Nothing to Report

02 December, 2005 Temperature: 11 degrees F

Alright, I didn’t think this would happen so soon. I certainly didn’t want it to. What the heck is wrong with me? I have made such a big production out of this that you would think every single day would be a dire struggle just to survive. It certainly hasn’t turned out that way. In fact, you could say with perfect honesty that I am having fun. Lots of fun!

This is the coolest thing I have ever done in winter, no pun intended. But it doesn’t make for much of an adventure story, does it? I mean, I’m supposed to be suffering, aren’t I? Big, mean SUVs are supposed to be stalking me on icy city streets, right? I’m supposed to be falling down and struggling to get back up, only to be run over, over and over, by vast lines of ignorant, somnolent motorists, no?

No. Not happening. Not at all.

As I alluded to yesterday, it seems that the citizens of our fair Twin Cities have absorbed and accepted me into the daily flow of weirdness that passes for our lives these days. Nothing surprises people anymore. They just go from one box to the next. Time passes, and life goes on. Why not? Reality television has shown them Everything. They probably think I am just another episode of “Jackass” in progress. Is that show still on?

Tonight, on my way home, I watched the ice floes drifting down the river and crashing into the bridge supports. It’s cold out there. But thanks to generous riding gear sponsors and prudent planning, I am warm and happy on this little scooter. The Baron and I are having a ball.

Oh no! This is not going to play well on the morning news. What if the camera crew follows me all the way to work… and nothing bad happens!? Can they show that? What will it do to the ratings?

But media perception isn’t really the point, is it? Well, yeah, I guess it is. On this Ride To Work website, we are trying to show people the merit and practicality of riding a motorbike to work. Granted, my application is a bit extreme. What I am trying to do here is to show folks where the edge of the envelope is, so they can see how perfectly safe and sensible it is to operate a motorbike in its’ intended environment. Dry roads and moderate temperatures are an absolute joy on a motorbike.

Hmmmm…. motorbike, motorbike, motorbike.

Let’s take a moment to define what I mean by that term. It’s simple, really. A motorbike is any vehicle with two wheels that achieves motion from the urge of an internal combustion engine. I’m not differentiating between the 49.5 cc moped and the 2000 cc ground-pounding chopper. These all have their ideal applications. I’m not going into that here. Let’s just say that I have ridden them all, and I have found some level of fun in every one of them.

I just want to bring the scooter and motorcycle “communities” together for the purpose of commuting. In most cases, we use less fuel, and we definitely use less space on the roads. These are the primary advantages. But there is so much more to it than that. Go back and read the “boxes” analogy, if you haven’t already.

Soon, hopefully, people who have never even considered riding on two wheels will begin to reconsider this concept. America is not going to be able to sustain the big-car mentality forever. How can we justify dragging two tons of tin around with us, everywhere we go? I mean, who really needs that? We are going to have to adjust our attitudes and appetites to be more in line with the rest of the world. Americans should start looking at the motorbike as a practical vehicle, rather than a Lifestyle Accessory. What if we did this by choice, before it was forced upon us by circumstance? Doesn’t that sound more like the American way?

4 Responses to “Nothing to Report”

  1. Mike Says:

    Don’t quit on me now! My job in flat, temperate south Louisiana requires me to commute in a truck far removed from my desire to ride, and my northeastern upbringing. I live vicariously through the riding of others,(hence the “dustytrump”). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t look forward to your ride becoming more adventurous(read “dangerous”)and if you ever decide the risk out ways the reward, by all means stop. But I have read you report every day and am enjoying it greatly. Your writing is excellant and provides a quick break in my workday. Snow, hills and riding are three things I miss. Keep up the good work.

  2. mnscooter Says:

    Oh, don’t worry, Mike.

    I had to go back through what I just wrote to try and figure out what gave you the impression that I was quitting. I must admit that I don’t see it.

    The Red Baron and I are going to ride all winter long, every day that the snowfall is predicted to be less than six inches. At least that was my original proclamation. I may adjust that, if I see that the excellent snowplow pilots are doing a better job than I expected. Those folks are kicking ass so-far this year! I am impressed.

    My ultimate personal goal is to ride every single workday this winter. But I won’t knowingly jeopardize my life or safety in pursuit of that goal, because I do have a wife and daughter to support. So there are limits.

    Thanks for your kind compliments, Mike. I can add your presence to the multitude I feel riding with me every morning. You folks are my inspiration.

    Ride well,

  3. John D Hall Says:

    Gary,I think that your adventure is showing beyond a doubt that one can use a Motorcycle as their priamary means of transportation even anywhere in the US in all seasons. Don’t be down because you haven’t had a more challenging time on the road. To anyone in the southern US the thought of riding in 12° tempature may sound a little wacked but by reading your Blog it comes across as no big deal. That should show people that we can use a motorcycle as our main wheels. I got back into motorcycling in part due to the rising fuel prices. It makes no sense if all you have to transport is your rump to drive an F250 deisel 4X4 crew cab getting 15MPG like I was. You have to be able to adapt your needs to the motorcycle. I use a tank bag to take the place of my back seat of my truck. Your blog has me looking at the scooters when I am in a motorcycle shop where before I would walk right past them. By the way it feels almost like summer here, a high of 84°. If this keeps up the mosquitos will come back. Mosquitos in December really suck. Keep up the good work buddy and hopefully this will get some new poeple into motorcycling.

  4. mnscooter Says:

    Hey John, we are definitely on the same frequency here. People in what we call the “third world” have been doing this for a long time now. They are much more efficient about their transportation choices, because they have to be. When you can’t afford a new car, and you don’t want to put up with the inconveniences of public transportation, then your best option for autonomous travel is the motorbike. The fact that it is more fun and fuel-efficient than any car just makes it that much more attractive.

    The main reason most folks shy away from using a motorbike as primary transportation is because they are afraid of all the cars, trucks, and SUVs out there. It’s a classic catch-22, isn’t it? I can’t risk riding a motorbike because I might get hit by a car. So I will drive a car instead, and add to the hazards for other potential riders. Frustrating, isn’t it?

    Ride well,

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