Bikers, Winter Doesn’t Have to Suck: What to Do When It’s Too Cold to Ride Your Motorcycle

January can be a depressing time for motorcycle enthusiasts who live north of the winter snow line. Our bikes are most likely in a garage with the battery removed and the oil drained, but that doesn’t mean there are no outlets to fill the hole left by your usual adrenaline pumping hobby.

Try a Snowmobile

If you live somewhere where the winters are particularly white and powdery, finding a new way to feel the wind on your face at high speeds may be as simple as switching to a snowmobile. Snowmobiles, also called snow machines, are often compared to motorcycles for their open riding, powerful engines and typical capacity for a driver and one passenger.

Snowmobiles are powered by either a 4- or 2-stroke internal combustion engine. Some later models can produce horsepower of up to 180, and some are designed to go 150 mph or more. Snowmobiles run on tracks made of a Kevlar composite and most are made by one of four companies: Ski-Doo, Polaris, Arctic Cat or Yamaha.

Originally designed to go where other vehicles simply couldn’t in winter weather, snowmobiles are still a great way to explore snowy trails and frozen lakes. If you don’t live near a park or forest, you may not want to fork over the cash to purchase a new snowmobile, which can go for $6000 or more. Consider a trip to a state park or recreation area where snowmobile rentals and tours go for about the same price as a ski lift ticket.

Perhaps the most exciting reason to give snowmobiling a try comes from fellow Biker Gift Shop blogger, Biker Black. He says, “Riding a motorcycle and riding a snowmobile have a lot in common, but snowmobiles have one extra advantage. Because you’re not on a road, you can go as fast as you want. On a frozen lake, you can push down the throttle and go full speed, and it’s legal! Where else can you do that? Maybe on the Salt Flats in a bike, but that’s all I can think of.”

Stay Warm on the Couch with Motorcycle and Biker Video Games

If you’d rather stay as far away from the frosty weather as you can, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a high-speed experience from the comfort of your living room.

Full disclosure – I’m not much of a gamer myself, but with the cinematic quality of graphics and lifelike physics of today’s video games, it’s undeniable that they are a great way to feed your need for excitement. And don’t forget about the classic motorcycle video games of the ‘80s and ‘90s either. The nostalgia factor alone is enough to give you a kick on the long, dark nights of winter. Here’s a list of some above average options when the ice has you couch bound.

7 Popular Motorcycle Games

1. SBK X Superbike World Championship – Available for PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, this supercharged motorcycle racing game debuted in 2010 and features two modes to cater to both arcade style and the simulation style play. It boasts stunning graphics and detailed courses with realistic 3D crowds cheering you on.


2. GP500 – Created for the PC and released in 1999, this game is still a popular option for online play. Even today online racing leagues compete in GP500 races. The game is a simulation of the 1998 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, containing 24 riders from the official roster. At the time it came out, it was one of the most advanced motorcycle games available.


3. Trials HD – was launched for Xbox in 2009 as part of the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade title. In the game the player attempts to guide a motorcycle over obstacles and objects including vertical climbs and boxes of dynamite in a world of exaggerated physics and puzzles. There are 35 courses in the game and difficulty ranges from beginner to extreme. Players can also create and share their own levels with friends. This addictive game has consistently garnered positive reviews.


4. Tourist Trophy:The Real Riding Simulator – Released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, this realistic motorcycle racing game was designed by Polyphony Digital, the same company that makes the Gran Turismo auto racing games. The game uses the same physics engine, graphics and most of the circuits found in Gran Turismo 4, but this game features 132 different road and racing bikes from 12 different manufacturers. So, if there’s a bike you’ve always wanted to ride, this game may get you a step closer.


5. Excitebike – The original NES game came out in 1986 and for some of us may have been the first motorcycle video game we played. The game features five tracks where the player can race alone or against computer riders. You’ll race to compete in the Excitebike championship race. If you don’t still have a functional Nintendo in your basement somewhere, never fear, the Nintendo Wii offers a revamped version that launched in 2011.


6. Road Rash – Long before Grand Theft Auto had players terrorizing the streets there was Road Rash, the motorcycle racing game where players compete in violent illegal street races. You can kick, punch or even use weapons to knock other riders off their bikes. The original game was released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis (my personal favorite childhood gaming system), but later versions are available from EA’s Replay collection for the PSP.

 

Start Planning Your Spring Motorcycle Tour

They say that anticipation is half the fun of any trip, so if you get tired of games,why not pull out your calendar and pick some dates to set aside for that trail, biker rally or camping tour you’ve been talking about forever.

The first step is researching your options. The big name events like Daytona or Sturgis might be the first to come to mind, but there are literally thousands of smaller events and destinations that are more than worth the trip.

The following list of websites is a great place to start researching upcoming events. Events are often organized by state, so you can choose to stay close to home or explore a new part of the country.

  1. USA and Canadian Motorcycle Events
  2. Let’s Ride
  3. Harley-Davidson USA Event Calendar

If you like mixing in the opportunity for water sports on your motorcycle trips and you’re located anywhere in the Midwest, then I’d also like to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug Bikefest in my beautiful hometown locale of Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

 Once you’ve chosen a destination, it’s time to coordinate with other friends who might be joining your trip because there’s nothing like company on the road.

 Watever you do to pass the time until spring riding season takes you back out on the road, be safe and try not to be too envious of your biker friends down south who ride through the winter. This August while you’re enjoying a high-paced summer ride, they’ll be sitting out when their temps hit the triple digits.

 (And to be sure your bike will be ready to ride come spring, here’s an article on winterizing your bike.)