Waypoint #2

18 November, 2005 Temperature: 29 degrees F

Well, it looks like we’ve made it through another exciting week. This morning’s ride was easy and uneventful, compared to the last couple of days. With the temperature at a balmy 29 degrees, I was humming Beach Boys tunes inside my helmet. The roads were damp, but not frozen, and traction was good. Time at takeoff was 0545 hrs.

Of course, traffic was very light at that time of the morning. After I was satisfied that traction was not going to be a major issue, I allowed myself to look around a little bit. Riding through the park along the Mississippi River, I marvelled at the austere beauty of our cities in winter. The light blanket of snow on the ground contrasts with the stark, bare trees to give a feeling of dormancy; an entire landscape asleep.

Yet the twinkling lights of the Twin City skylines whisper promises of fun and adventure, good food and camaraderie. As I gazed out at the view from the Lake Street Bridge, I had an epiphany: This blog is going to become somewhat routine as winter wears on. Especially if I take the same route, at the same times every day. But, what if I varied the routine, and visited various places along the way?

I can stop in at Mickey’s Diner, for instance, and have a nice breakfast on my way through Saint Paul. There are a couple of Dunn Bro.s coffee shops along my route as well. I know these places are open in the morning. Then, I have any number of options on the evening commute. When the weather isn’t earnestly trying to kill me, maybe I can share some of the local attractions with my readers!

Tonight, after work, I am going to Bargain Jim’s to get a replacement for my exploded trunk. I have worked out a design for a shock mount which should work great in cold weather. As with all great designs, it is elegantly simple. The trunk will be mounted on a thick layer of foam rubber, and the screws will have fender washers and locknuts on them. I will take photos of the installation this weekend, and try to post them to this blog for your perusal.

Also this weekend, I will take care of some periodic maintenance. The optimistic odometer shows 1,224 kilometers now, which actually means something around 1,000. I will check the fluids, tighten nuts and bolts, and give it a good cleaning in preparation for the ceremonial application of sponsor decals. Then I will spray some WD40 on all the exposed metal parts and take the Red Baron out for some recreational scootering, maybe a photo safari of Saint Paul. Sunday is supposed to be sunny and 43 degrees… I can’t wait.

THIS JUST IN: I received an email from one of my coworkers that Joe Soucheray mentioned me on his Garage Logic radio show last night, at around 5:40 pm. His show goes from 3 to 6 every weeknight, on 1500 KSTP AM, and in my opinion it is the best radio show going right now. Unfortunately, I never get to hear it because I don’t have a radio on the scooter! Well, maybe I can call in tonight when I get home.

Finally, I encountered another rider out on West River Road this morning. He was southbound as I was heading north, riding a red KLR 650, around 0630 hrs. I waved, but he looked pretty tense on the handlebars and didn’t return the gesture. That’s OK, at least he was out there. If by chance that rider is reading this blog, get in touch with me. Let’s meet for coffee somewhere.

14 Responses to “Waypoint #2”

  1. Keith Says:

    I am really enjoying your blog. Thanks for publishing it. What is the retail price of your scooter?

  2. Dirk Says:

    Gary,

    If you’re still looking for a GPS unit to borrow, you could take one of mine. I have an eTrex Legend, small and easily portable, which I sometimes use for KLR trips and Geocaching. In very cold weather, like any LCD, it slows down and fades out (not unlike me) so it’s probably a “take it out, test with it until it dies, warm it up again” proposition. I work in Bloomington, but could meet with you wherever if you need it.

    Also, http://www.bargainjims.com has all the scooter models, including Gary’s Baron 150, listed and priced…

    Dirk

  3. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks for writing, guys. I just checked the site:

    http://www.bargainjims.com/Images/Products/ProductAd.ASP?ItemCode=bn150-7

    They have it listed for $1,899.95

    So far, I would have to say it is one of the best transportation and recreation values out there.

    Dirk, I will keep that in mind. Many thanks. I think I am meeting with a local guy this weekend, and we might do the GPS stuff then. If not, I’ll send you an email.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  4. Marc Says:

    Hi Gary,

    I’m up here in toronto trying out the same experiment on winter riding and have been having a hoot with it… I’m doing it on a bike with a sidecar though. Looking forward to hearing how the scoot handles the snow… I’m waiting for the first big fall myself to test out my setup…

    Stay warm, enjoy the view.

    Marc

  5. Michael Hobbs Says:

    Hi! I met you this evening at Doolittles, asking about your scooter. Could you email me the name and where you got it? Thanks so much.

    Also thank you for the reference to this blog.

  6. gareth Says:

    I was just told of your site on the MilVinMoto mailing list. I don’t know whether to laugh or applaud. I did a little of what you are attempting last winter. I rode a Yamaha Vino pretty much whenever there was no snow/slush/ice on the roads. Saw some pretty cold mornings here in Milwaukee, just once below zero. My commute was a LOT shorter than yours seems to be, usually about 15-20 minutes only.

    I only had two real issues through the winter. One you seem to have run into already with your Baron, the automatic choke on the Vino really couldn’t handle the cold. Other problem I had was when water got somewhere in my front brake (drum) and froze solid, luckily off so I could still ride.

    Best of luck, I’ll be checking in on you here.

  7. gust jenson Says:

    Might be interested in this site, Gary, for more tips and experiences of others

    http://www.yearroundriders.com/

    Gust

  8. Dick Aal Says:

    Are you taking the weekend off? I rode today about 140 miles and plan a ride of about 250 miles on Sunday. Of course that is in nice California weather although it was quite cool this morning about 39 degrees F when we left. It did warm up quickly though.
    Will watch for your Monday comments. Best of luck

  9. Marty Laplant Says:

    http://www.reifenwerk-heidenau.de/snowtex.php
    This is the web page for a German company that makes a Scooter Snow tire.
    Same concept as the “Sandpaper” retreads that they sell in Vermont.
    They put fiber particles in a soft Silka rubber tread compound.
    leaves thousands of small holes with sharp edges as the rubber wears out.

    I am still looking for the Lamellen snow tires for scooters.
    Good luck.

  10. Juan from Canada Says:

    Hi. Cool blog !

    My responce to black ice:

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/thegreatescape/misc/ftire.jpg

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/thegreatescape/misc/rtire.jpg

    http://www3.sympatico.ca/thegreatescape/misc/screws.jpg

    Good luck !

  11. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Marty,

    Those look really promising. I wish I could read German. Any idea how much they would cost, and whether they could be imported?

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  12. Marty Laplant Says:

    Kind of pricy, at present between $50 and $80 dollars each.
    I don’t see why they couldn’t be imported.
    Will have to work on the details, want to look into an import/export business anyways.

  13. Juan from Canada Says:

    Superior tires always cost more. Scooter racing is done almost exclusively on Bridgeston ML50s and Michelin Boopers. And they are priced in the same range. The winter ones use special compound so I’m not surprised by the price.

  14. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Juan,

    It seems that everybody wants me to use ice screws. I have been offered the use of Aerostich’s stud gun as well. I seem to be coping alright with just the knobby tires, but yes, there are some times when I wish I had some metal to dig into the ice.

    After researching Minnesota law on the subject, I find it is absolutely unambiguous about this: studs and screws are illegal, tire chains are only legal in extreme or emergency conditions. They don’t specify the type of vehicle. There goes my loophole.

    I’ll struggle on with my knobbies for now, but thanks for the advice.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

Leave a Reply