Haze Grey Days

04 January, 2006 Temperature: 32 degrees F

It is January in Minnesota, and the sun has gone into hiding. The temperatures lately have been hovering around the freezing mark, and the hazy grey skies are bringing everyone’s spirits down after the highs of the holidays. Even the joy I find in riding a scooter when everyone else is driving has diminished somewhat, as the rides blur together into a daily (dare I say it?) routine. So, I think it is time to take care of a few administrative things, since I’m having a hard time finding something new and exciting to tell you.

For those of you who didn’t know, Andy Goldfine is the founder of Aerostich and RidetoWork.org. He has asked me to recruit other daily motorbike commuters, who would like to try blogging, to run their blogs here.

In Andy’s words:

These other blogs do not need to be on scooters or in winter or any other specific except that the riding being blogged is for the most part being done for utility transportation. The idea is that those looking for information about everyday riding would find several different perspectives at a ‘Ride to Work Blogspace’.

Use sstillwell@ridetowork.org as the contact reference. (Note: this would be Shane Stillwell, KLR-ist and web guru for RTW)

Also invite your readers to refer us to other daily rider type blogs they feel may be of value for the RTW site, and we will then contact them ourselves.

I think this is a wonderful idea. Personally, I would love to read more about other rider’s experiences using a motorbike for daily transportation. Too often we see people treat them as toys and/or status symbols, but we almost never hear from the daily motorcyclist. This is your time and place to shine.

On another note, the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show is coming to Minneapolis the first weekend in February (3rd through 5th). I plan to attend the show, and would encourage anyone who can get there to go too. Look for me at the Ride to Work booth, or wandering around drooling over motorbikes I can’t afford.

If you can’t make the date here in Minneapolis, make sure you check the schedule for dates and locations near you at:

http://www.cycleworld.com

Finally, tomorrow night is First Thursday, where the local hardcore riders gather at a pizza joint to kick tires and tell outrageous lies. During the regular season, this event is HUGE, with several hundred riders showing up, filling the streets for blocks around with motorbikes. Tomorrow night, I will be surprised to see more than a dozen. All you local riders, consider this a challenge: Surprise me.

Dulono’s Pizza is at Lake and Lyndale in uptown Minneapolis. Riders start showing up around 5pm.

On Friday, the sun is supposed to come out for awhile. That would be nice. But what if it doesn’t? After writing all this, I realize that the only way my commute can become routine is if I let it. If you have read this blog from the beginning, you know I’m not going to do that.

8 Responses to “Haze Grey Days”

  1. irondad Says:

    Gary,

    Sounds like you could use some cheer. I know there are days when I find that I am “just going through the motions” in these winter days. We have had record rains and flooding. ( 2nd worse since February of 1996 ). It is dark when I leave for work and dark when I go home. I find that I just sort of get on the “slab” and go. 88 miles a day of freeway riding isn’t real inspiring and I just think about when it will finally be light when I get off work and then I can hit my back-country roads on the way home. Days and days of dark and wet. The good news? We are primed for the “jewels”.

    Yesterday turned out dry. It was actually physically refreshing to be on the bike and feel the crispness of the air. And guess what? The sun came out for a little while!!! Around 11 am I took the bike out and just revelled in the feel of being alive and on the bike in the sun. I know that sounds corny but I am dead sure you know the feeling. Today it is dark and gloomy, again.

    Be of good cheer, you are primed for your own “jewel”!

    Dan

  2. Steve Williams Says:

    Give me just one 10 degree day, clear blue sky and an open road and I will be a new man. Right now I feel like I am in a gothic horror movie set.

    As far as BLOGS go, what we are missing is one that details the trials and tribulations of the SUV commuter who has to put up with all those bikes, buses and scooters. It is heart wrenching to think about spilled coffee or the difficulty in finding the right CD to play or juggling cell phone, coffee and breakfest biscuit while navigating the journey to work in a Range Rover.

    I really do pity those SUV commuters….

    steve

  3. Mad Says:

    Careful, it’s just when we decide it’s a boring commute and switch off that something will try to kill us! I was minding my own business today in traffic near work when the car in front of me decided to stop right next to a turn off. I assumed he was a moron trying to turn right and started to go round the other side of him. It was then that I realised he’d stopped to let a pedestrian cross in front of him (yeah that’s sensible, let’s stop the flow of traffic for that pedestrian). I braked hard (well, it’s rude to run over people) forgetting that my back tyre’s a bit *ahem* bald I stamped on the back too hard which resulted in a fun demonstration of fishtailing for the cars behind me. A little reminder to me not to be complacent … oh and to get new tyres :p

  4. mnscooter Says:

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the support.

    The next entry is going to be much better: Between First Thursday and recent conversations with brilliant friends concerning the nature of Existential Gravity, I have a lot to talk about.

    Dan, I definitely know how you felt during your brief, sunny recess.

    Steve, sorry man… this is RIDE to work, remember? Though I would probably get a lot of laughs out of such a rant.

    Hey Mad, thanks for the reminder. I have learned that lesson a bunch of times, though I should have only had to learn it once. Treat all drivers as either complete random idiots, or murderous psychopaths, and you have half a chance out there.

    “Tyres” are kind of important, aren’t they? Races are won or lost on them, lives are saved or lost on them, so yeah, it’s time for new rubber.

    I’ll be busy with scooter maintenance tonight, so you will have to wait until sometime on Saturday for the next entry. I’ll make it a long one. Stay tuned, and…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  5. Kurt Layman Says:

    mnscooter:
    Be of good cheer!
    Either the weather will brighten your spirits or a sudden jolt of sphincter clinching adrenaline will give you a new outlook on the pleasures of simple living. Ride well!

  6. Mad Says:

    “sphincter clenching adrenaline”

    Hahaha! That’s what I had…
    Gary I like to believe they’re all murderous psychopaths rather than morons. If I think they are actively trying to kill me I ride more defensively. :D

  7. mnscooter Says:

    Yeah, it’s kind of hard to get that pucker-mark out of the vinyl or leather, isn’t it? Been there, done that, paid the upholsterer…

    But Madders, if you are totally paranoid, sometimes you forget to wave at the little kiddies. That’s a mistake, because they are the next generation.

    The secret is to smile and wave and get them hooked on the idea of cool riders… Then they will defy their anal-retentive parents and become one of us! That’s a better revenge on their assinine parents than kicking their door in, and it’s legal to boot!

    Think, man, and…

    Ride well,
    =gc=

  8. Mad Says:

    That’s one of the things I love about my flip face lid, when kids look at you in traffic you can quickly flick the face up and stick your tongue out at ‘em! Gets ‘em every time.

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