06 February, 2006 Temperature: 11 degrees F (-11°C)

After our record mild January, this morning felt cold by comparison. Eleven degrees is right at the threshold between glove and mitten weather. If I wear gloves, my fingers will be pretty cold by the time I get to work, unless I stop for a warm-up on the way. If I wear mittens, there’s no problem with warmth, but mittens feel clumsy on the controls. This morning, I chose the gloves.

The roads were mostly dry, with isolated ice patches to keep me interested and engaged. My situational awareness has improved markedly since my lapse on Friday morning. After a restful weekend and two cups of coffee, I felt like a Road Warrior.

Yes, I had a restful weekend, for once. On Saturday morning, I was gearing up to ride out to the Cycle World Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center. I was supposed to meet Ed Faherty, a local Baron Motorcycles dealer, who had a booth there. I was going to spend my day talking to friends old and new, looking at motorbikes I cannot afford, and generally immersing myself in shiny sexy motorcycle goodness. But as I turned around to locate my balaclava, I was greeted by a couple of angry females: my lovely wife Amy and daughter/princess Emily.

Hands on hips and exuding estrogen-fueled menace, they scowled as I tried to look baffled and innocent at the same time. But before I could even say, “What…?”, Amy fired the first salvo with, “Alright, Wandering Boy, just where do you think YOU’RE going?”

“Ummm, well, you know I’m supposed to go to the motorcycle show, right?”

I won’t go into details here… this is supposed to be entertainment. Suffice to say that I have been neglecting certain, er… obligations, in pursuit of the perfect Winter riding and writing experience. I was forced by conscience and coercion to strip out of my layers of riding gear, and assume the costume of the domestic husband and father for the duration of the weekend.

It wasn’t exactly horrible, mind you. Just not something I’m used to, is all.

So, this morning I was back in the saddle and ready to go. The Baron was running flawlessly, and the dark sky was full of stars. I breathed that brisk, cold air in through my nose, and it felt good filling my lungs.

All along my familiar route, we were hitting the marks. Brake here, lean in there, watch out for that manhole cover on the exit. Gas it here, and slow down for the big bump there. ICE! Straighten up and roll smoothly across it. We were back in the groove, the Baron and I. Riding instead of driving, living instead of daydreaming.

By the time we arrived at work, I was feeling supercharged. I burrowed into my workload with an intensity that I haven’t felt in a long while. Time passed quickly. We had a meeting which changed a few things that needed changing, and I felt even better.

By quitting time, the sun was out, and it was a balmy twenty-five degrees outside (-4°C). The Baron and I surfed on waves of asphalt, flowing effortlessly through traffic, relaxed but aware. West River Road was a continuous ribbon of scenic beauty. There was no chaos around the Ford plant. We cruised Shephard Road at an easy fifty, and nobody tailgated or cut us off. In short, it was a Perfect Commute.

I’m not sure what this means. Probably nothing at all. Happy people driving in the sunshine don’t often go out of their way to ruin your day. Was that it? Hmmph… let’s not get carried away here. But I’m beginning to think that ninety percent of what we experience in traffic is generated by our own attitude. The other ten percent is luck, or fate, or whatever brand of karma you might believe in. Whatever it was, it got me through a Monday unscathed. That’s good enough for me.

3 Responses to “Unscathed…”

  1. Mad Says:

    That’s funny Gary, you need a more subtle escape stratagem! I can just imagine you trying to sneak out to the Baron in full riding clobber…

  2. mnscooter Says:

    Yeah, that doesn’t work. The trouble is, I didn’t even see the need to sneak! I had settled comfortably into the role of income generator, and never suspected they would require my presence for other duties beyond household maintenance and security.

    What a dumbass I was!

    It’s amazing what happens when you focus on just one aspect of your life, at the expense of everything else.

    Ride well,

  3. irondad Says:

    Maybe you should try “camo” gear!

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