Showing posts with label rain gear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rain gear. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Secure your helmet

Eventually you will want to park your bike somewhere, and not want to schlep your helmet along for your stroll.

If you wear a half helmet or perhaps a three-quarter helmet, and if your pet carrier or top case are relatively empty, you can store your helmet there and it will be out of sight, protected from the elements, and reasonably secure.

If your helmet doesn't fit there, you'll need another strategy.  Then again, maybe your helmet would fit there, but, like me, you carry other stuff in those places (rain suit, tool kit, portable air compressor, locks, digital camera, Sham-Wow, RAM mount accessories, monocular spy scope, ear plugs, flattened beer can (indispensable for soft ground to support the stand), air pressure gauge, Iphone charging cable, bungee net, GPS unit, re-usable shopping bags, sunglasses, velcro strap to compress the rear brake when the tire needs air, Icon waterproof gauntlets, and other sundries), and then you won't have room for a helmet, or much other stuff.

Sheesh, I sure do carry a lot of stuff.  I'll have to have another listen to George Carlin's inspirational riff on 'stuff'.

You could just lock your helmet to the back wheel, like these brave souls do (I don't know them, I just parked next to them at the mall).
One plus of this strategy is that if a thief takes your scoot, those helmets will smack his leg with each turn of the stolen wheel.

But sitting on the ground like that seems a little inelegant, not to mention that you might get an earful of ants and spiders when you pop your lid back on.

If your helmet strap closes with a double D-ring, like a horse saddle cinch, Vespa's got you covered.  It's easy to overlook this tiny feature under the saddle, just at the lip of the pet carrier, on the starboard side, at one'clock.

If you still can't spot it, this picture may well be worth a thousand more words.
Once you close the saddle, the helmet hangs securely from the chin strap.
You might think that the strategies I've covered so far are the only ones you'll need to secure your helmet.

Well, if your helmet is a full-face helmet, and if it has a nice ratchet closure, like mine, then you're still out of luck.

So what do I do?

I'm glad you asked.  It took me a while to figure it out.

I picked up a short cable lock at the Montreal Harley Davidson + BMW dealer.
I close the chin-guard on my Nolan N102 helmet, thread the cable lock though the visor opening, pass the cable through the grab rail, and close the lock.  I lower the visor, then sit the helmet down on the saddle, up against the topcase.
The nice thing about this strategy is that if it rains while you're off running errands, the inside of the helmet stays nice and dry.

Wait! You say you have an open-face helmet with a ratchet closure?  You're still not out of luck.  You need to get a T-bar thingy specially made for the Nolan ratchet closure helmet.  You thread it through the ratchet, then slip the hole on the T-bar onto the under-seat helmet hook, and close the seat.

There you have it, six sure-fire strategies for securing your helmet, before you set off for a walk in the park.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tough week

Last week was quite a week, with a fair amount to share, but no time to share it here.

Better late than not at all.

My route along the lakeshore continued to offer one soul-refreshing view after another. The week was a tough one at the office with major personal challenges as well.

At times like that, the serenity of riding the scooter along one of the most scenic drives on the island provides needed relief from the pressures felt elsewhere.Last Tuesday I rode down to Old Montreal for a bowl of clam chowder and a lobster roll at Muvbox. Muvbox is beginning its summer season down by the last lock on the Lachine Canal that connects the canal to the downtown harbour. What makes Muvbox special is that it's a self-contained lobster shack that transforms out of a shipping container. It's solar powered and off the grid. Plus the lobster fresh from the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St-Lawrence is a treat that kicks off the summer season in a very pleasant way.
Moving on to the more technical side of the scooter commute, Thursday morning brought the threat of rain.

The rain only really started in earnest once I was downtown. Riding the Vespa in a downpour is nothing like any other rain experience I have had.

I've had plenty of experience riding bicycles in the rain. On a bicycle you become one with the rain. You get absolutely drenched to the point where you can't really get any wetter.

On the scooter, with proper rain gear and a full face helmet, it's the reverse. You're in the rain, it's all around you, it's running down you in every direction, but you're perfectly dry and comfortable.On a bicycle I merge with the rain. On the scooter I am in the rain but I travel through it, observing it, feeling it, hearing it, being in the middle of it, yet remaining completely separate from it.

It's not really a better way to experience the rain on two wheels, it's just completely different.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mercier bridge

Today I paused to enjoy a banana breakfast in the Lachine Canal park. I had never been to the park before. I always thought that it was just a marina.

The park is on a long spit that juts into Lake St-Louis at the mouth of the Lachine Canal. It turns out that the marina is on a similar spit just a little to the north of the park. The two spits are like spindly fingers reaching out into the lake. I stopped at the very end of the parking lot and perched on a large boulder to sip my hot tea and take in the view.

This vantage point offered a distant view of the Mercier bridge. The Mercier is the westernmost of the major bridges linking Montreal to the south shore of the St-Lawrence river. The Mercier bridge is the larger bridge in the background. The bridge in the foreground is a separate railway bridge. The commute home last night was accompanied by threatening weather and very strong winds. It took me an extra 10 or fifteen minutes to get into my rain suit before leaving but the effort was well worth while, even though I only had to ride through light occasional rain. The extra protection of the rain suit made the ride much more comfortable given the wind and a good drop in the temperature.

The Vespa LX150 performed very well in the stiff headwind. I had to open the throttle a little more to pace the traffic, but had no trouble keeping up my speed with power to spare.

The wind felt like a massive wall pressing against my upper body. I had never experienced anything quite like it. If I had to ride in strong wind conditions very often, a large windscreen would be a definite addition to my wish list.

In spite of the pressures, the Vespa felt very solid. It really is an excellent bike.

You will see that I added a Modern Vespa "MV" sticker to the topcase. I only joined the forum in October of last year. In that short time, I have learned that the forum provides a wealth of information, support and humor for anyone who owns a scooter, and Vespa owners in particular. The sticker is a small way to show my support and appreciation.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.