Yup, It’s Cold. Press On…

17 February, 2006 Temperature: -6 degrees F (-21°C)

This morning, I dressed for the ride in every piece of cold-weather gear I own. I was determined not to let the sub-zero temperature get to me, so I would be able to concentrate on the Baron’s condition and the ride itself. Long-johns under jeans, under rain pants, under leather snowmobile bibs. Heavy wool socks, of course, stuffed inside snowmobile boots.That took care of the bottom half.

Up top was Aerostich all the way, except for my habitual black turtleneck. Electric Kanetsu vest with sleeves under Darien jacket with Tech II liner. But it was to that crucial junction at the neck that I paid particular attention.

This morning, I used the Aerostich/Hadwear head wrap thing. This is basically a tube of synthetic material that you can configure any number of ways. I use it as reinforcement for my Merino wool balaclava, and a face-mask insulator to protect my frost-bitten nose. Then, I put on the white silk aviator’s scarf Andy sent me, before donning my helmet. Finally, I wrapped my big, plaid wool scarf around the whole works. This should block any wind from getting up under my helmet, I thought. It did, but it also really inhibits head movement, which is critical for maintaining “the scan”. This was a compromise I was willing to make in the light traffic this morning. I would have to reconsider it in the heavier traffic of the evening commute.

As I waddled outside, I felt positively medieval. To paraphrase Snoopy: “Here’s Sir Ridesalot, dressed in his suit of armor, preparing to mount his noble steed.”

Indeed. It was definitely cold. I could feel that on my hands, as soon as I stepped out the door. I don’t put on my mittens until after I start the engine and plug-in my vest. They are just too clumsy for anything but crude manipulation of riding controls.

The Baron started readily enough, idling kind of fast, but when it came time to get rolling, his belt-drive CVT juddered and jerked in a most reluctant manner. I’m sure the variator was not designed for these temperatures. The steering was quite stiff, and the suspension was making those ominous creaking sounds that I experienced last time it got this cold.

The wind out of the northwest was strong and steady, between 15 and 25 mph. Weather wallahs were quoting a -25° F windchill, and I was glad I couldn’t feel it. We rode sluggishly down the sidestreets, and stopped to fill up the gas tank before crossing the river. Nobody said a word to me this morning. They were all hunched over in their hats and scarves, scurrying back to their heated cages.

Once on Shephard Road, we took a long time getting up to speed. The Baron could only manage 45 mph in this cold, battling that stiff headwind. I could feel the frigid air like a hoard of icy invaders, surrounding my citadel, and probing for a way in past the defences. I must be learning, because this morning there were no leaks.

There was just this general, ominous feeling of dangerous cold “out there”, but inside my armor I was alright. Once again, my head felt like the bridge of a ship sailing through troubled waters. But this time I was fully aware and had the helm firmly in hand. This sense of detached calculation when in peril is something I would like to study one day. I suppose I would have to go back to school for that. Maybe later, if I ever get to retire.

I was feeling the cold just a little bit more by the time we reached the Dunn Brother’s at the halfway point. My extremeties weren’t painful or numb, and my visor was still clear. Traffic was still light, and I think that was what drove my decision to press on without stopping to warm up.

Was I colder than I thought? Was I becoming irrational? I asked myself these questions as I turned down the road past the coffee shop. Well, I couldn’t feel those screws in my knee yet. Look, I can still see well, and what I see is a clear road without a bunch of morons driving cages. LET’S JUST GO TO WORK, ALRIGHT?

So we pressed on. West River Road is getting bad. The frost heaves come one after the other, and on the Baron’s cold-stiffened suspension they felt like riding over the “whoops” on a motocross track. Bam, bam, bam, bam… my lunch was taking a beating back there in the milk crate. Frozen as it must have been by then, it was a wonder I didn’t arrive at work with shattered pizza slices. But wife Amy had packed them well; individually wrapped in heavy foil, then tied up together in a plastic bag. These things are important. Thanks Honey!

