Wednesday, January 18, 2006

No thread, today, just thoughts.

Hey, the blog name says "musings" so you've been warned!

Most of my entries are one day behind the actual events. Lately I have had a lot of evening meetings and I just don't get to it until the next day. It is amazing how much time this actually takes up. It's been fun, though. If you have been reading and just not offering comments, thanks for looking at it. Because I hoped to make this a community thing, it would be cool if everyone who is reading this could check in just once so I know you are out there. No pressure, I'd just like to make your internet acquaintance.

The ride in yesterday was actually fairly dry. It felt so good to hold my head up in the fresh air without being pelted by rain. I heard on the radio that the rainfall has broken a record. The highest one day total until now was in 1964 when we got 1.83 inches of rain. On Tuesday we got 2.4. It has rained 30 of the last 31 days and we have almost 20 inches on record in the last month.

Riding in the rain has its problems but most of mine are external. I'm comfortable, I just have to deal with the conditions. My gear is Aerostich. I know that the Ride to Work thing originated with Aero Design but that has nothing to do with my choice of gear. For years I was poorer than I am now and could not afford this gear. Now I wish I had scrimped and saved and done it sooner. This gear rocks! I have the Roadcrafter two-piece with the black pants and the Hi-Viz jacket. I bought the bib type option for the pants so I can wear them with other jackets. Last year a Darien joined the gang. Let me tell you, even though I have soaked the Roadcrafter through, NOTHING gets past the Darien. No rain, no cold, nothing. 'Stich gear lasts forever and wears like iron. That's one reason we had problems in the beginning with the ST when my wife got on and off the bike. Her Roadcrafter pants were so stiff to start with that she couldn't bend her leg! She had to throw the leg up in a wide arc to get it over the backrest and that did interesting things to my balancing of the bike. Talk about leverage to move the bike!

Two years ago I finally bought and electric vest. One day, Lon, the manager of Salem Honda BMW offered me his BMW F650 to ride and try out the ABS on. Since it was a cold morning he insisted that I also try his vest. I had always been hard core and spartan. Until then. After I bought my own vest I went back and told Lon that I both blessed and cursed him. Bless him for turning me on to the electric vest and curse him for tempting me into softening my hardcore image! The vest gets used when the temperature gets below thirty or so degrees. I tell myself that I do it because I am safer, not just trying to be more comfortable. I mean, how safe can you be if you are too cold to move much, right?

With the proper gear one can ride in both cold and rain and be warm and dry. If you have the desire the riding season can be much longer. I really prefer the full jacket and pants. I see folks out with their leather jackets and chaps. They look cool but suffer in practicality. After all, do you know where all the rain goes when they are sitting on the bike? Right to the part that the chaps don't cover. Maybe I'm just envious. I'm still in pretty good shape but gravity has done its job. Me in tightly fitting full leathers is just not a pretty picture anymore.

I am sure that one of the reasons a number of folks don't ride during the really rainy season is that clothing changes and dealing with soaked gear at the office become problematic. My circumstances have been such that there is usually a warehouse associated with my job and there is plenty of room to let gear drip dry. So far I have not had to "dress up" except once in a while so I can be more casual. Helmet hair becomes an issue at times, though. I take a shower in the morning before I leave and then put my helmet on shortly after that. My hair dries in interesting patterns, let me tell you. My wife came up with the perfect solution. She bought me a BMW t-shirt that says "Yes, I have a hair stylist, his name is Helmet". Of course, she bought me another one that says "What day is it and how did I end up in Alaska?" For years I had a bad habit of telling her I was going for a ride and calling her later telling her I was way far away. Now she comes with me so I have the best of both worlds.

The ride home was really nice. I had almost forgotten what it was like to look through a faceshield with no water on it. Dealing with the adverse conditions primes us to more thoroughly enjoy what I call the "jewels". Fortunately the ride was uneventful and allowed me to totally immerse myself in the joy. Never do I feel so good and alive as on the bike. I crave this feeling. In August 2004 I broke 5 bones in my right hand including that all important opposing digit, the thumb. For a month I could not ride a bike. I was told in no uncertain terms by my lovely partner to never, ever, again, say anything negative about a woman's mood swings during different times of the month. She said I had PMS ( parked motorcycle syndrome ) worse than anything she or any of her friends had ever seen or experienced.

I arrived home feeling cheerful and full of happy thoughts. Peter Pan, I have found my happy place!

1 comment:

Mad said...

That really is a huge amount of rain!

It's so true about the right gear making all the difference. I try and tell new riders this. When I've had the correct gear I've had brilliant rides in atrocious conditions. If you're dry and snug chances are you're riding well.

There is also the skills benefits of riding like we do in the worst weather: When the weather improves we are far less likely to be part of the "spring cull" of bikers who've locked away their bikes all winter