Monday, November 10, 2014

Cold weather commute

Though a large swath of Ontario is writhing in winter's grip with snow falling, we are in a high pressure zone that's keeping us Grinch-grey rather than Santa-white.

This morning I was dithering.

Ride, or drive?  Drive.

Drive, or ride? Ride!

I flipped and flopped, and was still hesitant as I made my way from the shower to the closet.

Ride it is (or was).

No regrets at all.

The temperature was acceptable at five degrees Celsius.  I dialed a little more heat to the grips, inflated the sagging right batten on the Termoscud, and headed out.

I opted for a nostalgic ride along the quiet lakeshore route and then along the Lachine Canal to the downtown core.  It seemed appropriate since this could be the last commute of the 2014 season, to take the same route as the very first scoot commute in 2010.  I didn't spot any other PTWs on the way in.

I wrapped up the commute in my usual spot on P3 in the parking garage.  Removing my right gauntlet I lifted the flap concealing the ignition switch and reached inside the Termoscud where the temperature was all warm and cozy.  What a marvelous invention that thing is.  I'm almost used to riding with it.

The Termoscud has a reverse bib-like appendage that you are supposed to close your riding jacket over.  It's a cumbersome thing to do and lately I've discovered that if I just fold the bib away under the apron there is no appreciable change in the way the Termoscud performs.  That's what you call the benefit of experience.  If every day through the winter were like today, I'd be a 'rounder'.

I would have loved to throw some pictures in, but my iPhone is nearing the end of its useful life, and the battery dies when the phone is exposed to the cold.

It's not as hardy as the Vespa and I.

23 comments:

  1. Fortune (almost always) favours the bold. Canadian air it turns out is colder than the US stuff and I would be grateful were you to keep it to yourself. Too much of it is leaking south.

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    1. I'll do my level best, and I'll try to be bold about it.

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  2. Above freezing is good. And who knows how many more commute days there are?

    I had thought that maybe you may be right in the middle of that storm...

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    1. We're in some kind of reprieve. Zero this morning but double digits later today, no rain forecast either.

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  3. Anything above freezing isn't a question of riding unless I need the car for some reason. Dithering comes below freezing only if there is precipitation involved that could create persistent slippery conditions.

    You must me a hardy soul to use a Thermoscud. I rode one time with one and it was so maddening that I swore I would never use one again. That was years ago and I've remained faithful to that vow.

    And you have implied you have a sense of style that kind of drives you -- how do you rationaiize that lovely fashion statement??? *grin*

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

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    1. Let's see, the Termoscud is a complicated thing.

      First off it's a really good design for the Vespa. It fits well, traps heat from the radiators brilliantly, and looks as good as can be managed.


      Mine came with the bike. I wouldn't have bought it.

      It certainly takes getting used to. Mounting is a chore if you use the bib feature. Otherwise it's just a little awkward.

      Once you're on the bike it doesn't interfere with the ride one bit. And it keeps you warm, in jeans. That means that once I'm off the bike I'm more comfortable than when I would swish-swish-swish to my office in my overpants with the liners in.

      Looks wise on the scooter? I guess it makes me feel very Parisian. I'd say most bikes have them there, including a great many motorcycles.

      All in all, the more I use, the more I like it. Definitely an acquired taste though. Then again, so are Vespas, no?

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    2. I watched a YouTube video today that demonstrated the Termoscud. I'm not ready yet....

      On a related note, I just received a heated grips kit from Scooterwest.com. They are made by Koso. I've watched their install video and your detailed install post and am about ready to go.

      I did have one question about how hot they get -- I'm abandoning the Gerbing gloves and in place with have Tucano Urbano muffs and electric grips. Tell me I'm going to have warm hands!

      Steve Williams
      Scooter in the Sticks

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    3. Steve the combination of heated grips and muffs will have you wondering why you waited so long to go this route.

      Heated grips alone are nice, but not perfect. The combination will be heaven. Or so many have said on MV.

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  4. David, with this attitude you could certainly become a year-rounder in my neck of the wood. The thing to watch out for is high humidity and subsequent hoar frost making the tarmac slippery. It can be quite the dance in the morning... My commute is about 20 minutes so I won't need heated grips or this Thermoscud, which the Vespista call the pensionist's blanket ;-)

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    1. David, thanks for your gear posts -I just put on my new Termoscud and love it. I live in Nanaimo but am fairly cold blooded and have some highway riding on my commute. I am attempting to ride through the winter, or at least everything without snow.

      Sonja, your old purple friend is happily riding 5 days a week. =)

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    2. Sonja, I yearn to be a pensioner.

      The fact is I love to ride. Riding cold is painful, and dangerous. I would not, could not, go back to the pre-heated grips, pre-windscreen, pre-Termoscud, days.

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    3. Darby, welcome!

      I love hearing that I've helped someone.

      Here's wishing plenty of toasty rides!

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    4. Thanks! I've got grips,too. Despite my 20-25 min commute. Part of it is definitely mental...knowing that something WILL be warm.
      The tall windscreen makes a huge difference and I didn't even have to use your tutorial on cutting it down. =)

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    5. Hi Darby, great to hear that Paolo is being put to good use.

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  5. Ahhh, one more cozy ride. Let's hope you get a couple more in before old man winter set sin.

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    1. Thanks Brandy. Tomorrow's a car day. There may be more scoot commutes. Each one is a little slice of pleasure.

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  6. So David, how did you love today? Plus 14 here and I'm sure close to that where you are. Motorcycles and scooters were thick on the roads trying to capture the last warm day of the season!

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    1. We got 11 here.

      At lunch I rode to Mountain Equipment Coop and bought my first Christmas gifts.

      Blue sky, unseasonably warm weather, it was pretty sweet I have to say.

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  7. I have to admit I let out an involuntary groan upon reading that you'd been riding. Around here in southern Wisconsin we dodged the snow bullet, but it was too wet early in the week and now barely hit freezing for a high today. Grrr. Not giving up, there HAS to be one more rideable day. For me, I'll take a few degrees below freezing in the morning if it's dry. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Lady luck is smiling here. Today I ride.

      Just a tad above freezing (forecast 0C - +3C) and max 30% chance of precipitation.

      Hang in there Dave, there may be one or two left in your neck of the woods.

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  8. Ah, Dave, I smell an iPhone 6 or 6p coming to your house soon (?). If only I could go for the 6p - the screen is so huge compared to my older iPhone.

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  9. Michael, my phone is on a corporate plan and is due for replacement so yes, I'm hoping that's imminent.

    My iPad is also due, that might be more imminent.

    To be honest, I could stand to wean myself from the constant rush of information. There's living on the beach, then there's camping in the surf.

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    1. Looks like it will be a 5s. That's good enough for me.

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