By the time I saw the first hints of daylight creeping over the horizon, we were nearly there. I also noticed that my visor was frosting up on the inside again. It always starts on the left side. I have no explanation for this, except that the seal between the panes must be compromised there. Maybe a replacement is in order. Nevertheless, I calculated that we could probably make it before my vision was dangerously compromised.

Of course, this meant taking the highway to save time. Bad decision. The Baron, with his stiff CVT, was not up to highway speeds this morning. We could just manage 40 mph by that time, and the limit here was 50. Being a Friday morning, that meant everybody was going 65 – 70. Suddenly, I forgot all about the cold. Now my life was in danger from the angry motorists zipping past us at much higher speeds. We turned off at the next opportunity, and took the sidestreets the rest of the way to work.

My visor was frosted clear across by the time we arrived. I had to lift it out of the way to negotiate that last mile or so. That was cold. Really cold.

I should have stopped at Dunn Brothers to warm up this morning, but I’m a stubborn brute sometimes. Whenever faced with a challenge like this, I tend to choose the caveman option. I’m getting too old for this.

During work today, I went out to the parking lot to check on the Baron. He didn’t want to start. I hadn’t worn my gloves out there, because I still didn’t get exactly how cold it was. I didn’t know that the temperature had actually DROPPED while I was beginning my workday. It was -8° F by the time I tried to start the Baron on my morning break. So I pulled in the metal brake lever with my bare left hand and pressed the starter button with my right thumb. The starter whirred, but didn’t engage. I tried it again. And again. Finally it caught and turned the engine over. And over.

It took about 30 seconds to start the Baron, and by that time my left ring finger was slightly frostbitten from the cold metal lever. You really can’t fart around with cold like this!

I quickly realized that the Baron would not survive the whole workday out there in the cold and still be able to start at quitting time. So I called my friend Al Kurtz, our facilities manager. He had a nice, warm spot in our warehouse across the parking lot, where they park the Bobcat that clears the snow around the buildings sometimes. He said I could put it in there, just this once. Thanks Al.

On the ride home tonight, it was still -6° F. It hadn’t warmed at all during the day. When we got to the halfway point, at the Lake Street Bridge, my visor was half-frosted. It was time to stop. I looked at my options: Dunn Brothers, or the Longfellow Grille. Dunn Brothers has coffee, but the Grille has Guinness. That wasn’t a hard choice. I left the Baron parked at the bicycle rack where I could see him. Running. There was no way I was going to give him a chance to refuse to start.

By the time my Guinness had settled, my visor was cleared of frost. By the time my Guinness was gone, I was nice and warm, and ready to finish the journey. The rest of our ride home went smoothly. We could still only manage about 50 mph, even with the headwind gone. We actually had a 10 mph tailwind by then. But the variator was making weird noises, and I know it wasn’t liking this cold at all. I’ll have to call up crewchief Lorne and see what he thinks.

So, am I going to go for that midnight ride tonight? No. It’s supposed to get down to -18°F. That’s about -28°C for the rest of the world. The Baron has indicated that’s too cold for him, and I have to agree. Midnight will find us both tucked snug in our respective beds. I’m not THAT stubborn.

25 Responses to “Yup, It’s Cold. Press On…”

  1. Dan Jones Says:

    Wow, Gary.

    Sounds like you are pushing the envelope at these temperatures. I’m no expert on these things but I seem to recall that mechanical devices that are expected to operate in extreme cold require special lubricants, looser mechanical tolerances, and other special design considerations.

    I’m surprised the Baron could even start during the day. Those scooter generator/alternators just barely put out enough juice to keep the battery topped up in decent weather. Was it on a trickle charger?

    If the Baron survives the winter then summer should be a snap. That must be one tough little scooter. Maybe you should get a second one and have it rebuilt by snowmobile experts just for winter driving. They could probably make it run like a top even in the harshest of winter conditions.

    Stay safe.

  2. mnscooter Says:

    Hi Dan,

    You are absolutely right about design constraints on different types of vehicles. Motor scooters were definitely not designed for these conditions.

