Monday, December 20, 2010

Cold Weather Preliminaries

Preliminaries. Making ready. Husbanding ones resources. Getting into harness. Ugh.

Buckling on the armor in cold weather is a chore. No way around it. On Sunday morning the thermometer pointed to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Out came the long underwear, wool socks, sweater, windproof jacket, jacket liner, wires for electric gloves, winter riding jacket, winter riding overpants, boots, balaclava, full helmet. By the time I have all this on I'm tired and ready for a nap.

If you want to ride in cold weather, all mechanical and riding considerations aside, the need to shield flesh and bone is considerable. Especially without windshield, heated grips or hand guards. Yet over and over I find myself on the road, attired like Randy (a tick ready to pop) from a Christmas Story.

I didn't feel up to taking the camera along so I made a series of pictures with the iPhone and processed them with the Instagram app using the Early Bird filter. Click on the image to see a version large enough to see the individual images -- the frost covered vehicles in the driveway, the Christmas wreath in the window of Saint's Cafe, in State College, Pennsylvania. Just another cold, Sunday morning ride on the Vespa.

And as much as I grumble getting ready I am so glad to be on the road...


BeemerGirl said...

Great images! Love the vignetting and the old-time color/tone.

Steve Williams said...

BeemerGirl: The selection of filters and processing for iPhone photo apps is pretty amazing. It would take some work for me to duplicate the effects in Photoshop.

And thanks for the kind words!

Orin said...

I'm such a weenie... 35F is my lower limit. But then I live in a rather humid place, so you're just about guaranteed to encounter ice at below-freezing temperatures.

I recently saw an article that forecast the end of the inexpensive point-n-shoot camera—iPhones and other smartphones make such great photographs (under the right conditions, anyway), people are leaving their p&s-es at home. One less gizmo to carry around...

Happy Holidays, Steve!

Scootin' Old Skool

RichardM said...

14°F and you keep repeating that you are having fun...

Instagram seems to be a pretty nice app and I like looking at all the pictures from around the world. I don't post many pictures. There are some nice effects though.

Steve Williams said...

Orin: the air is so dry here in the winter that I only needcworry when there is snow or rain freezing. If I was where you are my riding habits would be different.

Chuck Pefley said...

Wonderful collage, Steve, and an interesting App. Of course I'll have to try it -:)

You are such a glutton for cold weather punishment. I think I'd opt for the nap if I had to go to that much work. Fortunately armored riding pants and an electric jacket liner are about as far as I need go. At least with my MP3. My GTS has both a skirt and lined muffs from Tucano Urbano which are definite God-sends!

Merry Christmas!!

BeemerGirl said...

I recall seeing RichardM reference Instagrams a couple times. Hope they develop the app for the Win7 phone soon! -Lori

cpa3485 said...

I did enlarge that picture and glad I did. What a marvelous display. I know exactly what you mean about feeling like Randy, and the hassle of putting on all the "stuff" always takes a little longer than you would like. But the ride afterward is almost always very rewarding.
Have a wonderful holiday,


bobskoot said...


what Orin previously mentioned. Our cold is different as it produces ice/frost at temps just above freezing. 34F could find frost on the roads in the shadows. I don't mind the cold, but I mind the ice. I always test the road surface before I make my determination and check car windshields for that white frost covering.

Wet Coast Scootin

Charlie6 said...


yep, putting on ALL the gear can be a PITA but if something untoward happens, it's good to have it on....and your riding time is extended in the cold.

btw, I love the windscreen on my Ural, riding with no shield is "more bracing".


Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Redleg's Rides

Todd said...

Hey Steve,
Quick Question. I'm 6'6" and really want to get a scooter. When I see photos like your's it really makes me want to get a Vespa- but will a 150 be enough for me or if you were going to do it again would spend the extra bucks and get a 250 or a 300? I know the more powerful Vespas have a higher top speed- but you seem to go places on 150 that makes me wonder if the more powerful Vespa is worth it.
One more thing- I know a guy who has a Vespa 150 (2009) that always has been garaged with less than 2000 miles on it- is $4000 to much?

Mike said...

I find myself desiring an iPhone these days. I keep fighting the urge to get one but if the rumor is true that after the first of the year Verizon will have them, I think that might be too hard to resist.

Nice images and I like the collage. You're right... it's always good to be on the road!

Merry Christmas, Steve!

Orin said...

Steve, I would be more than happy to answer @Todd's questions if you're busy.

Scootin' Old Skool

Steve Williams said...

RichardM: I do enjoy the physical challenge the cold represents. It was why I used to backpack in winter, at least in part. And I like the look of the world in winter.

The photo apps available for smart phones these days are amazing.

Chuck: I should probably break down and buy some muffs to keep my hands warm. Where did you get your Tucano Urbano ones?

Steve Williams said...

BeemerGirl: Everyday there seem to be new apps appearing. It's only a matter of time.

cpa3485: Completing a cold weather ride, coming inside to a warm house or cafe, is the best feeling. I get a real sense of satisfaction.

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: I check the road surface much in the same way as you do. The foggy ice seldom happens here but it remains an infrequent possibility to guard against.

Many, many days of heavy frost on the car windows but that doesn't correlate to ice on the road thankfully.

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6: No windshield equals bracing. That sums it up pretty well.

I wonder how long it will be until I breakdown and put a windscreen on the scooter?