Monday, October 18, 2010

October commutes

As the temperature falls riding a scooter requires a stronger constitution. The cold air is felt sharply wherever it manages to penetrate, or wherever the protection is thinnest.

I'm wearing a fleece under my Corazzo 5.0 jacket, which is fine protection for my upper body, and Combi ski mitts, which, so far, are keeping my hands reasonably comfortable. I can eliminate wind entering at the cuffs, but there is always a thin vulnerable point between my collar and my Nolan N102 helmet. Where the wind does penetrate, it is cutting and sharp. And even with the ski mitts, after an hour's commute, my fingers have begun to chill.

The fall weather increases the risk equation. Leaves litter the ground, accumulating by the side of the road. After a rainfall, the cars sometimes leave a layer of pulverized leaves on the pavement that can last for several days. Getting chilled tends to be distracting, and numbed fingers tucked into mitts are clumsier than warm fingers in motorcycle gloves.  Riding in the rain has definitely lost any allure it may once have had.

The weather alters the familiar scenes. There's no mistaking a fall sky at dawn.

Here are some pictures of Lake St-Louis snapped on last Wednesday's commute.
And here are some shots of a similar view taken this morning.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wrap up in sight

I can't believe that I started this adventure in March.  October is here, and Halloween will likely mark the end of my first season riding my Vespa LX150 scooter.

I have learned a lot these past 8 months.  March was spent getting ready, and the scoot commute began in earnest in April.  More than seven months on the road and just over four thousand miles, or more than 6,400 kilometres, covered in that short time.  Commuting really racks up those miles.

I'll most likely do a comprehensive "lessons learned" formal wrap up once the bike retires for the season to its little bay in my garage.
One of the things it took me a while to learn was how to store my laptop.  After trying to ride with the bag slung over my shoulder (uncomfortable for all but the shortest rides), months of using a bungee net to secure the laptop bag to the passenger seat which turns out to be a little tedious, but otherwise OK (but super tedious when you have to stop for gas), for the past several weeks I ride with the laptop secured on the parcel hook.  It just rests on the tunnel with more than enough weight on the hook to hold the bag very securely.  It's fast, convenient, secure.  I now ride with my heels on the passenger foot pegs.  This allows me to apply another thing I learned: posting over the many railroad level crossings that litter my commute.

Enough! Enough!

I'm stealing my own thunder, wasting my dry powder! Stay tuned for that mega season wrap up post! 

In the meantime, it's back to wearing a fleece under my Corazzo 5.0 jacket, and ski gloves on my hands.  The morning temperature is still in the high single digits (just below 50 Fahrenheit), but it will soon be down to freezing temps during the morning commute.

I haven't posted lately because I was on vacation the last two weeks having fun in Ogunquit Maine, Boston and Toronto.  Just two weeks ago it was 28 balmy degrees in Ogunquit, and 30 in Boston.  I saw Vespas everywhere I went, but by far the most Vespas were in Toronto.  During a 15 minute stroll downtown, I counted 12 Vespas.

That's it for now folks!
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.