Spring Fever

Mar 13, 2013 View Comments by

Spring Fever

Yep, I got it—back in February! It’s partly my fault for going to Hawaii and seeing all that green, which has made me discontent with just our boring gray and white, and there’s way too much “white.” Forget the stupid ground hog; he predicted an early spring, which is why it’s snowing…. again. I go for more scientific methods—I saw a Robin! Okay, it was frozen and hanging from a tree limb like a dried up apple, but it was a Robin—I think the fever is getting worse, maybe pandemic. I have lived in Wisconsin all my life. I should know by now that spring sometimes doesn’t come at all. That’s why we carry the jumper cables and snow brush all year around, you just never know.

That’s also why motorcycles are a luxury here. If you’re lucky you might get 60 riding days a season, not all in a row, of course. It’s strange that one of the world’s foremost motorcycle manufacturers is located here in the frozen tundra. Was it because neither the Harleys nor the Davidsons could afford a bus ticket to Miami? Possibly, but more likely it’s because of winter that the motorcycle was wet nursed here. Think about it; there is nothing to do in the winter up here… zip. So freezing their fingers off in an unheated garden shed grafting bicycle parts together seemed like a good idea. It couldn’t have done much for their social lives, though, except for those girls that actually enjoyed the smell of Cosmoline and Wildroot, both of them.

I am not saying that building a motorcycle is less boring than, say, ice fishing, but just think what could have been accomplished with a 90-day riding season! Wisconsin motoring blood runs as thick as straight 50-weight oil in March. Just the promise of 40 degrees will make us do all kinds of hair-brained things. Invent a two-wheeled contrivance? No problem! Let’s add a ski to the front and a tread to the back and we can ride it all the way into… July. This kind of HD insanity runs deep in our collective veins here in Wisconsin; it’s what keeps us “here” when there is a warmer, greener world just south of us. It’s the belief in what can “be,” that keeps us hanging on, still looking for a defrosted Robin, or a running Harley.

I saw one last week, a Harley, not a Robin. It was 43 degrees and a ‘05 Road King rumbled past with a lively old rider in a snowmobile suit—bless his optimism! Spring can’t be far behind, I can smell the lock de-icer on the wind! Ride on.

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About the author

A Wisconsin farm boy, I learned how to ride a cow, before a horse and way before a motorcycle. I first started riding on my 16th birthday and I took my first real ride at my party: I pulled a wheelie and dug a trench in the lawn, which sent the bike in one direction and me in another. I was irrevocably hooked!