For the two-wheel wanderers on the East Coast, December can be a bag of mixed emotions. In fact, I often find myself comparing it to the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Does any of this sound familiar?

Denial. Although we know all too well that summer sun changes to falling leaves, which changes to frost, wind gusts and pelting shards of sleet and ice, we continue to hold on to the hope of one more burst of sunshine and perfect riding temps and we’re sure it will happen at any moment. We’ve all felt those freakish warm days in the middle of Jack Frost’s playground. We watch the thermostat and weather forecasts for a hint that today might be the day to get in one more ride before attaching our best friend to the battery tender. We wait, day after day. Even the savory aroma of roasted turkey and pumpkin pie won’t make us believe the season is over. All the bows, wrapping paper, and unholy temperatures won’t distract you because you know that there’s one more riding day to be had. You’re not ready to swap out the LEDs on your bike for LEDs on your windows and Christmas tree. But it tugs at you and, deep inside, you know it. Life makes no sense. You are in state of shock and denial. You become numb and wonder how you can go on, if you can go on, why you should go on. You find yourself searching for ways to get through each day. But all those feelings you buried in denial will eventual surface. And when they do…

Anger. You find yourself annoyed, frustrated and downright angry but you don’t know why. Your anger extends to your friends, the doctors, your family, the dog and even to your beloved bike. You question your faith and ask, “Why God? Why?” It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned by your bike but the anger can also become something to hold onto – the strength of anger feels better than nothing. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love for your beloved ride. But what if…?

Bargaining. Even though changing seasons aren’t your fault, you might feel like you would have done anything for one more ride. You promise to attend more charity events, or ride for more worthy causes, to maybe not do so much bar hopping if you can only have that one more glorious excursion before the winter grips you and everything you love in it’s cold, gnarly grasp. You want life returned to what is was. You want to go back in time and ride more, see more, spend more time in nature. You begin to bargain for one more day. “If only I have one more day,” you plead, “I’ll add more chrome and get a new paint job over the winter.” We begin to think of what we could have done differently and then it hits us…

Depression. After all the bargaining fails, your attention moves squarely into the present. Empty feelings present themselves on a deeper level and with them comes depression. You are left in a fog of sadness that feels like it will last forever. You can’t seem to snap out of it. It feels so unnatural not to be able to take your bike out of the garage when you want. You look at your two-wheel friend and although you know what has to be done, you simply can’t bring yourself to do it. Until one day…

Acceptance. Acceptance can often be confused with being OK with the situation. This is not the case. You are simply accepting the reality that you won’t be out on the asphalt any time soon. You don’t like it and it will never be OK but you have to live with it. It is the new normal and you must now live in a world where two wheels are exchanged for all-wheel drive and a snow plow. Finding acceptance may be just having more good days than bad ones. As you begin to accept what is, you reach up and adjust your friend’s life support, the battery tender. You turn off the light and wipe the tear from your eye. You think about reaching out to others who are going through similar feelings.

What can make you feel better? You search the internet for an answer and are about to give up when the flash of hope, like a beacon from heaven, points you to your favorite reading room where you keep your present and past issues of Fast Lane Biker Magazine. You thumb through the pages and reminisce. A lips part into a smile as you check out past photos and say “I was there!” You think about your friend in the garage and how one day soon you’ll be riding him to another event. Because there will be more events.

May the spring season bring us many great riding days. In the meantime, FLBD is here to help.