Thursday, March 3, 2011

Let's Do Something About Winter, For Next Time

In my opinion, the world is not perfect. I know, I may be accused of being a "cup half empty" kind of guy, but I can't help it. I have this habit of looking for ways to make things better. That means motorcycles, of course, and in this way I'm like a lot of other bikers. But it also includes toasters, garages, lawns, clothing, and, yes the entire universe.

It's fun for me to "improve" things. Recently I added a backrest to my motorcycle, and now I think I have a better bike. But I realize that with more money, time, skill, I could do even better. Ultimately I could create the perfect motorcycle. Well, maybe not me, but someone could.

But now I'm getting carried away, I need to stop and consider. I have added a backrest, but is that really what a motorcycle is all about? What exactly do I want from a motorcycle? If I proceeded logically, one improvement after another all for comfort, the final product may end up being a car. If so, why waste all that time when I could just get in the car, instead of riding the bike?

Let's look at something else that needs improvement even more than my motorcycle does. Yes, I'm talking about the weather. Instead of buying cold weather gear, heaters and windshields, I would much rather improve the weather, in other words no more rain, cold, or ice. Here are some ideas:

The weather changes from day to day, so if you want good weather, simply go out when the weather is good, stay in when it's bad. Although this works in three of our seasons, it still leaves a long gap in the winter with no riding. And it also makes pre-planned group rides more difficult at any time of year.

Second cure for the weather, move to some place with better weather. I did that, too. I moved from Baie Comeau (Latitude 49 Deg. North) to Kitchener (Latitude 43 Degrees North), which is almost as far south as you can get in Canada. This has resulted in much shorter winters, and winters which generally have warm spells from time to time. But still uncomfortable to ride in. The Pacific coast may have been a better choice, it's farther north, but has warmer weather. Unfortunately it also rains a lot there.

Third cure is to drive somewhere south. But then I have to deal with border crossings, health insurance, a big lake blocking my way, and still some cold weather right near my home. I suppose a truck with room for a motorcycle solves some of that, but there we are again, coming full circle.

Fourth cure, get a snowmobile, or cross country skis or whatever, and get out in the beautiful winter wonderland that does exist somewhere. This is easier to do as you get further north, and away from population centres. This appeals to some people. But I happen to know by now, it does not appeal as much to me as warmer weather. But it does have the advantage of no mosquitoes or black flies (or people) - always look on the bright side I say.

But the best way of all to deal with winter, is to eliminate the tilt of the Earth, which is what causes the seasonal pattern in the first place.

Pictures: Mary Ann sitting on the beach in winter, taken near Sept Iles in February 2007, on the Gulf of St Lawrence. This is a nice view of winter because there is no slush here.

Picture 2: Slush This is what we see a lot of of winter. Slush is cold, wet, heavy, dirty, and salty. Cars and trucks spray you with it. It's hard to walk in. And it may freeze solid when the temperature drops. It usually occurs on roads and sidewalks.


  1. April is the cruellest month, breeding
    Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring
    Dull roots with spring rain.
    Winter kept us warm, covering
    Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
    A little life with dried tubers.

    ... T.S. Eliot The Waste Land (1922)

    Absent winter, would we appreciate April nearly as much?   ;-)

  2. Although I personally do like April, it sounds like T.S. Eliot does not. In Kitchener, in April the average daily temperature range is +11c to 0c.

    I made a rough calculation. If we straightened up the Earth's axis, Kitchener would have a year round daily average temperature range of +12c to +2c. And all the months would be about the same temperature as April. But the mood of appreciation would be a bit different of course.

    Now I think I'll read "The Waste Land" and see what the rest is about.

  3. You comment, 'Now I think I'll read "The Waste Land" and see what the rest is about.'

    Well, good luck with that one. Many's the arts and literature student who's struggled with that bit of doggeral (which many EngLit professors still consider the greatest work of English poetry)   ;-)

    In the case of Eliot, it's usually better to start off with something a bit more accessible, like his Preludes.

    The allusions and references in The Waste Land itself are virtually incomprehensible without a glossary ... LOL!

    However, The Waste Land did inspire what I consider the all-time greatest rock tone poem.