    This is more of a HALT (Highly Accelerated Life Test) for the Baron. The basic concept is to stress the product beyond it’s design limits to see what breaks first. Fix that, and retest. Repeat…

    Think of it: Baron is the only Chinese scooter manufacturer with an active U.S. R&D program!

    That would be me, of course.

    I am keeping an exel spreadsheet documenting all component failures, maintenance intervals, and operational data for eventual translation to the engineers at the production plants in China.

    I am also going to write and photograph the English-language repair and maintenance manuals for Baron scooters.

    Why not use my qualifications to help bring Baron up to the quality level they seek in this country? This is exactly the same process that the Big Four from Japan went through in the 1970’s. Look where THEY are now.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  3. Steve Williams Says:

    Wow.

    Wow, that sounds pretty intense. And your description of your clothing prep sounds like the little brother in “Christmas Story”. Just don’t fall down, you won’t be able to get up.

    And I think it is time for your wife to contribute an opinion or two to your blog. Not just the lunch….

    steve

  4. irondad Says:

    Last night I sort of scolded you. Sorry. I understand exactly where you are coming from. That’s why it worries me!!!! Sometimes it’s easy to go “over the limit” without realizing we have been on the edge. It’s like a story I saw in a “Calvin & Hobbes” book. Calvin asks his dad how the highway department knows what weight to put on bridge load limits. His dad says they just keep driving heavier trucks over the bridge until it breaks and write down the weight of the last successful truck. Then they rebuild the bridge exactly how it was. My editorial? They find the limit but run the risk of finding out too late that the limit had been reached. The sign is the disaster. Kinda’ bad timing.

    That said, not many people will say this to you. I envy you. I have been tested in almost every situation on a bike. The extremely low temps are something I have not encountered. The lowest was 6 degrees F. in Yakima,Washington. On the other hand, I have ridden with my bike on fire. Not too long, mind you, but on fire nonetheless. I’ve also ridden while being shot at. So it’s been varied experience but not complete.

    You surprised me. I thought when you said you touched the lever with your bare hand for so long that you were leading up to telling us your finger stuck to the lever. I am really impressed by the scooter. I can’t remember. Is this a Chinese copy of something or their own design?

    Ain’t Aerostich stuff great? I have a balaclava from them. (Along with about everything else from their catalog ) It is incredible how much cold air the thin material keeps out. It doesn’t look up to the task but does awesome. By the way, I just shaved my beard. Talk about feeling the cold air!

    Hang in there. May you find the limits you seek on your own terms.

  5. Dan Jones Says:

    I’m glad to hear that you are going to write the new manuals. I was just about to volunteer to do that myself. My background is in graphic design and document production.

    The “translated” manuals that come with many of the Chinese products create at least a couple of problems. The information is often difficult to understand and the poor translations can severely lower the perception of what might be an otherwise decent product. If you visit Scooterbbs.com you will find much mocking of Chinese scooter manuals.

    Good manuals will give Baron a major leg up in this competitive market.

    P.S. I’ll be needing that new manual about April 1st. ;-)

  6. Doug Wimer Says:

    Hi Gary,
    I just became aware of your blog. I Ride through the winter here in Indianapolis. Not as cold as your neck of the woods, but still pretty cold.
    I’ve noticed my helmet always frost up on one side of my helmet too. Figured it was because the wind was coming from that side.
    Doug

  7. Marc Says:

    Gary, as promised I went on a short ride this evening and thought I’d pass on a few observations. Please forgive the length.

    It’s 2:15 am and I just got back from a short 15 mile loop around the city. Ambient air temperature was -15 and my average speed was about 45 mph. At one point I took her up to 75 mph just see if I would freeze instantly and die like the weather bureau said I would. Guess the wind chill really is overrated.

