Hibernation: Winter Preparation For Your Brain – Moto Sapiens




If you live north of the 37th parallel, you’ll soon be getting your bike put away for winter. Hopefully, you’re schooled on that, as we have already covered it. Every conscientious biker takes a few sensible steps to prevent corrosion and make sure their ride is hearty and ready to roll in the spring. Biker 101, right?

When I took the AMA Safe Rider course, the instructor told us, “The most important piece of equipment is between your ears.” Let me tell you, that brain equipment needs maintenance and will corrode quickly if left unattended.
Just like your bike, your brain is a complex set of different systems that work together to move you forward.

Unlike your bike, your brain was not designed by a team of brilliant engineers, but by the haphazard process of natural selection. That’s why one part of your brain will say, “I can take that guy at the other end of the bar,” while another part says, “Just a couple more glasses of whiskey first.” Not optimal.

So if you’re going to put your biker brain on the shelf for the winter, take some preventive maintenance measures. There are many systems within your skull housing assembly, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on just two: the prefrontal cortex and the medulla. The prefrontal cortex is the most advanced, most recently evolved part of the human brain. It’s right above your eyes. It’s the part they scrambled in R. P. McMurphy. It’s responsible for “executive functions,” so you know it’s fancy. It’s what neuroscientists call “Mr. Thinky.” The medulla is the opposite. It is the most lizard-like part of the lizard mind. It is ancient and is responsible for the most basic functions of breathing, heartbeat, and watching network TV.

Since you need both the calculating forebrain and the gut-reacting hindbrain to ride, here are some winter maintenance tips for both.

The prefrontal cortex needs challenges in spatial, mechanical, and logical reasoning. Your old bike breaking down is keeping your brain in shape; it’s a constant challenge. In the winter, I believe that you need to break stuff in order to put it back together to keep your biker brain moving in the right direction. Take apart your refrigerator. Rebuild your stairs for no good reason. Look around you. There’s bound to be something that needs breaking.

The medulla seeks a thrill. It needs a jolt to juice out some dopamine. If you can’t go snowmobiling or (like me) death-hiking on a partially frozen Lake Erie, then get it vicariously. You need awesome bike images to stimulate your brain. Get the BikeEXIF calendar, or the Isle of Man calendar, or something similar. Something to keep the ape alive. This winter preparation is a medical expense folks.

What do you do to keep your moto brain sharp in the depths of winter? Let us know in the comments.

Related Links:
How To: Prep Your Motorcycle For Winter Storage
Video: Nick Brocha x Ernie Vigil x Grand Canyon x Winter
More: Moto Sapiens

Carter A. Edman teaches “Motorcycles and American Culture” at Case Western Reserve University and has taught a variety of courses on creative culture. He rides a modified 2008 Triumph Bonneville and is restoring a 1970 BSA. As the founder of Moto Sapiens he explores the constant evolution of motorcycle culture that is unapologetic, unpredictable and sometimes strange.

Follow Carter on Twitter: @Moto_Sapiens

  • bossross

    I’m thinking biker movies and video games

  • Likhi Ondov

    Indoor cart racing league gets me by…

  • LeeB

    Winter prep…what’s that? This NorCal guy rides year round :)

    • MichaelEhrgott

      Yo tambien!

    • kentaro

      There are enough non-ice days in Michigan to avoid winterization of the GS, but I do need a beat up Ural soon :)

  • MichaelEhrgott

    Step 1: Buy a Honda Grom
    Step 2: Replace your house flooring with asphalt
    Step 3: Have fun and get a lawyer ready for the impending divorce

    • runnermatt

      Why do you need to replace the flooring with asphalt?

      • MichaelEhrgott

        Good question. Carpet is slippery?

        • runnermatt

          Wouldn’t that make it even more entertaining?

  • Corey Cook

    Que es Winter?
    - San Diego

    • Jai S.

      Yeah, Southern California. Today was about as bad as it gets, and all we had was medium-ish rain.

  • Jason 1199

    Or, as previously stated get a KLR with heated grips!

  • Sentinel

    “but by the haphazard process of natural selection.” lol

  • Justin McClintock

    33.75 degrees N here. Winter still means riding season, so long as the heated grips are working. I knew there was a reason I left Cleveland….

  • TP

    Carter you crack me up.

  • Carter

    This is why I left Upstate NY for North Carolina. With a little prep (Gerbings liner, heated grips, and all the old snowmobile gear I had from living in NY) I can ride almost year round here.

  • Piglet2010

    I ride my TW200 in the snow on low-traffic farm-to-market roads.

  • LS650

    Is there some aspect of the 37th parallel that I’m not aware of, as opposed to the 36th or 38th..? Seems like a rather odd choice to single out that particular latitude.

    • Regder

      37th acts as the border for a good number of US states, as well as the division between north and south California. Look at a map and it makes sense