Thursday, October 31, 2013

Late October commute

It seems like just a short time ago that I went to a dealership north of the city to pick up my Vespa GTS.  That was the beginning of the 2013 season back in March.

Here I sit, looking at the dismal weather outside my office window.  The same diet of rain and fog is in store for the coming days. I know I won't be riding.  The temperatures are already dipping into sub-freezing digits; there has been frost on my Civic in the morning; I spotted a significant patch of ice mid-morning on the street outside the office earlier in the week.

None of these things bode well for commuting to work on a Vespa.

It's not that there isn't any joy in commuting in weather that's this cold.  Last night's commute was thoroughly enjoyable.

I sped westbound in the left lane along Autoroute 20.  It was 7:15 and the sun had set. The cold air blasted at my jacket, rippling the fabric along my arms.  I could feel the chill settling in, bit by bit.  Curious, I touched the button on my helmet communicator "Siri, what's the temperature?"  I said.  "It's currently four degrees Celsius" Siri replied.

The swing playlist resumed as I executed a little S swerve in my lane:  my way of expressing the joy of riding.  It's difficult for a non-rider to understand.  It's also a little routine that goes way back.  I remember doing the same thing and feeling pretty much the same satisfaction on my bicycle when I was a kid.

But now it's different.  There I was last night, cruising along at 110 km/h, listening to the Cherry Poppin Daddies' rendition of Dr. Bones, checking my mirrors, leaning into the turn as the highway veered left away from the airport exit.  It was just above freezing, I wasn't cold, I was chillin'.  I was rocking my Vespa home.  The GPS glowed brightly.  I didn't need it, it's just there so that I can tell how fast I'm really going.  I like the map shifting along as I ride.  It showed me the lake that was out of sight a mile or so to my left.

The ride ended, twenty-five minutes or so after it began.  One of the advantages of working late is that the traffic thins out.  As I rounded the corner I hit the button on the remote control dangling below the ignition.  The garage door rolled up.  I entered, glided to a stop, and hit the kill switch.

This could have been the last commute of 2013.


RichardM said...

You can activate Siri with a Sena? I'll have to try that.

Last commute of the year, eh? Or time for a sidecar...

SonjaM said...

I have stopped commuting with the change of daylight saving time. I don't like to commute in the dark, or at least one part should be in daylight… Temps have significantly dropped since last weekend, too. We had 1.5C yesterday morning. Time to mothball the bike… at least temporary.

Unknown said...


This would be the first year I have not insured all year otherwise I may have ridden. I will ride down to 4°c, after that I don't take a chance on ice on the roads

This morning it was 10°c but heavy rains forecast for later and all day tomorrow

Riding the Wet Coast

David Masse said...

Richard, you can do all types of things. "Siri read me my last message". Once she does that, you can dictate a reply. I exchanged text messages with Canajun on my way to meet him in Ottawa.

You can say "Siri, take me to the nearest McDonalds" which she will do.

"Playlist Blues" does just that. "Shuffle" leads to "OK, shuffling your music for you".

Amazing scratches the surface of endless possibilities.

Does she sometimes fail? Yes, indeed. But usually not.

"Siri, call my wife at home" is always effective.

David Masse said...

Oh well Sonja, it's part of the annual cycle (pardon the pun). At least it gives us time to dream of farkles, make Christmas lists, reminisce, twiddle with the little inner bits to make farkles work. Possibilities are endless.

It's also around this time of year that Bob is liable to call with one of his modest proposals.

David Masse said...

Similar here Bob. Except that yesterday and today are balmy temperature-wise but with rain in the am or in the pm.

Today we got heavy morning rain, followed by nice sunshine. All I want to do is ride home, but the black beast in the garage is a Civic not a Vespa. Sigh...

Trobairitz said...

I love it: "I wasn't cold, I was chillin'" Well said sir, well said.

David Masse said...

Aw shucks, thank you kindly!

VStar Lady said...

Good night, Good night ... til the temperatures and road conditions make it fun again ... 'Cause that's what it's all about right. Chillin!

Dave (MV fledermaus) said...

Still manageable here, but I'm never sure when the end is. It's been above freezing yet, but when I'm facing ice and salt, I'm definitely done. I've got cold weather gear down, so at least that's not a problem....I actually like the chill nipping at my thinly-protected areas. Not sure I'll like the darkness at the end of daylight savings time, but it's a short stretch out of town where it can be pitch black. More than likely, my last rides of the season will be on weekends where I can get daylight and above-freezing temps.....but then again, that's not commuting.

David Masse said...

Dave, I'd like to squeeze a few more commutes in, if at all possible. I just need to be absolutely sure that there won't be any precipitation during the day once I set out.

If I get that equation wrong, it's conceivable that my Vespa could be stuck in the garage at the office for a good long while.

David Masse said...

Amen Karen. I suppose the winter hiatus is ultimately a good thing because it gives us something special to look forward to.

Here's wishing you a pleasant winter riding break.

VStar Lady said...

Thanks David ... and here's hoping you get a few more rides in (today would have been a fine one 10 degrees and sunny!)

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