Looking Forward

01 March, 2006 Temperature: 31 degrees F (-1°C)

The Baron and I left a half hour late this morning. It takes time to lose an argument with a proud, stubborn woman. Amy insisted that she already feels good enough to go to work today. I insisted she give the antibiotics more time to do their job before she tries to go and do hers. But the only way to win this argument was to stay home all day and stand watch over her while she recovered. I have more respect for her than that.

By the time we hit the street, the sky was turning twilight blue in the east. The Baron seemed to have a little extra torque this morning, probably due to the new variator. The forecasted freezing drizzle must have fizzled, because the roads were dry as a bone. I didn’t even turn on the Kanetsu vest, because I had all the insulation I needed. We rode to work in comfort, as I looked around for a photo op.

I found it on the Lake Street Bridge. Getting ready to make the usual right hand turn, I looked up at the old-fashioned streetlamps on the corner. I have always liked these, ever since I watched them passing by, while lying in the back of the family station wagon as a child. These were the days before mandatory child restraints. It’s a wonder we all lived through that, isn’t it?

Anyway, my Grandma lived on Marshall Street, in Saint Paul, and these were the lamps that lit the way to her house, under a cathedral ceiling of elm tree boughs. Most of the elm trees are gone now, and so is Grandma. I miss them terribly, sometimes.

Halfway There...But this morning, I decided to take a few moments and see if I could capture some of the magic I was seeing in a digital image. Scooters are wonderful vehicles for photography, because you can basically park them anywhere. I positioned the Baron, left his motor running to power the lights, and set up with my camera steadied against the stopsign pole. That’s the Minneapolis skyline on the horizon.

While I was concentrating on taking the shot, I didn’t notice the nice lady in the Honda Accord waiting about twenty yards back as I focused and pressed the button. Those cars are so quiet and unobtrusive. When I pulled my face back from the camera, I started, and said “OH! Sorry!”

She rolled her window down and said, “That’s alright. It’s a beautiful morning.”

“That it is.”, I said. “Thank you!”

She smiled, waved, and drove off. She will be out here on a scooter someday soon, I just know it. Or maybe a bigger bike. I could see it in her eyes. Not all who drive are box people. Some just haven’t gotten here yet.

The rest of my day was rather pleasant routine. During my “blunch”, I answered some of your wonderful comments. Steve Williams’ reply got me thinking about my blogging future, and the germ of an idea was planted. Well, that germ grew very quickly, and I made some inquiries with my Ride to Work sponsor, Andy Goldfine. Together, we have come up with…

The Contest:

We have nineteen days until “The Baron in Winter” blog comes to an end. After that, I will still be blogging about riding to work, but it won’t be in winter, and it won’t always be on a Baron scooter. My own beloved Kawasaki KLR 650, named Frogwing, has watched jealously while I have ridden the Baron for these past four months, and I’m sure he is chomping at the bit to get back on the road. At least I hope so.

But I am having trouble thinking of a name for my Ride To Work blog during the normal riding season. So I have decided to enlist the help of my readers in coming up with a suitable title.

The Rules:

I hate rules, but sometimes they are necessary. These will be very basic.

1) The name “Baron” will not be in the title of this blog, because Amy and I will be doing another occasional blog on the official Baron website called, “Baron Family Scootering”, once she gets her own scooter this Spring.

2) The title must reflect the nature of my commute, and the style in which I usually complete it. (Hint: Here is where research into my previous writings might come in handy…)

3) Employees of Aerostich, Baron Motorcycles, Kenda USA, and Bob’s Cycle Supply must be ineligible, because every other contest I have ever seen has this rule. I figure there must be a good reason for it.

4) I will be the primary judge, but I will also consult with Andy Goldfine and Shane Stillwell, to make sure the winning entry fits well with the Ride To Work mission. I might even ask Amy what she thinks.

The Prize:

Here is where the contest became real. I had suggested maybe a T-shirt or stickers or something. But Andy wrote back:

“Put up a $100 gift certificate for Aerostich/Rider Wearhouse catalog merchandise.”

So let it be written, so let it be done.

We will choose the name for my next Ride to Work blog on March 20th, 2006. Send your entries to the comments section. Good luck.

24 Responses to “Looking Forward”

  1. irondad Says:

    I am not going to offer a name. Although, I have to say I have much insight into your riding style and commute. Is it style or more of a savage thing? How about savage with elegance?
    Just wanted to give credit to Andy publicly. I have had dealings with him (”you”, Andy if you are reading this ) and am totally blown away by how Andy is still firmly rooted as a motorcycle guy. I have found Andy to be so down to earth and approachable. When Aero sent my repaired ’stich to the Green Bay packers instead of to me in Oregon, Andy babysat the situation personally until I got my jacket back. By the way, Andy, how has rollerskating a few blocks to work in the snow gone?

    Dan

  2. Burt Kaufman Says:

    Call it “Happy Motoring”. You seem to be a positive, upbeat kind of guy. And its a phrase that resonates with people of a certain age, heh.

  3. Tiff Says:

    “These were the days before mandatory child restraints. It’s a wonder we all lived through that, isn’t it?”

    We all lived through it because our parents took responsibility for their, and our, safety. People are forgetting the trick is not to crash safely, but to not crash - helmets, armour, backproctectors etc all have their place, but they should be a last resort and in my humble but slightly controversial opintion, optional. The other option the authorities are pushing is not to go out at all, but to stay in front of the TV on that nice, safe, comfy couch. And die of boredom/heart desease. I could rant on this all day.