    The Wing started up after about 45 seconds of cranking. I let the starter rest a couple times but on the third try she slowly came to life. It was sitting out in the front yard for 12 hours prior as I didn’t want to cheat and keep it shielded from the wind like it usually is parked in the garage. At first the blinkers had a mind of their own and they alternated between on, off, and steady on without any input from me, eventually the switch warmed up and they worked normally. The tachometer had a low whine like a Ford power steering pump low on fluid and it never let up throughout the ride. Taking off from a stop was tricky because the clutch was acting up and not releasing smoothly. Picture a kid in a standard shift drivers ed. car. I also had the radiator fully blocked off but the engine barely ran at operating temperature. Needless to say running the old girl in this weather makes me feel a little quilty and ashamed. Tomorrow I think I’ll run the heater in the garage and give it some TLC to ease my conscience.

    Growing up as a kid with a daily paper route I’ve been frostbit in so many places so many times that it doesn’t take long before something starts to go numb (some would say my head is the first to go). One thing I did was place four fresh baked potatoes in various pockets underneath my bibs and jacket and believe me it felt good, especially by the kidneys. Also, electric socks are something I used to laugh at but now I won’t leave home without them. You don’t really feel any heat but your feet never get cold either so they must work. Besides the potatoes and electric socks that’s all the artificial heat I used as the alternator on the first generation Gold Wings don’t put out enough juice to do anything except run the lighting system and charge the battery. I donned the “super mits” as I call them to keep my hands warm. They are surplus military mittens you wear over wool liner mittens. They’re even heavier than my usual mittens, which are also military surplus, and make hanging onto the bike a little tricky. When shifting I have to take my hand of the bars, make sort of a hook with the tips of fingers, and pull my whole arm back. Signaling is hit or miss, sometimes the high beams come on or the horn honks. Sometimes I manage all three except I end up signaling the wrong direction.

    Believe it or not, you are still crazy in my mind. First off, I have a large fairing to shed a good share of the wind. Second, my commute is usually void of any major traffic and is on major roads that are almost always free of snow and ice. Third, having ridden through the Twin Cities area several times, one in pouring rain at night, each time I wonder just how anyone could drive through that mess in the winter, in a cage even, let alone on a scooter.

    Take it easy,
    Marc

  8. Burt Kaufman Says:

    Was wondering WHY you settled on the Chinese Scooter, instead of a Suzuki Burgman 650 Exec, Burgman 400, or a Yamaha Majesty. Might give you enough power to play in the big leagues, maybe a bit safer. Obviously costly, but…

  9. mnscooter Says:

    Alright, let’s take it from the top again.

    Steve,
    Amy has known me since I got out of the Marine Corps right after the first Gulf war. I was a brash young man then, and I am a brash middle aged man now. You could say that the `Corps stunted my emotional growth. But then, I suspect maturity is overrated.

    She still loves me, and she knows she can chime in here anytime she wants. I hope she does, at some point, but that’s up to her.

    Irondad, what can I say? I think you get it better than anyone. Marc S. gets it too, but he still thinks I’m crazy! It’s all about what you can get used to, I guess.

    Welcome aboard Doug! That helmet frosting thing: it goes from left to right every time, both going-to and returning-from work. That tells me it is the visor, and not the wind. This is a good reason to ask my sponsors at Bob’s Cycle Supply for a replacement.

    Marc, Marc, Marc… and you call ME crazy!? The Baron might start in -15°F, but he wouldn’t run very well. I don’t think he would steer at all!

    I suspect that I might tough it out in those conditions, if it were only ten or fifteen miles, but Brother, that’s COLD!

    Yeah, I’ve heard that electrons behave strangely at those temperatures. Instead of flowing along the path of least resistance, they just try to go wherever it’s warm. That explains your erratic turn signals, I’ll bet.

    I love the baked potato idea! That one had me chuckling. Maybe you need a blog of your own here?

    Burt, I’m going to answer you separately.

    Ride warm and well, everybody.

    =gc=

  10. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Burt,

    For the record, I didn’t “settle” for the Baron. If you have read this blog for awhile, you would realize that I chose this brand for very good reasons.

