Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Riding in the First Snow Flurries

Winter has arrived at my doorstep I suppose. I can remember when the first snowflakes would give me a rush. Now, well, it's different. And not just because I am riding. Biology is speaking louder and complaining about the cold. Riding down the street I could see a squall of in the distance and wondered if I would get to my office before it arrived. I stopped to make another panorama picture. If you look close you can see a few snowflakes in the air. Nothing on the ground yet but not far east had 13 inches of snow yesterday. And no salt on the road yet either.

The temperature indicator on the Vespa GTS read 35 degrees all the way to work. I went the direct route with no side trips. Four lanes of drivers that I imagine all groan at the weather. But maybe it's just me. But once the scooter is parked in it's space and I am walking towards my office I get a little rush thinking about riding in the cold. Nothing happy or exciting, but a flicker of accomplishment and perserverance.

15 comments:

Conchscooter said...

It's weird but I get the same gentle rush riding 25 miles from work in the pre-dawn morning in 65degrees. Feels cold to me (when it snows in PA it blows cool in the Keys two days later).

Demonio Pellegrino said...

I actually enjoy it, pure and and simple. Riding in the cold is what I like the most! it gives me sheer pleasure.

bobskoot said...

earlier this week it was around 4ÂșC when I left for work, approx 25 kms each way. It was dark as I leave before sunrise. When I got about half way to work I saw the sun come up over the horizon, but there is never a safe place to pull over to take a picture. The only bad thing about this cooler weather is the FOGGING visor, you have to learn to breath (exhale) from the bottom of your mouth. The ride is refreshing but your fingers are frozen when you get to work.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve
It is getting colder in Holland as of this week as wel. I use a windscreen on my Vespa GTS300Super. In rain and especially in fog I hardly could see anything. I asked my scooter dealer to cut off approx. 20 centimeters. I can now perfectly look over the windscreen instead of through it. Visibility improved enormously. I drove a few weeks without my winsdcreen and I must say that as it is getting colder now I am very happy that I mounted my windscreen again. It now has the best of both worlds. Contact with the elements on the one side and ptotection from the cold, also for my hands, on the other side. I also noted that after mounting the screen again my mileage improved (now 29 kilometers per liter gas). I enjoy reading more than one blog per week from you! Best regards! Ike

hrw115 said...

A guy who doesn't get excited about the first snow flurries probably hands out pretzels to trick-or-treaters. :P

Seeking Answers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm new to the area, and newly back to two wheeling. I love the picture you captured with the Vespa and the snowflakes. I was all psyched about having ridden in the snow, but when I got to work, there were two other scoots in the parking lot. Guess it is old hat for folks around here!

Nigel said...

I get the same rush while riding as well. Granted I've got a smaller scooter (an ET4), but I know what you're talking about.

How many miles do you have on your scooter? Do you usually ride year round, or just until it gets too cold?

Orin said...

I have come to believe the ambient temp readout in the GTS' instrument cluster is a tad optimistic, probably due to placement next to something that gets warm. The other day, I was cursing not wearing enough layers and the readout said 51° F. Yes, I know about wind chill, but still...

BTW Steve, my hat's off to you. My lower temperature limit for riding is 35° F... at that point bridges and shaded areas could be at freezing or below.

Paul Martin said...

When I left for work this morning the temp was 21F on the scooter and a balmy 25F by the time I arrived. The seat cover has a texture that makes it impossible to get all the frost off and so has earned me the nickname of Frostybutt among my peers. They're all fair weather Harley riders. They just don't get it.

chewy said...

25 degrees F here yesterday, and as long as the streets are dry, I ride.

Steve Williams said...

conchscooter: The gentle rush is great! 65 degrees, I miss it already. I have begun to realize why people move south...

demonio: Me too. No question despite my complaining at times.

bobskoot: I'm really careful riding on dark, cold, mornings. Once the temperature hits the freezing mark a whole new world of possibilities arise. Fogging visors just adds to the things that can distract a rider. Like you, I employ different breathing patterns, especially when stopped. Sometimes I think I might pass out as I try to slow my breathing way down...

And thanks again for the tip on the stitched images. It worked!

Ike: I've seen pictures of the GTS300 Super but I don't think we'll get them here in the US. Sounds like a great machine.

I've thought about a windscreen for my GTS but have never really liked the way they look. And since I am photographing the scooter all the time I felt it would affect my brain *grin*. Talk about a stupid decision making process.

So in the cold I just take the wind blast by wearing more layers. I've ridden motorcycles with windscreens and know exactly how beneficial they are. I'm afraid vanity has affected my decision to not have one and not any real intelligent consideration...

Steve Williams said...

hrw115: This year we have candy AND pretzels. I have sampled everything and the pretzels are right up there. If another little kid this year looks at me and says, "Pretzels? What this about??" I'll give him some candy.

Geez...

I was excited about the snow. Just not in a positive way.

anonymous: Same here. When I get to work in the cold the most likely two-wheeled vehicle is another scooter. A Yamaha Vino most of the time. And another guy on campus rides a Vespa PX150 in everything --- heavy snow, bitter cold, the works.

nigel: I only have 9600 miles on the GTS. No big rides this summer has kept me in the commuter mileage range. I would have thought when I hit the two year mark in January that I would have had about 16K on the odometer. Now I guess I will barely hit 11K.

I do ride year round commuting to work. I only ride when the roads are completely snow covered if I get caught on the road in an unexpected snowfall.

And my low temperature limit is 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Orin: My temperature reading is always about 2 degrees warmer than the bank sign temperature readouts. When I get close to freezing I just watch carefully and adjust my speed, especially in turns, accordingly. It's an additional risk but one I am comfortable taking. And the roads I ride on are rural for the most part with far less traffic to factor than those of you riding in more congested areas.

paul martin: Frostybutt. That's a good one!

The riders I work with have long stopped kidding me about the scooter or riding in the cold. Most are fair weather riders and I certainly understand the enjoyment they get from that. Riding in the cold is about something different and just not for everyone. And riding a big machine creates a different set of challenges if the chance for slippery surfaces exists.

chewy: A sound plan. Plenty of dry days here in winter.

irondad said...

Biology isn't the reason you might not relish the snow like you used to. It's because you now no longer have anything to prove. So now it's an option and not a quest.

Methinks you might like complaining as a way of understated bragging. Most folks are complaining that they can't get out of a chair because their joints get stiff when they sit a while. Or, when you ask how they are, they give you an organ recital. Not us!

It's kind of cool to say that riding in ten degree weather and snow is a pain in the butt, isn't it?

Steve Williams said...

irondad: Oh no! Understated bragging! Maybe you are on to something here. You certainly are right about it no longer being a quest. And the option to drive when it is really cold seems pretty nice sometimes. Or if it is raining hard.

But understated bragging.... that is going to require some personal reflection. Damn.