What a difference a couple of days have brought to our weather! Thursday and Friday gave us a heavier dose of rain than we've had in a while. Bike parking that was full on Wednesday was barely occupied on Friday. More on that in a bit.
This is a bittersweet time of year for me. Things change on several levels. Hot temperatures are moderating. I don't know if it's global warming or whatever, but it feels like the weather changes are more abrupt. One day it will be 70 degrees (f) and the next 95 (f). There's no chance to gradually ramp up to it. Things go back to cold and wet just as quickly. I suffered through temperatures over a hundred degrees while teaching this summer. With about half a dozen classes still on the schedule, I know the chances of teaching in the cold rain are going to be pretty high!
Riding conditions are changing for the worse. At least for most riders, that is. For me, while undoubtedly being less comfortable than in summer, there's going to be more adventure. I'm sorry to pop anyone's balloon, but continued riding in ideal conditions gets boring for me. I'm a person who needs and thrives on challenges. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to know when I've got it good. Whatever. Call it what you will, but that's the way it is for me.
A lot of folks are exploring two wheels as an option to four. Allen Madding's blog had a post in late September referencing a link to a news story. The story said scooter sales were up 66% from this time last year. I believe it. Everywhere I go there's a scooter stashed somewhere nearby, it seems. Small displacement motorcycles are flying out of dealership showrooms. There's evidence like this photo from a post of mine this week.
The Great Sorting time is upon us, though. I sincerely hope that as many riders as possible will explore getting gear and skills that will tide them through the upcoming bad weather months. By the way, that scooter in the front of the picture has a decal proclaiming the presence of ABS on the thing. Cool, huh?
My wish is that these new arrivals to our world find even a part of the joy and satisfaction I've found on a motorcycle. Using a bike as primary transportation is enrichening way beyond the fuel savings. I really do want as many people as possible to experience these riches that extend to almost every aspect of life. Truly. At the same time, there's a part of me that takes a sort of evil pleasure in seeing the number of bikes slowly dwindle as the sunshine fades.
Check out this scene from two days after the first photo was taken. I snapped it with the camera phone so it's not as sharp as it could be. You'll get the point, though.
I rode back to OSU on Friday to man a booth that TEAM OREGON had during a campus fair. You can easily see Elvira in this photo as opposed to the previous picture. This time there were only the three bikes. The difference?
The rain came!
By the way, I saw Stacy, who works at OSU. Her of bolty.net fame. You should check out Stacy's October 3 post on adjusting bike headlights. It's practical advice. Sure beats my "in the middle of the night on a deserted dark road" method! Stacy and I have crossed paths fairly often recently. She's starting down the road to become an instructor. Stacy will be good as an instructor, I think. She's personable, bright, and has empathy for people. Anyway, as much as I enjoy her company, there's a slight problem. You see, as Stacy's gotten to know me better, her sense of awe is diminishing. Actually, she's even gotten to the point of harassing me! Is that any way to treat a Motorcycling God?
I was getting ready to leave the place where our booth was located. In preparation for the walk back to the bike I'd donned my riding gear, which included the Hi-Viz 'Stich. I distinctly remember some smart remark about how Stacy had seen my jacket from clear across the way. That's the point, isn't it? She also had riding gear adorning her body. Someone else was riding in the rain! Good for her!
Back to the task at hand.
It's probably just a selfish ego thing but I like being one of the few hardy souls out and about on a bike during bad weather. There's a certain elitism at work. It's a reverse peer pressure thing. You know the group I'm talking about. Instead of being one who has to "join" a group, I like being one of the few. Winter, even here in Oregon, is a great separator. If people choose not ride in the bad weather, I respect that. My own personal choice is to keep on going. I'm actually looking forward to Winter!
I'm a Road Warrior, after all. The peaceful season has been too short. I'm hungry for battle.
How are you all feeling about the upcoming Fall and Winter? I know what I'll hear from Conchscooter in Florida, of course. "Winter? What Winter?" That's ok. Michael's a tough guy in his own right. He doesn't have to ride a motorcycle in bad weather to prove it!
Miles and smiles,
P.S. I'm on the road for a few days this coming week, but I'm packing the laptop. Look for the next post where I'll answer the question posed by Unsure Bandit!