Hurry Up and Wait

28 November, 2005 Temperature: 45 degrees F

First, let me tell you about a small change I have to make in this blog. I will be updating every evening, instead of during the day. It seems that I am violating internet protocol here at work by doing this during my breaks. We are approaching zero-tolerance these days for any personal internet use in the workplace. How sad. But that’s what the boss tells me, so that’s the way it has to be.

Now then…

Apparently it’s the monsoon season here in tropical Minnesota. I awoke this morning to the patter of rain on my south-facing bedroom window. It’s a balmy forty-five degrees outside, and I’m rummaging around for my Hawaiian shirt. Some Winter Challenge this is turning out to be.

Yes, things are getting weird here in the waning days of November. The Vikings have won four games in a row, and I’m riding through a misty rain forest on my way to work, four days into the Christmas shopping season. Strange days indeed.

It did snow a little bit on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We ended up with about two inches of accumulation, and much of that packed down on the road in front of my house. This was a perfect opportunity to get some practice. I took the Baron out, and we performed the stunt maneuver known in local vernacular as “whippin’ sh*tties”.

The front tire skidded almost as much as the rear, however, and we looked perfectly ridiculous out there. But it was all in the name of Science, of course. Traction research, to be precise. On a scale of one-to-ten, with one being snow skis, the traction afforded by the stock street tires was about a three. The Kenda knobbies are going on tonight, and I expect a measurable improvement from them.

The Windsock and Crystal Ball Guild are predicting snow for late tonight, into tomorrow morning. I hope they are right this time. The Baron is ready, and I am pumped… It’s time to get this party started.

10 Responses to “Hurry Up and Wait”

  1. Ron Johnston Says:

    I am following your lead and riding to work on my Yamaha BWs in Salmon Arm, BC, Canada - 12 kms each way. I find the “knobbies” to be quite an improvement for a non-studded tire, although perhaps only a 6 out of 10 on my scale of expectation. They are excellent on loose or hard packed snow (Ive experienced about 2 inches max.) but they can still be quite skittish even in a straight line on ice patches. I don’t know if there is a better solution other than studding them, and if I go that route, then I am concerned about loosing some amount of dry traction. For now, when in doubt I keep my outriggers (feet) on full alert.

    Cheers!

  2. Mantis Says:

    Nice blog! Good to see Im not the coldest rider out there. I live in NJ and work in Philly but hope to ride year round. I assume you saw this on the bbs but for those that missed it, heres a snow scoot (maybe something similar could be fashioned to a Vento Clone):
    http://www.sbt-scooter.com/GA-625.htm

  3. Dick Aal Says:

    Sunday we went for a “toy run” delivering toys to children. Living in the Wine country of northern California you would think it would be balmy out here but when I left on a 160 mile round trip it was 31 degrees out and cold. It was also all freeway riding so wind chill was conciderably lower than that. It got all the way up to 40 degrees all day. It was cold but the kids appreciated the run. Sounds strange to hear about your 45 degree day when ours never reached that high. Good traction though on dry roads.

  4. Mantis Says:

    I checked as I left work and it looks like the PSF scooter come with those same Kenda tires on them from the factory. I even asked them when I picked up my scoot about changing them and they said dont bother. Good to know I got a good set.

  5. Mad Says:

    I think we’ve got your weather, if so could we please swap back? You can keep this snow and we’ll stick to our rain thanks. :D

  6. Don Canfield Says:

    I’m enjoying your daily “blog” immensely having sampled winter riding in northern Illinois, Pittsburgh, PA, and Boston, MA over the years. I have now been riding year round for about ten years, though in northern California - not quite the same as the “true north” where you’re located. I must say, however, that yesterday morning (28 November) I left home on my ‘99 BMW R1100GS in 34 degrees and pouring rain - at least I have heated hand grips and an Aerostitch suit. Keep up the great writing and riding….

  7. Buster Brown Says:

    To Ron Johnston:

    Try a single row of ice screws, one screw in every other knob, in the next-to-outermost row of knobs. They wont interfere much with dry road traction, but will just break the glaze and allow you to hook up a little on glare ice. You have to ride gingerly, but it’s a lot better than falling right down when you hit ice.

    If your knobs are thick enough to accept half-inch screws, they should not spit too many out in street use.

  8. Buster Brown Says:

    Oh jeez, I just realized I already posted about ice screws about 10 days ago. Sorry for the repetition.

    Gary, you can get 250 hardened ice screws at Bob’s for about $14.00, enough to do your scooter tires and have plenty of spares. You’ll be glad you have them, maybe not today, not tomorrow, but soon.

  9. Smell Free Says:

    Am happy to hear that someone is carrying the torch for folks like me that fear the winter riding on large bikes….like HD Road Kings…I miss it and find that each winter seems to get longer….heard you on KSTP this afternoon - was interesting listening and now reading. Also heard you mention Banner Engineering and hoping that the Boss peeking over yer shoulder isn’t the IT Director - KC….if so, she should give you an exemption….keep the bike sunny side up….

  10. Gary Charpentier Says:

    No worries about the boss. I punched out before they called me, and punched back in afterwards. So let the record show, I was indeed on my own time.

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