By December 9, 2005

What winter?

The weather yesterday was cold but sunny, and while I wanted to ride my bike I got sidetracked doing other things. Bond and I were having lunch today with our friend Mr. Shush, whom we used to work with at another agency. I was determined to make the 12+ mile plus trip each way on my bike, despite it being overcast and cooler than yesterday. But what the hell, how could I let 34 degrees keep me from my longtime buddies?

I put on my thermal pants, a long sleeve tshirt (and then another tshirt on top of that), and my fleece jacket. I went to put on my leather riding pants, and the waist strap buckle (which was glued on!!) separated during the crucial gut-sucking-in phase. So I put on my knee and shin armor and threw my jeans on top of that. I wore my thin gloves and Held Ninja gloves, put on my balaclava mask, and I was off.

I have to say, 95% of me was warm and toasty. I expected my legs to be cold without my leather pants on, and I was wrong. My hands, however, were cold, and they made up for the otherwise warm jaunt. On the way out I thought I would take it easy with the speed, thinking that the wind chill on my paw-paws would be less if I went 70 or 75. My fingers, particularly my pinkies and my thumbs, were very cold by mile 3 or 4. I moved up to 80 and toughed out the last bit of my trip, wiggling my fingers while tucked down behind my aftermarket windshield.

The trip took about twenty minutes, door to door. By the time I got to our lunch my thumbs were so numb I couldn’t feel the chinstrap buckle on my helmet. I kept my glove liners on for a bit and eventually managed to get my helmet off. I kept my gloves on for a bit after I went inside. Bond and Mr. Shush were both amazed that I rode there, and Bond remarked (jokingly, I reckon) that I made the booth seem colder once I took my gear off. My helmet was icy to the touch. I quickly ordered a cup of coffee, and downed several during the course of our lunch.

I had a great time, but I was dreading the ride home. I asked Bond if there was a non-freeway way back home, and he said it was long, and somewhat complicated. I have to cross a river on the way back, and I imagined that’s where the bulk of the problems would be. So we decided it was probably best for me to take the freeway home again — and the sky had become even more overcast than when I rode in.

Instead of puttering back at 10 or so over, I decided to go as fast as I could to minimize exposure time. Sure, the windchill would be colder on my hands, but if I could shave a few minutes off my trip then I thought I would be better off. I averaged probably 85 on the way back, with a burst up in the 90s and a peak at 94MPH. I was a touch nervous and I even sweat a touch inside my cocoon of leather and fleece. But my hands were still cold as ice.

I don’t know if the trip back was shorter because I knew what to expect or because I was flying (maybe both), but my hands didn’t feel as bad when I got home. I think that if I had heated grips, I would totally ride again, and probably be fine to make an hour trip or longer without a stop for reheating. I may ride around town again, but it will probably be awhile before I get back on the freeway again.

Posted in: motorcycling

3 Comments on "What winter?"

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  1. jaine_parr says:

    I have heated grips and electric gloves both. The heated grips are only good down to about 40 degrees. Colder than that and I use my electric gloves. My record is 12 degrees, but since Ghwyenn is carbed, she hates cold and coughs and complains every inch of the way.

  2. drfaulken says:

    Welcome to Gibberish 🙂 I received a pair of heating elements that go under my grips this week and will install them once I get enough courage to take the gas tank off my bike. Can you believe that shiz — they put the battery underneath the gas tank on the FZ6!

    12 degrees is pretty damn cold — did you have any special gear for your feet?

  3. jaine_parr says:

    I use chemical toe warmers, wool socks and insulated hiking boots. Also LL Bean long undies, jeans, t-neck, flannel shirt, sweater, insulated overalls, leather jacket with thinsulate liner, vest with colors, wool scarf, full face helmet, doo rag, and electric gloves. It’s about 20-25 minutes to get dressed from the skin out. After a while, all the buckles, straps, buttons and zippers get to be a hassle. My hands are OK with the electric gloves, but I do not go long distances. 40 miles to the office and 40 miles home. That’s plenty.

    Umm, do you need the battery or the fusebox? My battery is visible, but it’s covered in chrome. My fuses are under the seat.