Spring is Here, and We Have a Winner!

20 March, 2006 Weather: Cloudy and un-Springlike, 36°F/ 2°C

It was so nice to get back on the scooter after driving the cage last Thursday and Friday. My knee feels about 90% now and my legs don’t hurt anymore.

Im Clean!The break was good for the Baron as well, I think. He started right up and idled fast, seeming to strain at his leash. Though his bodywork is battered, his heart is still beating as strong as ever. Duct tape took care of the cracks in the dash, and he looks like a combat veteran now.

So the Baron and I have made it all the way through to Spring. At least, that’s what the calendar tells me. Wow…

During a normal year, today would have been our last day together. But since we still have six to eight inches of snow on the ground, it looks like our tour of duty has been involuntarily extended. I don’t mind. There is no other motorbike that I would rather be riding in these conditions than this tried and true Red Baron.

The plan right now is to push on to the end of this week, and then take a look at the long-range forecast. If there is no snow predicted for the first part of April, then the Baron can retire with full honors.

Having said that, we still have to announce the winner of the “Name My Blog” contest. Can I get a drum roll please? Wait… not yet. Let’s do the honorable mentions first.

By the time I had reviewed all entries on Saturday, I had ten titles submitted by six different readers. Since I am a racing fan, I will construct an imaginary podium here and introduce the first three finishers in reverse order:

In third place, with an entry that was elegantly simple, was reader JS_011762 with “Ride Well”. This is how I sign all my replies to comments, and I don’t want to get too repetitive. Thanks all the same, JS.

Second place ran a really good race. It would have come in first, if I hadn’t taken the time to Google it. The San Francisco Chronicle, and SFGate.com, has something called “The Commuter Chronicles”, and I didn’t want to seem like I was plagiarizing anything currently playing on the web. Jim and Susan entered a whole bunch of different ideas, and it was fun sorting them out. That funky frog fixation at the beginning was quite humorous. Thanks for playing, Jim and Susan, you were very good sports.

In the end, I needed something that would fit the mission of Ride to Work dot org, and still reflect my penchant for wandering. Nobody nailed this, not exactly. But Paul Streeter came closest with his entry, “Diary of a Rush Hour Rambler”. It is to him that we award the $100 Aerostich / Rider’s Wearhouse gift certificate.

It’s not perfect, mind you, and in the interest of artistic license I am going to trim it a bit to fit my vision. I have written diaries as columns my whole journalistic career, so I’m not going to start up another one here. But rush hour is when I ride the most, and when I ride, I tend to ramble. Put me in front of a keyboard and an empty screen, and I ramble some more. Ramblin’ is a way of life for me, on most days, and it is while ramblin’ that I am happiest.

So, without further ado, (you can do that drum-roll now), I present the title to my next blog on Ridetowork.org:

“Rush Hour Rambling”

Good job, Paul. Enjoy that prize!


Tomorrow morning, at 6:15 in the a.m., the Baron and I are going to be on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, at the WCCO-TV studio once again.

They are going to do a follow-up to the story they aired at the beginning of this adventure. Kind of a, “Look folks! Would you believe they actually made it?”.

The photo you see at the beginning of this entry is the Baron outside of our do-it-yourself carwash, getting a bath before his last TV appearance. I put the front fender back on after we got home. I want him to look his best for the cameras.

I’m looking forward to answering their questions, whatever they may be. My message is a simple one:

“Are you a working class person who craves adventure, but you always seem a dollar short, or a day of vacation away from your dreams? The answer to this dilemma is simple. Buy yourself a motorbike and some good riding gear, for much less than you would spend on a car, and Ride To Work.

The adventure is waiting right outside your front door! “

10 Responses to “Spring is Here, and We Have a Winner!”

  1. Steve Williams Says:

    Sounds like a great title. Rambling is the best!

    I really like your simple message for the TV station. It’s true, there is adventure in the ride to work….


  2. Tiff Says:

    Congrats on making it through, to both of you. Good name for the blog. That is all.

  3. Mad Says:

    I like it and I look forward to reading it regularly :D

  4. Seagullplayer Says:

    Good name choice, fits you.
    Glad to see your going till the “real” end of winter whenever that is. We have pictures not all that long ago with the kids hunting Easter eggs in the snow. And we are in tropical Southern Indiana.
    Glad you made it. If the TV station has your report on the web I would love to see it.

    Rubber Down

  5. Paul Streeter Says:

    Fantastic, Thanks! I’m really looking forward to spending that $100 at Aerostich. My only problem is I’ll probably get carried away and spend way more.

    I agree, I like your message for the TV station.

    Good luck,


  6. 2strokebuzz » Blog Archive » The Baron in Spring Says:

    […] Believe it or not, Gary Charpentier’s Baron 150SX ran like a top all winter. I think Gary was even a bit surprised, what with naming his blog “The Baron in Winter.” So he ran a contest to re-name the blog. I won’t spoil the results, you can read about the name change here. […]

  7. Rob Tsou Says:

    I can’t wait to start reading it! Good name there, sir!


  8. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks everybody.

    I’ll check with the producer later today to see if that is going to be available. Usually the live stuff doesn’t get retained. My wife taped it on VHS this morning, so I’ll have to see if we can transfer that to a digital format.

    2strokebuzz, that is a cool website you have there. Thanks for the plug!

    The reason for the name change is because I am going to ride Frogwing, my KLR 650, a good bit during the regular riding season, and I’m not ruling out anything else.

    I will be riding a number of Baron and CF-Moto machines, and I may even take other bikes out for road testing from time to time. I won’t rule anything out, as I have published road tests on everything from crotch rockets to ground-shaking choppers in the past.

    My first post in “Rush Hour Rambling” will explain my riding philosophy in an essay I sent to Cycle World last year, when I applied for their Associate Editor position. They haven’t called me, so I’m pretty sure it’s safe to publish now.

    Blunch is over. Time to work now…

    Ride well,

  9. jim Says:

    Well, I’ll be. It never occurred to us to double check our entries by Googling. You just never know , do ya? Anyway …Congrats to Paul on the winning entry. So, Gary, as you start ‘rambling’ into your new blog…If you ever get to NW AR. to ride…Feel free to use our spare guest rooms and bath…and ‘ramble’ thru the Ozarks a bit. I can point you to…or lead you onto some great roads.

  10. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks Jim, both for being such a game competitor and for your offer of hospitality in the future. The Ozarks are on my short list of “Must Ride” locations in the next few years. This just moved it up a few places. I have friends who have ridden there, and they tell me wonderful stories.

    Ride well,

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