Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Really Wanted to Ride
Deep down inside me there is a motivation to prove that a motorcycle/scooter can be a dependable, fun and economical means of transportation for the daily commute to the office. When I was younger I did a little bit of commuting by bicycle. That was fun and good for the exercise, but sweating was always a problem. You can imagine being a bit pitted out with damp clothing when you arrived at the office and not being real comfortable for the day. You can counter that problem by stashing some clothing at the office to change into but that is a pain in the butt also. When I bought the scooter, we sold one of our cars, so the scooter became my primary means of transportation. Yeah, there were some hassles with weather, but I would take the city bus in really bad weather. I rode in some rain at times, very cold weather at times, but all in all, the hassles were few and far between. I only missed about ten days of riding all of last winter due to snow or ice. This winter has been much different. Much colder. Not a lot of snow so far this year, but with the cold, the snow stayed around a lot longer and severely limited the opportunities to ride. We bought another car last summer so that I didn't have to totally rely on the scooter and the city bus to get around. That has been great and I don't regret buying the car even with my determination to be an almost full time 2 wheel commuter. That said, please know that my determination to be a 2 wheel commuter is still as strong as ever. The accident I had last summer gave me a few misgivings, but now I am almost more determined than ever in spite of that mishap. Maybe it is partially my desire to be different. Maybe it is because I want the economy. Maybe it is because I feel less dependent on foreign oil. Whatever the reason, 2 wheeled commuting has been a life changing experience for me. I also didn't anticipate that it would be this much fun. This winter, though, has caused me to reflect again. I have already missed more days of riding this winter than all of last winter and it is now only mid January. Very frustrating. Yeah, there were a few days when I felt a bit lazy and took the car, even though I could have ridden to work. But not many, and given the choice, believe me, I would much rather ride. I had ridden to work on December 21. It wasn't until last Sunday, January 10 that I was able to ride again. It was a Sunday morning, cold with a 25 degree temperature, but I really needed to wake Max up and get him going again. Max fired up reliably upon the first push of the starter key and we went for a short ride 1) to get me a fix for riding withdrawel symptoms and 2) to insure that Max's battery was okay. It was Mini Max's first ride as well and he seemed to enjoy it very much. I was very excited about the weather forecasts because it looked like there would be no precipitation for at least a week or so. The forecasts were for high temperatures in the 40's (maybe 50's) and lows in the 20's, not exactly warm, but not bad. Enough of the snow had been cleared off the streets to make it possible for riding. Caution was needed to watch for ice and sand patches, but the conditions were much better than they had been for the last 2 weeks. So, it was with great exitement that I was looking forward to an entire week of riding rather than driving. Alas, Murphy's Law was going to get me a bit. I had forgotten that we had a veterinary appointment for our newest cat on Monday. Oh well, the cat was more important than riding, wasn't it? I had very briefly considered bungeeing the cat carrier to Max, but wisdom took hold and I reconsidered that option. So I took the car. Again! I am thinking tomorrow will be the day. As I was waking up on Tuesday morning, lying in bed, trying to get the cobwebs out of my head, my thoughts turned to riding. I lazily wandered downstairs in my robe and slippers and proceeded out the front door to get the newspaper. Dense Fog! What the hell?! That wasn't in the forecast! Or was it, and I just blindly didn't see it, (or didn't want to see it). I surveyed the scene. One quarter mile visibility. Lots of moisture in the air. About 22 degrees (temperature wasn't going to stop me from riding). Driveway and streets looked clear, but damp. At this temperature, not a good sign. Still dark out, difficult to see whether it was slick or not. There was still snow (now compacted to mostly ice) on the sides of the streets. A little melting had occurred yesterday, but some of what melted yesterday just became water on the roadways, and of course had frozen again in small, thin and unpredictable patches of ice on the streets. I proceeded back indoors and turned on the TV to check the weather. A freezing fog advisory had been issued. Damn! The daredevil accountant in me said NTW! (not to worry) But then again, the voice of reason took over. I decided to take the car. I was glad I did as soon as I got out on the streets. There were interesting little ice patches everywhere. What really tucked me off was the knowledge that the fog would soon burn off and the ride home in the afternoon would have been glorious. Oh well, the forecast for tomorrow looks fantastic!