Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Really Nothing to Prove

So why do I occasionally feel the urge to ride when it's cold outside. Stingy finger cold!

After all, it seems that most riders have put away their bikes for the winter, seldom making an appearance on the roads of the city. Last Saturday afternoon, the temperatures rose to about 60 F, and there were lots more riders out than I had seen in a long time. Even the sport bikers were out. But on Monday after it had turned colder again, none of those folks were to be seen.

And I admit that I haven't commuted to work as regularly on Max as I have in past years. That first year in particular saw me out there almost every day unless there was snow or ice on the roads. I rode in 10 F weather. I mean really brisk, stark days that your dog wouldn't even want to venture out in.

And do I have something to prove?

I'm not sure. Deep in my psyche maybe I want to prove that I can still do it after a heart attack and 2 cardiac arrests. It really is more dangerous for me to be out there when it's that cold. But I can tell when I am feeling up to it or not, and some days I know I am not ready for the cold, therefore I don't ride.

And then maybe I am just trying to puff up my chest and tell the world what a tough guy I am, out there riding in silly cold weather. Something "Tribal" to prove. Strutting the colors of my denim winter jacket like some peacock would display its feathers. Are we really that much different than the animals?

So today the Weatherbug App on the iPhone said it was 22 F when I left the house. I had to get some gas on the way in. I took a little different route downtown, a little slower and less traffic. I heard a flock of birds chirping at one intersection. The sun was bright. My visor and eyeglasses were fogging up regularly so I rode with the helmet visor partially open most of the way. (Are some of my helmet vents open?, Or closed?, need to experiment with that a little more)

I was actually quite warm, 5 layers on top, 3 layers on my legs, feet fine with boots and boot socks.

It was just my fingers that got cold and that's usually the way it is. Now many of you have suggested in the past and could again mention today that I should invest in some heated gloves or some other clever device with the goal of aiding the warmth in my fingers.

To that I say, Naaaahhh!

Its only a few minutes of discomfort. I suppose if I were going to be out there for a really long ride, then sure, I'll invest in some warmth farkle, but for a 15 minute ride?

After all, maybe I'm out to try and prove that I can endure some pain. At age 56, I'm still one of the baddest of the bad!

Yeah? A Badass?

Well I doubt that, too, but I know one thing. Pirsig alluded to the fact that when you were out there riding, you were actually living and part of the world, experiencing much that you would miss if you were looking out the window of a cage. Today I was living and experiencing and even if it was cold, it was well worth it!

The afternoon ride home should be even more fantastic!

Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends!


  1. Jimbo:

    If there was a way to get them to you I would send you my BRAND NEW, ONLY USED ONCE heated gloves. I could send them but you may have to pay duties. They are Gears brand, made in Canada

    I think these are the ones. They are 6V in series so you need their cable, which I also have.

    I could write a review on them. Heated gloves are better than heated grips as there are elements down each finger. With heated grips you only get heat on your "inner" fingers which grip "the handlebars". The outside of your hands would still be freezing, unless you had hand guards to deflect the wind.

    The only problem is that you forget that your gloves are connected to your bike/scooter and the wires do get in the way. But for a 15 minute ride you could live with it

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. But BobSkoot!
      That misses the point that I am the proverbial BadAss!
      (but thanks for the idea)

    2. Cpa3484.99999999999999999999999:

      I forgot to add that I once thought the way you do. I thought it was macho to ride everyday and all year around in all kinds of weather.

      One day I was out on my scooter, miles away from home in a torrential downpour where the water was flowing about an inch on the ground and you could hardly see with all the splashing water everywhere. I was riding alone and I had time to think about things.

      I was thinking how stupid this was to be endangering myself when I had cars at home, and it wasn't about saving money as I had insurance on them anyway.

      Just yesterday it was below freezing and there were icy patches and I saw a scooter rolling down the street going very slowly with cars backed up behind "him" not willing to even go the speed limit. I though to myself "how stupid" this person was for attempting to ride in these conditions. It's not about how macho, or how much cold you can endure. It's about safety to yourself under less than ideal riding conditions.

