Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Cold Weather Riding Frame of Mind

A morning drive, minivan, on the way to pick up my Vespa GTS.  But not until I pick up my daughter who's agreed to drive the van home.

Not until we have breakfast at the Corner Room in State College, Pennsylvania, a place I've been eating at for the past 40 years.  When I find something I like I stick with it.  Training for an upcoming half marathon accounts for her wet hair.  I don't understand running.

The scooter is home, safe in the driveway again.  The ride home was cold, 25F and windy.  Neglected to plug in the electric gloves and found myself warming my hands on the headlight at each traffic light.  Like the old days.  The pre-Gerbing gloves days.

Riding in the cold takes mental preparation that I've not done yet.  It's more than gear, it's a frame of mind that a rider has to place themselves in.  And right now it seems a far away place.

Left the scooter in the driveway thinking I would go for a ride later -- after I warmed up.  I've been warming up for hours and am no closer to a ride.  In another hour it will be dark and even colder.  Maybe a good night's sleep will help me enter the cold weather frame of mind.


Keith said...


It wasn't until I fractured my clavicle mountain biking and had it surgically repaired that I understood the true appeal of running.

Happy New Year,


Sherrilyn said...

Golly, I can relate to this post. And I don't even have Gerbing gloves! But if there's no snow, I have no good excuse, right?

Steve Williams said...

Keith: I hope I don't have to break anything to appreciate anything. One never knows though...

Happy New Year!

Sherrilyn: Even without snow it can get really cold. The older I get the more bone chilling things seem.

Canajun said...

I don't have any special cold riding gear, so 40 degrees is about my cold limit. I've considered getting heated gloves, jacket liner, etc., but really, how much would I enjoy riding if I had to worry about traction on cold/icy roads and freezing my a$$ off? But while I'm happy riding when it's somewhat warmer, I do marvel at those hardy souls like yourself for whom cold weather seems irrelevent. That's when I hunker down in the shop and do some needed maintenance.

bobskoot said...


where is the obligatory photo of your coffee and doughnut ? Where is your daughter's camera ? Where is the All Saint's cafe ? Are you in a booth and not at a table ? Usually we get a shot out the front window. Looks like your mind is somewhere else

Happy New Year

Riding the Wet Coast

Brady Steffl said...

I suppose you can't get to the motor to grab a fist full of that. There is a benefit to ragged, old naked bikes.

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Charlie6 said...

Good to see your scooter home Steve, now get out there and ride!


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

len said...

Hi steve ,
Nice to see your scooter home and well enjoyed the vespa maintenance post....nice to see the first hand work the mechanic carried out on your scoot.....not too sure about the running...unless of course ..if i am being chased .


scootering adventures uk

Steve Williams said...

Canajun: Ice and loss of traction are definitely a concern for anyone riding below the freezing mark. It requires a different style of riding and a more intense awareness of where ice might lurk. A mental puzzle not normally involved in fair weather riding.

And I ride on roads that are relatively empty compared to many city and suburban riders where traffic leaves little room for maneuvering.

My bigger concern at the moment is keeping my aging feet warm...

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: Yeah, I have gotten extremely lazy over the holidays. I've become a photographic slug hence the deficient documentation. I'll try and remedy it soon.

Happy New Year!

Steve Williams said...

Brady: Can't easily get to the Vespa motor but the muffler is handy!

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6: I still have too much holiday junk food to eat! Once I finish it off, get tired of sleeping on the couch, and work my way through all the DVD movies I have, maybe then I'll ride more...

Steve Williams said...

len: It's good to have the scooter back. When it's gone for awhile I realize how much I really like it. I've definitely swallowed a lot of Vespa Kool-Aid I guess. said...

Love your blog - I'm looking to get a Vespa 250 in the next few months - we don't have to rolling hills here like you do, but we still have interesting countryside - I can imagine myself on similar rides out with the camera in search of a decent coffee :)

I remember riding my Gilera Runner 125 back from a friends house in when I lived in England. It was only about 100 miles or so, but the temp had dropped to -5C and even with boots, dual layer gloves and a decent jacket I was miserably cold before I got 1/2 way home. The thing I remember more than anything was how much the cold made me desperate to pee!! Those were the days!

Living in Australia like I do now means I wont have to worry about cold - its just the heat instead!

Steve Williams said... The GTS is a great machine and is an excellent platform for photography and coffee drinking. I've ridden a lot of things and find it still satisfying.

Right now I would gladly forgo the cold weather. The older I get the more I long for spring.

Good luck with your Vespa considerations and let us know what you decide.