A Biker’s Thanksgiving

Posted in: Events and News | October 16, 2014


Thanksgiving is a bittersweet holiday for motorcycle riders in the chilly environs of Ontario. Oh sure, it’s usually as close to perfect riding weather as you can get. Except when it’s not. Except when an unexpected snow storm hits. Or cold, possibly even freezing, rain falls on the Oktoberfest Parade. Most depressing, though, is the simple fact that the advent of Thanksgiving means, at best, a meagre few weeks of riding are left before we have to strap the bike onto a trailer and head on down to Florida. If we’re snowbirds. The rest of us just have to hunker down and wait for spring.

Thanksgiving in an Ontario motorcycle rider’s household is generally a very sombre affair. Turkey and Hot Cider can’t settle that uneasy feeling in the pit of your gut that Riding Season is Almost Over. The sun gets closer to the horizon every night on your commute home from work almost immediately after Labour Day. Frost kills off all those flowers you patiently planted a couple of months ago. The painted lines on the road are truly treacherous now, and you avoid them while riding to an extent that you didn’t have to do a couple of weeks earlier.

Here’s a News Flash: putting off winterizing your bike does not alter the onset of winter. Once you’ve put up the Christmas lights, mulched the piles of wet, cold leaves (yes, those treacherous slippery-when-on-the-road leaves), and spread straw on the strawberry patch… you really have to face the facts. After the mashed potatoes and gravy, and even after the following week of cold turkey sandwiches, you’re not in summer anymore.

All of nature, not just the dying flora in your yard, conspires against you to try to get that motorcycle tucked away. Even the turkeys are out to get us. Don’t believe it? Just watch this video of a Wild Turkey Attacking a Motorcycle and you’ll know that it’s true.

Then there are the Friends With Logistical Problems. Here’s a sample of some of the problems they constantly agonize over while you try to sympathize and be helpful. Problems like: should I ride down to my condo in Arizona or should I trailer the bike? Maybe I’ll ride and let my wife fly down? So you listen, mumbling agreement or consolation, considering whether you will store your bike at the dealers or in your garage, whether you need new tires in the spring and therefore should you buy them on sale now…

But it’s not all doom and gloom. You have to admit, at least the weather on Thanksgiving weekend is usually good enough that you can escape for a ride after dinner and let strange Uncle Charlie and Aunt Isadora sleep off the punch while the kids methodically destroy your TV room.

With any luck you’ll still have a few more rides on sunny, cool days in that beautiful hazy air of Fall through the dazzling coloured panorama of scenery. Each ride, the later in the season that you venture out, becomes all the more meaningful, all the more memorable because you’ve effectively stolen it from the stingy weather gods.

But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the fact that countless numbers of motorcyclists contribute, both through club rides and simply through individual contributions, to, for example, the Yonge Street Mission (where you can supply an entire meal for $3.11!), the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, and any and all local food banks and organizations that do an excellent job of getting food to those who need it most.  Despite all of our own little issues, we all recognize that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what we have and to share generously with those who are in need.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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