Saturday, March 31, 2007

Four-Glove Weather

ViragoAs I said earlier, Daughter Dearest now has her “real” driver’s license, and got Cousin Splat’s parking permit in return for taking him to school too (Big V took the keys). With The Boy out of school, I now (for the first time since the kids started school) am no longer responsible for getting the kids on the bus or dropping them off myself. Thus, I can a) sleep a little bit later; b) ride the motorcycle to work.

Besides making the commute a bit more enjoyable, there are a couple of other advantages to biking it: even as large a bike as a Virago 1100 gets 42 MPG without too much trouble, while I have to work to get 40 MPG out of the Civic. Then there are a couple of right turns where I have enough room to squeeze between a car wanting to go straight and the curb.

But one thing you have to do is get ready to ride. You can’t just jump on, start it, and go: without a shiny glass & metal cage around you, you have to wrap yourself in safety equipment — helmet, jacket, gloves, and decent boots at a minimum. I keep saying this is the year I’m going to get a riding suit, although I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds in the last year so it’s probably best that I put it off thus far. The wind chill on a bike with no windshield is amazing — even when it’s 80°F outside, you’re happy to be wearing that jacket once you get above 40MPH or so.

This time of year is what I call “four-glove weather.” In the mornings, it’s around 50°F or so, and you want the heavy gloves. (The alternative is not being able to type for an hour after you get to work.) On the way home, it’s 75°F and just the right temperature for well-ventilated summer gloves. A sweater is good, too; I can wear it in the morning and bungee it to the back rack in the afternoon.

The laptop rides in a courier bag. I let the shoulder strap out just enough to let the bag touch the seat; that helps keep it from moving around. The wind turbulence (and the weight) keeps it against my back pretty well.

So this is how I save gas and have fun at the same time.

5 comments:

  1. Hi FARfetched.

    I envy you on having a motorcycle. I always wanted one, but never could afford it. It's been 40 years since I had a motor scooter and I can remember enjoying all the riding I did on it. Maybe one day.

    Hope you and the Fetches are doing fine.

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  2. Hey FM, it's great to see you amble back over this way! Yeah, we're doing fine — I'm about to fall into bed & Mrs. Fetched is already there. Daughter Dearest is in Florida & The Boy is camping. Quiet!

    The way I see it, a bike is a dang site cheaper than a car, even after you spring for safety equipment. There are some sweet scooters out there these days; Vespa's back in the US, and Honda & Suzuki both have freeway-capable models.

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  3. I used to have my motorcycle license. Was very easy to get about on it too ... been a long time since I've ridden though :-)

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  4. Except during the winter, right O? ;-)

    Planet Georgia's riding season can be almost year-round if the winter is mild enough. I've found that the bike isn't too happy when colder than 27F, which is pretty much my own limit (even with layers under a snowmobile suit) too.

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  5. Yep ... then it's the snowmobile ... ;~)

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