upgrades mean pulling one apart for a time (which, well, happens every year at some point!).
This last weekend had one of those last great days, and I was determined to get my Norton out for a run. A favorite quick jaunt from Topeka is to head west on K4 towards Dover. I’ve ridden that road hundreds of times over the 20-plus years I’ve lived in Kansas, and it’s always a good way to shake the rust off, whether it be mental or physical. The pavement is nice (unless it’s particularly sandy or gravel-ridden thanks to farm trucks and trailers pulling stones up from the shoulders) and the road is full of sweeping, flowing curves and elevation changes. It’s not the Tail of the Dragon, but it is about 15 minutes from my garage door.
I ran K4 out and back Saturday, then decided that the weather was just too perfect to call it a day. I was having too much fun, and dark was still an hour or so off, so I turned around and ran it again, stopping to take a picture on the way home. It’s always nice to have one of those photos to imprint on the memory, to keep you warm through the winter until temperatures rise and the streets are clean again.
If you’re willing to travel a bit, winter doesn’t really have to set in at all. If you can make it to Florida, I encourage you to head down to the 14th Annual Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show on Saturday, Jan. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Frost Park. It’s free to attend, with an affordable fee to enter your bike in the show if you wish. The numbers seem to grow each year, and they’re getting close to having 400 motorcycles enter the show.
Whether you make it to Florida or not, spring will be here before you know it. Now is the time to think about what your bike needs to be ready when the warm weather returns. I’ve decided my Norton is due for some shocks before spring, along with a couple other tweaks. What bike projects are you working on this winter? Send me a note at email@example.com, and a photo too!