Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slowpoke

A few posts ago, I was discussing the routes I take to commute to and from work. In that post I discussed the faster and fastest routes I take.

Before I began this adventure of riding a motor scooter to work as an alternative to more traditional means of commuting (click here to go the beginning), I found a route to get downtown that didn't involve any higher speed roads.

It's a reasonably direct route that's also one of the most scenic on the Island.

So much so, that from late spring, through summer and well into the fall, the portion of the route that follows the lake shore boasts a weekend parade of motorcycles, motor scooters, sports cars, vintage cars, bicycles, inline skates, skateboards, in fact any form of conveyance that in any way spells "fun".

Tonight that was the route I took for the ride home.

At this time of year, as my scooter commuting season draws slowly to a close, the scenic route is very different, particularly at night.

The sun has long set by the time I leave the office and roll out of the underground garage at 6:20 p.m. The air temperature is four degrees Celsius, 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

When I make it to the lake at around 6:50 p.m. it's dark, cold, and desolate, except for the occasional jogger or dog walker. The lake is defined by the lights along the shore. The distant lights on the far side of the lake twinkle and shimmer faintly in a bright line snaking along the horizon. Those on this side are bolder, more distinct, and set further apart. Here and there they reveal the shape of buildings and the features of parks along the route.

The lights are on in many of the houses I pass. Warm, cozy pools of light that give meaning to the word "home". Occasionally the aroma of a hardwood fire wafts past me on the way, conjuring a vision of an unseen hearth or wood burning stove.

Leaves litter the road here and there and I imagine some of them scattering in my wake. My arms feel cool as the cold slowly finds its way through the layers of my riding gear. My head and neck are warm, well protected by my full face helmet. I congratulate myself for getting the Corazzo Underhoody. Somehow it seals the gap between my collar and helmet. My legs and feet are warm and comfortable in my lined motorcycle pants and heavy hiking boots. My gauntlets seal my cuffs, but the assault of the fast-moving cold air still succeeds at chilling my fingers. I fantasize on and off about heated gloves or heated hand grips. The wide windshield that extends in front of the handgrips helps to ward off the cold air, but cold air is cold air, and the laws of thermodynamics are immutable.

Soon the commute ends as I hang a right onto my street and swoop left into the driveway. I pull off my right glove, reach into the pocket of my armored jacket and activate the garage door remote. The door rises and light spills onto the driveway, beckoning.

View route in a larger map
31.520 kilometers, or 19.586 miles, in just over 56 minutes.

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The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.