      I don't look upon these riders as being macho, I am thinking they are "stupid". I test our roads before I venture out and if I have to scrape my windshield, or my shoes slip on the asphalt then it's NOT SAFE to be out on two wheels.

      I don't want to learn the hard way. Your dry cold may be safer than our humid cold. Yesterday on the news they said our humidity was at 100% and with temps down to minus -1°c, this means car weather.

      Remember also that tires designed for summer use and not marked with that "ice" symbol do not flex correctly at temps below 7°c. You are probably losing more than half your traction and if you have to make an emergency maneuver, or quick evasion action your tires may not be your friend

      IMHO, of course.

      Riding the Wet Coast

    3. Mr Bobskoot, the worldly advice you have given is never ignored.

      And, BasAss that I may or may not be, I am certainly not stupid enough to create hazards out there on the road, and I would take other routes on side streets if necessary to avoid conditions such as you mentioned.

      Just a few days ago, on a day where there was a light dusting of snow, and a day where I drove "Monty" the famous Canadian Subaru (the one with the heated seats), I espied a man on a scooter essentially riding in an outrigger manner. I thought to myself in the famous John Madden fashion of the day, "Now Here's a Guy not exhibiting a great deal of wisdom", but nevertheless I watched him actually make his way in a fashion down the street in a semi-impressive manner. I mean I wouldn't have been out there. Nope, Not Me! (The Badass)

      Essentially, the BadAss image that I make fun of today is merely a fantasy, or maybe even a reenactment of a very base human instinct to "show off" (like the aforementioned peacock).

      Wisdom should overcome BadAss at times, shouldn't it?

      In awe of your most worthy advice,


  2. It seems awe and risk are often bound up together.

    Stretching our limits in one area of our life often stretches us in other and often profound ways.

    I liked your title to this post. Truly, there really isn't anything to prove, but there is often a discovery to be made. Bob is correct about risk management. It is important to not be foolish, but only a fool takes no risks.

    I see scooter riders out in the most terrible weather here simply because it is their only transportation. I'm glad I have a choice. I do have a car. I work near where buses run.

    And, I'm glad I have the same voice you speak of, the voice saying, "Today is not the day to ride."

    And, I've been glad every time I've stretched myself and learned new limits.

    Nice post.

    Keep being awesome and badass!

    1. Keith, Sometimes I wonder about being BadAss or if all of it is just the mystery of the psyche. If I could figure out all the reasons why I do certain things, well it might be nice, but then again it might be boring, too.

  3. Badass - I think we all think of ourselves like ths when riding 2 wheels. Last year I rode all winter for all but 2 weeks. I did have a bus pass for those really crappy ugly days that were filled with freezing temps & freezing rain. I learned a thing about myself, my scooter injury area (hip & thigh) hurt like hell in the cold. So this year I took it a little easier on myself, I used my bus pass a lot more and am glad I did. I am pretty hard core when it comes to riding, but this year I decided the arthritic aches and pains aren't worth it to me. I still let it rip and have ridden most if the winter, but I too won't ride if it's looking slippery. As for heated gloves I don't have any either, but some day I am going to get some of those babies. Merino wool is an awesome base layer and you can get glove liners made of them.

  4. Dar, I too take the bus a lot. I did today as a matter of fact. But when I take the bus, its actually more of a walking event. I live about 1/2 mile from the closest bus stop, but a long time ago I quit trying to time the walk. I just leave the house when I am ready and just keep walking until the bus catches up with me. Today I walked close to 2 miles. It was 22 F again today and the walk was almost as glorious as yesterday's ride.
    Cold? You Bet!
    But there was air, smells, clouds, sun and the environment to look at and experience. It was awesome!
    Thanks for stopping by, I enjoy your visits to my little peculiar end of cyberspace.

  5. You can use heated jackets when riding in the cold...only when and if you get the urge to ride in the cold. Otherwise I'd say it is better to be safe. Wait for spring