    The first is weight. I didn’t even consider the maxi-scooters for this project because they are too heavy and carry too much inertia. Also, replacement parts would be too expensive.

    Second is support. I shopped this project around, and quickly found out that none of the big operators were interested in doing extreme weather R&D, in full view of the online public. The risk of embarrassment to an established brand name was too much for them.

    What I found with Baron was a committed bunch of guys running a family business out of a warehouse. They are dedicated to bringing Chinese scooters up to the same level of quality that we did with Japanese motorbikes in the 1970’s and `80’s.

    CEO Lev Mirman makes frequent trips to the factories in China to ensure that they are constantly improving their quality processes. The support I’ve gotten from my Baron pitcrew has been phenomenal! Of course it helps that corporate HQ is only five miles from where I work…

    Finally, maxi-scooter power would mean that I would be constantly tempted to take the freeway to work. That is a much-quicker, but more-boring ride. Still, I suppose that if a guy could find snow tires for such a machine, it would be a viable alternative.

    Thanks for writing, Burt.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  11. Mad Says:

    I was on a rideout last autumn and one of the guys had a sticker on his FZR1000 that said “My life has been a constant struggle against maturity”. I’d like that on my bike somewhere.

    Gary you should have been riding over here today with me, England has a feeling like spring’s just around the corner and suddenly bikes are everywhere. I had a potter around some local bike shops just because I felt like it and I saw Ducati’s, R1’s, Firestorms, loads of bikes out and about. It feels really strange, like thinking your the only person on a desert island and then finding a holiday resort around the next headland. I guess my point is that it may be incredibly cold for you right now but it’ll be warming up before you know it and then what happens to the blog? This is one of my daily reads, I hope it doesn’t go into reverse hibernation.

  12. mnscooter Says:

    Hello Mad,

    As you well know, one of my dreams is to ride around the UK someday, with friends that I have encountered throughout my moto-journalism career.

    London, the North Country, and the Isle of Man are only the top of my list. All the traditional Cafe Racer haunts. But economics always get in the way. The only possibility is to get some magazine or other to finance my pilgrimage.

    Maybe I should forget the American rags and talk to your wonderful British moto-journals. What do you think?

    Anyway, thanks for your encouragement. I’m really quite happy with the challenging conditions. This allows me to push everything right up to the limit and report on what fails. It won’t be me, mate, I guarantee you that.

    But the machine is proving to be almost as stubborn as I am! I find that amazing, considering all the bad press I had read prior to this project.

    Of course, “The Baron in Winter” will stop when winter is through. But I have found blogging much more fun than writing for that stodgy old MMM only once per month.

    So far, plans are for me to continue my old column: “Backroads Diary”, as a blog. Maybe on the Aerostich website, but that has yet to be finalized.

    Then too, when my wife Amy gets her scooter, we will also be doing another blog on the Baron site called “Baron Family Scootering”. Amy and Emily will figure heavily in this one, as we will be exploring the everyday utility and recreation potential of scooters as family transportation. But of course, I will have regular input as well.

    We are exploring new frontiers of online moto-journalism, and having lots of fun with it. You have to surf the waves you can catch, right?

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  13. nanite Says:

    Sorry to be a downer, but I’m dropping out of this winter riding fiasco I’ve started this winter, like you Gary. The reason isn’t that I’m not insane enough, that I don’t have enough nerve, but my 1982 Honda Ascot hasn’t been fairing too well mechanically after riding through the bucketloads of salt and other chemicals on the roadway. Pretty much any nick to the paint has bloomed into rust, and all the bare metals like the nuts and bolts have a white powdery corrosion on them that I’m gradually scrubbing off. My exhaust hasn’t faired too well either, as it’s rusted pretty well and I’ll probably have to sand and paint the headers. I’m sure your Baron has been quite a bit better, since it’s new, but my old dog needs a lot of upkeep right now.

