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FRIGID MORNING TEMPS: Mabel sure is cold!

Winter is despair.

I lay here worrying about Mabel. She is out there, with the wind’s bony, chilly fingers grasping at her flimsy cover, her cylinders reaching subfreezing temperatures, her whole demeanor grim. If there is any evidence that bikers know that Mabel and bikes like her are alive and have souls, my angst about her welfare—is it.

Whether or not this surety of knowledge is justified, or valid, may be up for debate. After all, there are bikers who form no emotional attachments to their individual bikes—and treat ’em like so many replaceable machines. You either know your bike is a living entity, or ya don’t

Those of you in sunny southern climates who ride all year round, can’t relate to the anxiety I feel about my bike in the winter. Those who live in cold climates like me and Mabel do, who keep their bikes in toasty warm and dry garages—get it somewhat. However, those in cold climates who have to keep their bikes outside—totally get what I’m rappin’ about.

I feel remote from my motorcycle.

I feel remote, and the most disconnected from my Harley, more distant, and yes, guilty, about her being left to suffer the elements of ‘Ole Man Winter.

This depression and anxiety I feel about my bike in the winter, is difficult to explain to a biker who has his bike in a garage. It is downright impossible to convey to a non-biker, who has no earthly idea, of how we bikers love our bikes, and some of us who feel our bikes have souls and are living entities.

I didn’t really understand this anxiety I feel—and I realize now, that I have felt it every winter for years—but I finally know that this anxiety is a form of guilt about my motorcycle being alone, and cold.

The 22 year old Genghis might be out there, riding his motorcycle even in the dead of winter, but not this Genghis. This is part of it too. The older Genghis is more lethargic about riding, truth be told, when it gets colder. So sue me, okay? Hey man, I feel like….

“I should be out there firing her up, being with her, blasting down the highway like I did when I was young….right?”

There’s always the feeling that I “should be” riding her–but hey, if there’s one thing I know about myself….

I do what I feel like doing.

I do feel it is worthwhile though, to examine this anxious emotion I feel about my motorcycle in the wintertime, as I think that many in the Biker Subculture can relate to it.

Get this straight—my Harley lives. I treat her like a person, because she is a person, and she is loved as a person. And if I’m right, she loves me back, just as a person would.

This is the love that dare not speak its name.

The love for one’s motorcycle. It’s been quoted so many times in the past half century, I don’t think I have to repeat Hunter S. Thompson’s quote of a Hells Angel from the ’60s regarding how he loves his Harley. You know it by heart by now.

So, now I understand the anxiety I feel about my Harley, in the winters. It is firmly rooted in love for the ‘ole girl, and that’s a good thing. So, I pass by Mabel in her cold parking lot, and pat her on the seat, tank and cylinders, and say….

“Soon, Mabel. Soon, when it gets a little warmer…”





6 Responses to ““WINTER IS DESPAIR””

  1. Mike Smith Says:

    Memories of Alaska. My FXWG parked in the driveway completely buried by a big snow. Dug down 2 feet and could see the handlebars, then dug out a bathtub shaped ring down to ground level. Had set the points, renewed plugs, and changed oil when I parked Helga in the fall. Cabin to driveway was about 100 feet, could view her from kitchen window until that January. Firing her up at 14 degrees and watching her turn the white snow black from the twin drag pipes kept the hope for a spring ride alive. It was 7 miles of gravel road to the Sterling Highway in Anchor Point, A road called The North Fork Road, then 12 miles of pavement to the Texaco station in Homer where I was bending wrenches and fixing flats. Helga was a tough old gal, only asked for premium fuel from the local airport, clean oil, some chain lube, and some plugs from time to time. Going to and from work during riding season worked better than any other method to keep my sanity. First loves have the best memories .

  2. Bill Cee Says:

    Sunset has taken me from coast to coast. Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf coasts. We are one.

  3. Frank Says:

    Dang! My Shovelhead is sitting in the cold and damp garage, it´s wet and cold outside and I still have to do some wrenching. Let´s hope for March! Those winters are killing me…


    Hey Frank! Join the club. 🙂

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