  4. mnscooter Says:

    Burt, you have made the first official entry. You can enter as often as you like, and I tell you that because a google search of “Happy Motoring” returned 1.89M hits. We are going to try to be a bit more original than that.

    Tiff, you are preaching to the choir here. Did the sarcasm filter catch me out again? I can picture this in my mind as though it were yesterday…

    Dad lounging behind the wheel, steering with one hand that also held a cigarette, with his other arm around Mom’s shoulders. Weren’t bench seats a wonderful thing?

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  5. Chewy Says:

    Perhaps “The Wind Chronicles”. A few uf us (myself not included) still have a lot of hair for it to blow through.

    Good luck.

    By the way, you never win an argument with the wife. I am married 40 years this year, and I learned it a long time ago. No use wasting that half hour!

  6. Burt Kaufman Says:

    “UP on two wheels”? I guess Happy Motoring as an oil company advertising slogan was a bit obvious.

  7. Ron Johnston Says:

    My suggestion: “Two Wheels Across the Twin Cities” with or with out the “the”.

    cheers

  8. Scootin_in_MS Says:

    How about “The Existential Scooterist” or “Existential Scootering”

  9. mnscooter Says:

    This is a good start. I like the way you folks are thinking. Remember, however, that I will not always be on a scooter. Some days I need the sheer tactical brilliance of my KLR “Frogwing”.

    If you want to do some research into my previous writings, here are some links:

    http://www.motorbyte.com/mmm/pages/archives/diaryarchives.htm

    http://www.motorbyte.com/mmm/pages/cafe/cafemain.htm

    That may give you some clues as to what trips my trigger.

    Good luck, and…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  10. Paul Streeter Says:

    Gary, I have a couple of suggestions:

    Diary of a Rush Hour Rambler,

    or,

    Ramblings of a Rush Hour Rider

    Paul

  11. Steve Williams Says:

    WaHoo! A contest!!!

    I have several ideas based on your riding, writing, experience….

    “The Compleat Rider” (don’t go fixin no spellin)

    “Rolling Passion”

    “The Considered Ride”

    “The Uncanny Ride”

    “Riding Towards Life”

    “Defying Existential Gravity”

    “A Life Well Ridden”

    “Riding Through Life”

    and finally (for now)

    “Dreaming of the Road”

    Anyways, those are the ones that came to mind as I thought about your work. I dismissed “Warning–Crazy Man” and “Something’s Not Right with this Guy” *grin*

    Good luck,

    steve

  12. Eric Says:

    Hey Gary, how about “Commuting with the Urban Guerrilla - Getting lost to find yourself” or “The Urban Guerrilla Rides Again”. Maybe a little bit cheesy, but i had to make a couple attempts before going to work today!

    By the way, that’s a great picture in front of the streetlight. And I can’t help but smile with the way you described those childhood memories.

    Keep writing and riding my friend,

    Eric

  13. Seagullplayer Says:

    “The proactive commuter’s Journal”

    Glad your wife is feeling well enough to fight with ya.

    Rubber down.

  14. Mad Says:

    Low impact commuting.

    Hmmm I shall ponder further, Oh by the way a friend of mine in the States is thinking of buying a KLR.

  15. Steve Williams Says:

    Forgot to comment on the photograph. It really does reflect that pre-dawn feel. The light, the glow of the lights, everything is quiet and serene. I like it.

    Making riding photos is difficult to do. I’ve struggled to take the time to do it. I hope eventually it becomes a transparent process.

    steve

  16. Tony Canadario Says:

    “A ride for all seasons” not original but appropriate.

    Regards

    TC

  17. mnscooter Says:

    This is all good stuff. Please keep submitting ideas as you get them. Post them in the latest entry’s comments section. I will post a Contest Reminder every few days, so we get the widest possible participation.

    Thanks, and…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  18. Bob Ludwig Says:

    Blog name: Motor Dancer

    - Dancing Bob, who has lurked here all winter … thanks.

  19. Rob Tsou Says:

    How about “The Twin Cities’ Urbane Gorilla”?

    Big ups to your blog, my scooter is definitely coming out of hibernation.

    Rob

  20. mnscooter Says:

    Bob and Rob, your entries are duly noted. Thanks for writing.

    Now, get out there and…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  21. primadogga Says:

    How ’bout:
    “Scoot Commute” (”Scooter Commuter”?)
    “MN Motor Masochism” (or Madness or Mayhem)
    (sorry, but alliteration and rhymes are irresistible)
    or…
    “the Anti-Commute”
    “Commutativity”
    “Two Wheeled Therapy”
    “Travels with (Not)Harley” (with apologies to Steinbeck)
    “Zen and the Art of Scooter (+/orSanity) Maintenance”
    “Twin City Transits”
    “Twin (City S)peaks”
    “North Star Scooter Commuter”
    “10,000 Lakes, Two Wheels”
    Sorry - been a long year already…

  22. Mel M. Says:

    Gary,

    My suggestion for what it’s worth “While On The Way to Work”.

    Mel

  23. Tim Schaeffer Says:

    How about….

    Frogwing “Gonzostyle”
    Commuting Gonzostyle
    Riding the Frog “Gonzostyle”

    I know you are a Hunter S Thompson fan and even though I have never read any of his works, I read his style of writing is Gonzo. Also anyone that would ride a scooter in the winter and write about it is by definition is Gonzo, see following definition. Gonzo also pertains to when a writer cannot remove himself from the subject he investigates.

    Tim

  24. Marshal Says:

    Here goes my suggestion…….. “Prose and Corners”

http://www.ridetowork.org/baroninwinterply