off your seat.
I ride a motorcycle to work. Nobody thinks anything about it when the weather is nice and the sun is shining. But let it get a little nippy and suddenly folks start to comment. I don’t ride the bike every day, but I will admit it takes something pretty dramatic to get me off it. And there was a time that I stubbornly rode through nasty weather to prove that I was a real biker.
But as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, better than half a century of living has taught me to save my pain for more important battles. I’m not going to hurt myself just to prove I’m tough enough to ride.
So why do I ride when the mercury drops? It doesn’t hurt. It may look impressive when I pull up on a frosty morn, but often as not I’m as warm or warmer than those folks dashing from their cars to the back door. I have good gear. My favorite coat is a Zoney jacket with armor in the elbows and back. It’s insulated and wind proof. Purchased when I thought a biker could only wear black, it actually soaks up a lot of solar energy. Even in very cold weather, I’ll overheat if the sun is shining and I’m not moving. My riding gloves come up to mid-forearm and keep air out of the cuffs. Finally, I live just 10 short blocks from work. I rarely hit 25 mph. The weather can be well below freezing and I’ll stay quite toasty. I find it amusing to stand there, well dressed and warm, listening to people not so well dressed and freezing as they dash from their car to the door tell me I must be cold.
If it’s raining as I leave for work I’ll take the pickup or Tahoe. But in 10 blocks, those big vehicles never have time to warm up. Except for keeping me dry, they’re no warmer than the bike would have been.
If it’s not raining when I leave for work I’ll take the bike, even if the forecast calls for rain later in the day. I do this all of the time and rarely actually ride home in the rain. Most of the time it will have either come and gone, or not be here yet as I head for home. That’s if it even rains at all. If there is a light rain as I leave, most of my gear is water resistant and will keep me dry for 10 easy blocks. I only remember one time when it really opened up and I had to wait out a deluge. And that was for less than 30 minutes.
I would just rather be on the bike than in the truck. For one thing, it just seems easier to ride. For another, I can park it close to the door in a special place too small for a car. If I take the car or pickup, I’ll have to park farther away, especially if I’m running late and the best parking spaces are taken before I get there. I don’t ride the bike because I’m tough and impervious to the weather. I ride it because I’ve gotten old, fat and lazy. It’s the path of least resistance.
As I came out this morning, I noticed frost on the seat. The temperature had fallen to 25 degrees. I had to scrape the frost off, otherwise body heat would have melted it and gotten my rear end wet. But I did think about going back inside and getting the full face helmet. But by now I was standing at the bike and I’d already locked the font door. I’d have to pull the keys out of the bike, unlock the front door and dig though the closet for the other helmet. Meh! The beard will keep me warm.
－ Guy Wheatley