    So now, after riding in the snow/slush/ice with you this winter, Gary, I have to put my bike to rest for all but the most insane days where I just have to ride. I’m thinking of getting a small and cheap 50 cc beater scooter or dirt bike to use around here during the winter instead next year. That’d work much better with commuting around campus and in the local area. Can’t wait until the temperatures start hitting the 40’s, and then I’ll be out like a spring bird! Keep it strong man!

  14. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Nanite,

    First, you have to realize that our sanity is not in question. WE realize how precious fuel is becoming, and how those costs impact our budgets. It’s the folks who are buying fuel for their SUVs on a credit card who are INSANE!

    Second, the bike you are riding in the winter is quite vulnerable to these conditions. I rode a dual-sport NX650 Honda through three winters here, but it was absolute junk at the end of that. Your poor Ascot was never designed for this kind of abuse. You deserve a medal for making it this far!

    Stay in touch, and we will ride together come spring.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  15. Mad Says:

    Well when you do get to ride here you know I’ll be expecting a visit. I’ll show you some of the lovely back road rides around here then take you up to the peak district.

    As for the Brit bike mags? I don’t know if they’d be up for it, I read ‘em all but I have no idea how you’d go about setting it up.

    I’m amazed at how resilient the Baron is being. I’d heard lots of bad things about Chinese bikes/scooters and this casts all the rumour into doubt. I really would consider buying one now. If I can find the spare cash my little sister might get one as a present. Hell when looking through the Baron website a few times I’ve had strange urges for the scooter with a roof…

  16. mnscooter Says:

    Hey Mad,

    Absolutely. I wonder if I could put you in touch with a bloke named Jon Vogel. He lives in or near London, and rides an older Ducati 900SS that he named Sophia. You two would get on well.

    The only way for me to put this idea to the brit bike mags is straight forward. I should put together a package that includes exerpts from this blog, samples of my previous work, and maybe a DVD of the television news piece, then just send it over. Imagine: “An American Nutter in London”!

    As for Chinese scooters, you have to separate the wheat from the chaff. Baron is of higher quality than most, but you have to buy it from a dealer who is willing to support it. Baron has a one-year, parts-only warranty. You either have to do the actual “spanner work” yourself, or pay a shop mechanic to do it. Talk this over with the dealer before buying.

    Oil changes and drive belts are the most frequent maintenance needs. But then, you did your own chain and sprockets on your Bandit, so the scooter stuff should be no problem.

    Your urges for the two-wheeled car thingy are indeed strange. You need to see a doctor about that…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  17. Kurt Layman Says:

    Iron Dad:
    I learned to ride in Yakima! Lived there most of my life, until economics drove me to the wet side of Washington State.

    mnscooter: Before I got my full Roadcrafter by Aerostich and electric vest, I used my elk hunting gear. Full long johns, Full Filson wool bib overalls, silk turtle neck t shirt, wool shirt, wool military sweater, Filson wool jacket. I bought a bright orange Helli Hanson Double Extra Large rain suit that went over everything. It was water proof and did not breathe. Ice would form on the inside and form its own insulating layer. It never became a problem because the wind would shake it loose. I am sure that my ‘91 ST1100 has much better wind protection compared to the Baron. I never was on the bike when there was snow or ice on the ground. Yakima is high planes desert and could get very cold with no precipitation. The ST did just fine.

    I bought a ‘cheap’ HJC half helmet (their quality has really improved since the early years) in XXLG. My ski goggles provided wind protection for my eyes. I do not remember how cold it got but never had frost problems since my breath never got into the goggles. I used a full heavy wool military balaclava (SP?) and it fit snug under the helmet. I then had a heavy wool tube that I wore around my neck, up the back of my head. The HJC had a zip on leather like ear warmer that attached to the neck strap. That held the tube up the back of my head. All of this was loose enough for me to retain mobility for side to side checks. A military scarf wrapped twice around the neck and spread full across my chest (double layer) completed the outfit. The scarf did not turn with my head, everything else turned under the scarf.

    My feet would get cold in my leather hunting boots so some times I would stop and put some of those chemical foot warmers in the bottoms. My hands were inside military over mittens and were never a problem.

