Wednesday Wandering

18 January, 2006 Temps: 17 degrees F, (-8C)

The Baron and I had a nice, uneventful commute, both ways today. The End.

Well, that’s not true, really. Both the morning and evening rides were indeed uneventful, from a life-threatening danger standpoint. There wasn’t much adventure beyond the simple fact that we were out there riding, and didn’t see anyone else around on two wheels. I keep looking for other riders, but I haven’t seen anyone else since the infamous, um, “S.N. Incident”.

The only thing I had to watch out for today was that strip down the center of the lane, between the wheel tracks. That goes from dry pavement to slush, to remnants of ice cover with unpredictable frequency. Once I settled into one wheel track, however, I could almost relax.

There were plenty of people about, walking and running and driving. One notable fellow, driving an ex-cop Ford Crown Victoria with an NRA logo emlazoned on the door, gave me a big thumbs-up as he passed. I waved and smiled. I like guns too.

Er, sorry sir! I meant “weapons”. (Pardon me for a moment, I have to do twenty push-ups…)

Whew! Alrighty then. As I said, the ride itself was routine. But there are still plenty of variables out there on that ride which merit contemplation. This morning, for instance, I saw a fellow out jogging, in cold-weather running gear. Nothing peculiar about that. What was strange were the two large men flanking him, in reflective vests, obviously armed and carrying commo gear. Bodyguards? At 5:30 a.m. in Saint Paul? Well, it’s a dangerous world, I guess…

“Things have changed since 9-11.” Yeah, that’s what you-all keep telling us. I wonder who the V.I.P. was?

We keep getting waves and hollers from kids standing at school bus stops. This is encouraging. The future looks bright from that perspective.

So, tomorrow I return to “The Scenic Route”. This is the way I like best. It is the route I spent many years figuring out, and the one on which I encounter the least traffic. This is a grand tour for the nose: from the eggs-and-bacon breakfast smells amongst the houses, to the heady aromas emanating from the brewery, and the rich scent of roasting coffee beans coming from Dunn Brothers on the corner of the Lake Street Bridge.

Yes, it is slower. But slow is what a scooter’s all about.

5 Responses to “Wednesday Wandering”

  1. Dan Jones Says:

    Hi Gary. Here’s a question you might be able to help with.

    I’m thinking of ordering my Baron 150PM in a totally bright yellow color for conspicuity (love that word) and hopefully safer riding. Also thinking of a one-inch blue dot in the tail/brake light (legal in MN) and a brake light modulator (three flashes and then steady–not specifically illegal in MN). Lots of reflective tape on the bike and on my jacket and helmet also.

    Have you any thoughts about these items? And what have you done or plan to do to be more visable as you commute?

    Thanks and happy riding.

  2. Mad Says:

    I came across a statistic yesterday that I thought I’d post here, it is a British weather stat but it gives pause for thought on commuting everywhere.

    If you commute to work every day, half an hour ride each way and you have the standard days leave you will, on average, get rained on 12 times a year.

    Ain’t that great?

  3. mnscooter Says:

    Dan, you bring up an interesting topic here that could take up an entire blog entry. I will address this tonight, but for now let me tell you this:

    I like all of your ideas so far. For most riders, anything that can help them be seen by the oblivious cage-driving public is a Good Thing. More to follow tonight…

    Hey Mad. Rain doesn’t bother me anymore. Just this past autumn, we had severe rainstorms with flooding up to two feet deep in some intersections. I was riding my KLR, “Frogwing”, every day, and we had an absolute blast fording these street/rivers whilst the box people stalled out in their cages. Imagine my glee as “Frogwing” and I charged into the stream and splashed all these poor motorists. I was cackling like a maniac inside my helmet.

    Maybe I am an evil bastard, but it felt so good to be the most capable vehicle on the road for once. After you resign yourself to getting wet, nothing can stop you! (For the record, the few people I saw who were still in their vehicles were calling for help on their cell phones. I would never just pass by a stranded motorist if there was anything I could do to help.)

    OK, I’ve got to calm down now. Delusions of grandeur do not play well on a scooter. I miss Frogwing already…

    Ride well,

  4. Mad Says:

    Frogwing is a very apt moniker then! The amphibious motorbike.

    Now I have proper waterproof gear I don’t mind the rain, I just metioned it as a good statistic to continue evangalising for two wheeled commuting.

    My work’s letting me have a long ride out tomorrow on the pretext of training sales staff. I get paid to do a 200 mile round trip on some of the loveliest routes in the east of England, if I get some good pictures I’ll post some for you. :D

  5. mnscooter Says:

    Ah yes, the ultimate combination of business and pleasure. If you have read my “Backroads Diary”, you will find that it was working travel which allowed me to discover South Dakota. The best part, is when you get back and submit your mileage reimbursement check. These are calculated for average auto mileage, and Frogwing gets 50mpg!

    Just another fabulous reason to Ride to Work…


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