This is the second year that December sees me still in the saddle. My last jaunt on the Vespa in 2015 was on the 8th of December.
On Thursday the first of the month I rode downtown for a fruitful meeting at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
The two young ladies staffing the entrance to the Varsity Field sports complex were not very helpful, didn't have a clue where the law faculty was (next door, kind of) and thought the only route was to walk all the way back to Devonshire, up to Bloor, over to Queen's Park and south to the Jackman building. Left to my own devices, I picked my way along footpaths as I sought a more direct diagonal route between my Vespa parked on Devonshire Place and the brand new home of the Bora Laskin law library on Queen's Park. Along the way I stumbled on this charming courtyard. Tell me this isn't the quintessential portrait of Ivy League or Oxbridge academe? This scene is what I think of when the University of Toronto comes to mind.
On the 7th it was time for Thunderbird (aka Black Betty), the Honda Shadow VT750 cruiser I share with Sonja, to get a full tank of gas and a decent dose of fuel treatment. If I hit the road on two wheels this winter it won't be on Thunderbird.
It is definitely not a winter riding machine. With the temperature hovering around 2C, the bike exhibited some known issues, and some new ones.
The turn indicator that was always a little balky and odd, decided that it was too cold to indicate left turns. Unless you wiggled and pressed it just so. So I focused on making only right turns.
Then I noticed that the air horn was down to one flute, and a wheezy one at that. I wonder... what the hell is up with that? Italian air horns work flawlessly on Italian bikes. Maybe it's the cold. Maybe it's the flames.
After the fuel stop, I headed a few kilometers further north to the Canadian Tire. It was sufficiently dark and frigid for people to give me strange looks. Oh well, yes folks, there's no snow and some badass cruiser riders are still on the road, OK?
I shouldn't really complain. The heated grips were nice and toasty, the bike started and ran like a champ. Oh right. Once the grips heat up, the super glue that came with the grips gives up its grip. I have to get in there with some proper high temp marine epoxy.
The next step is to haul some tools down to the parking garage and extract the battery so that I can set it up on a keeper in the den.
So much for a December ride on Thunderbird.
Today, December 22nd, I hit the road yet again.
Many of you know that Susan and I have a thing for coffee. With Christmas only hours away, and Andrew and Anuschka coming in tomorrow to spend the holidays with us, the festivities will begin in earnest. And that means topping up the coffee collection. Since we're down to one car, the choice was either to hop on the Vespa this afternoon and cruise over to Yorkdale Mall, or put that off till tomorrow and take the car.
Today or tomorrow. Vespa or beemer. I am alergic to procrastination, and addicted to my Vespa, so you know how this turned out.
It was three degrees but there was slush to be avoided in the right hand lanes, but who cares? Just look at the huge smile on my face as I headed to the 401 West on ramp off Yonge. By the way, did you know that Siri will bring up the front selfie camera if you ask nicely? It's a cool trick. It would be cool and useful too if only she would take your picture. Sheesh to all you Apple developers, that's a half measure if ever there was one. Samsung phones will take the picture if you say "cheese" (then catch fire... hey, no one's perfect).
The nice thing about the expressway is that you know there won't be any unexpected slush or ice in the lanes. I was the only person on two wheels.
I parked in the fancy underground parking at the Yorkdale Mall and got Costanza parking on P2. The only other person on two wheels was Yorkdale's modern take on "fashion Santa". Who knew Santa was a Harley hipster? He's a poser. I'm the real deal.
The Nespresso experience can be a little on the snooty side of upscale.
That's the image they're after. All George Clooney coaching Danny DeVito on how to pick up impossibly hot blondes. I must have passed the charm test because my sales person treated me to a delicious foam topped espresso and two, two perfect squares of chocolate delicately laced with sea salt.
Now that was excellent.
Icons of fashion and continental sophistication. Black scooter, dark chocolate and espresso. Vespa and Nespresso. Ahhhhhhhh!
Label me a snob if you must. In truth I fancy myself a down to earth nice guy. Like George Clooney.
Time to wrap this late December post.
Is this it for 2016? Perhaps. Perhaps not.