    I gave up riding in the cold (and hunting in the cold, muzzle loading season is early fall) and gave away most of my army surplus stuff. You are inspiring me to ride in the cold again. What made me think of this was your comment about frost and head checks. The half helmet and goggles gives up a lot of crash protection, but some of that is gained back with the cushioning of all that wool. The half helmet seemed to give more area for the material to stretch and turn allowing for full head mobility. In addition, all of the ice that formed on the outside of the wool from my breath was never trapped in the helmet. I think I might see what I can do with more modern materials. I will let you know.

    I rode today in ‘Brutal Seattle Winter Weather’. When ever the temperature drops below freezing here, it is the lead story for all of the news media! Reported with breathless admonitions to dress warmly and leave your faucets dripping!

    My full helmet and scarf I used today in the 30 degree Seattle ‘winter’ let in cold drafts. If I really get back into riding in adverse conditions I will experiment with the half helmet and more modern materials. You are absolutely right on about the choice of bike: Light weight, easy to maintain and inexpensive!

  18. Dick Aal Says:

    Gary,
    Have been away on vacation down to Palm Desert, California all last week and not able to ready your blog.
    A study in contrast for California. While I was playing golf in the desert in shorts at 84 degrees, people were enjoying fresh powder to ski in at Lake Tahoe. And when I came home today, I drove through a dust storm, hit the summit (4750 ft) in the high desert where we had rain, sleet and snow over the top. And when I got home the forcast is for high 20’s to low 30’s for morning temperature.
    At least you were prepared for your weather. Hope you keep all your fingers and toes next week.

  19. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks gentlemen. Kurt, you have given me some ideas that I hadn’t thought of before. I wonder if goggles wouldn’t be a better way to go. Maybe a motocross-type helmet, or just my full-face without the visor? I may have to experiment next winter with other options.

    Dick, I hope you had a wonderful vaction. I sometimes play golf with my dad during the season here. It’s an interesting contrast to my various motorbike activities, but it’s too bad golf isn’t a winter sport. Then I would have more time for riding during the good weather.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  20. irondad Says:

    Just remember that goggles, depending on design, can play havoc with peripheral vision.

  21. Mad Says:

    Yeah a motocross helmet and goggles could be a potential answer, although I’ve read that they are really drafty compared to normal full face lids?

    I think you should give it a shot with the Brit mags Gary, I enjoy your writing and outlook so much it’d be great to see some of your articles turn up here. I’d particularly suggest PB (performance bikes Magazine), they seem more like the kind of journalists who like to go out on a limb. If you need a list of magazines give me a shout and I’ll email all the titles and addresses I can find.

    I already know my way around scooter CV transmissions due to my early riding *cough* exhuberance so it’d be kewl to spanner a little Baron for my sister.

    As for that roofed scooter thing, don’t worry as soon as I felt the urge I self-flaggelated in the garden for half an hour to atone for my un-natural cravings….

  22. Jim Says:

    Gary,

    Nice work here at the blog. It was great having the chance to meet you and hear of your travels. More then a few guests admired your pluck in dealing with such a cold day.
    Perhaps a Guinness for the Baron as well? Sounds like it helped you for the ride home.
    Next one is on us.
    Look forward to keeping up with your travels.

    Warmest Regards,

    Jim @ Longfellow Grill

  23. mnscooter Says:

    Ohhhh…

    Now, how cool is THAT!?

    Thank you very much, Jim. I’ll see you again soon.

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  24. Keith Says:

    I’m sorry to read that the blog will stop when winter ends! I know it takes time to keep up with it though. I just enjoy reading it each day! Let us know where your future bloggings will be located.

  25. mnscooter Says:

    I’ll do that, Keith. You can expect to read something new from me at least a couple of times a week. But I don’t know how interesting I could keep a daily commuter blog, on the same route every single day, during the normal riding season. I would have to resort to political commentary, like most other bloggers, and NOBODY wants that!

    Ride well,
    =gc=

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