I have covered my feelings about how much Quebec hates motorcyclists here, but one of the most frustrating elements of this is that you are forced to take your bike off the road for four months. They don’t actually ban you from riding your bike in winter, they simply introduced a law that says you must have officially sanctioned winter tyres on your motorbike.
Of course, they don’t exist
Now I don’t want Ginko to live on the deck all winter… even under her super waterproof and breathable British Oxford cover…
This means finding a place for Ginko to hibernate and being the capitalists they are, all the motorcycle dealers have schemes where they will keep your bike over winter. A lot of them involve having a service and also buying the charger that is recommended, which means spending upward of $300. I do feel kind of sorry for them because… well… winter in Quebec. Actually, scratch that. ATVs, snowmobiles?? Get selling those you box shifters!
Still reeling from the huge chunk of expenditure over my big trip, and the resultant loss of earnings whilst fannying about in the desert and forests of the USA, an angel in the form of Yves came to the rescue. A lovely chap and co-worker of Anne’s, Yves scoots to work on the cleanest original Honda CX650 I have seen. He was following my trip through the Inreach and was awesomely kind enough to offer Ginko a place in his heated garage. What a gent.
And here is his CX, images I stole from his Flickr.
He even has a spares bike in his garage which I think he should turn into some super cool cafe racer, though he might need to grow a beard and get some arty tatoos too.
Of course you can’t just drive your bike into a garage and leave it there for months on end. The two most important things to consider are the fuel and the battery. Oh, and the oil.
Fuel Firstly – Petrol is hydroscopic. Well.. the petrol here is because it has ethanol in it. This means that the water in the air will get into the fuel and really mess things up.
The other problem is condensation. Atmospheric water vapour collects on the inside of the fuel tank and also gets into the fuel. That water then sits at the lowest part which happens to be the fuel outlet or fuel pump and can get into the rest of the fuel system and corrode everything. Nasty. This problem is really prevalent on aeroplanes but pilots check a drain in the bottom of the tanks before they fly (well, I did anyway- and it was a cool way to fill your zippo). To get round this you need to stick some fuel stabiliser in there and fill it to the brim and run the fuel out of the pump and injectors until the stabilised
Batteries on bikes suck– 95% of bikes have these tiny gell acid 12 volt batteries that go flat if you leave them for more than a couple of months. So off to Canadian Tyre I go and get the cheapest tender that I can get my hands on. A half price $30 thing did the job but getting to the battery terminals on an Africa Twin is a right pain in the ass so Yves and I just stuck some crocodile clips on the terminals exiting the battery box… Job Done.
Oil – There is a lot of cack floating around in your oil that gets in there and can corrode the engine. Do it a favour and change the oil before you put your lovely bike to sleep.
Once all that was done I rode the 20mins North to Yves’ house. It’s a weird feeling that you are putting your bike to sleep. I find it mildly unnerving. Some kind of freedom reduction maybe? Anyway I greatly enjoyed the ride there and got shouts from pedestrians that “you are very brave”, which always makes one feel kinda nice.
Here’s Yves and Ginko; I’m sure he’ll take extra special care of her in the coldest of months.