Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mid February Blues

You can pull a rabbit out of a hat but you can't predict when the spring will come. It doesn't matter how much you stare up at the sky and beg it to stop dumping snow where you live, February is one of those months which is completely unpredictable. Three days of warmth followed by three inches of snow. Bleah.

Now don't get me wrong, I like winter. My kids pile onto each other in the yard, covering themselves with white powder until it turns to slush and they get cold. Its fun to watch them romp. Before long I'm feeling icy wetness down my back too. It feels colder than it did when I was their age. Or maybe memories just get more pleasant with time.

Before long I'm looking at the sky again. Looking at the driveway, wondering how long before all the new snow will melt. Hoping the plows don't pour more rock salt on my scooter haunts anymore this winter.

February teases you. It turns up the heat for a few days then brings you snow squalls bearing gifts;


I think most scooterists are tougher than I am. My limit is in the upper twenties fahrenheit. I've seen more than a few scooters running happy well below that temp in the fall and I expect they'll be back out again once the roads are reasonably passable. Being that this is Minnesota, a few warm days usually melt most of the road snow but not all. And under that snow is ice. I'm not tall by anyone's stretch of imagination. I'm up (or down) to my limit on the LX just to reach the ground. Balls of my feet, maybe. When you can't adequately pad across slick surfaces, you wait for those surfaces to melt and evaporate. Rain is not snow. Puddles react the same whether they're deep or shallow. You just need to get to the surface underneath. Snow, on the other hand, can be treacherous in more than a few ways.

Its the reason I've got one of the bikes I wanted since I was a kid but not the other. Sportsters are low. Sportster Huggers are even lower. BMW R1200R's are not. Although I hear they can be lowered with kits provided by BMW itself, but the local dealer here has never had one set up that way for me to try.

Despite my paltry excuse for an excuse, I don't ride below the mid twenties. Maybe if I had heated riding gear things would be different. So far keeping the furnace stoked (eating a thick meal beforehand and stopping mid ride for another thick meal has been pretty good at keeping me sufficiently warm.

Last night's snowfall has made the roads dreck. Its probably into the teens on the mercury by now. Tonight everything will refreeze and become a different kind of dreck. And all this rider wants to do it ride.

I really want to believe the local weather forecasts but I don't know.

This is central Minnesota and its February.



Baron's Life said...

It's gotta be at least 30~40 Degrees for me to go riding. Otherwise it's just not confortable and then what would be the point?
Must be getting

American Scooterist Blog said...

Baron's Life, I think we all have our own personal limits and we're best served to recognize them and obey them. Meh, we're all getting older. But we don't have to get "old". haha Just remember, you're probably going to be out there riding long before the image worshippers.

Know what's great about scooters? The great weather protection in the rain.


irondad said...

I appreciate your helping me keep perspective. I beg for a cold, clear, Winter instead of rain. We had a week of snow but that was it. Today it's in the 40's and wet. At least I'm riding as your post helps me appreciate.

The other wonderful thing you've done is reframe my love of eating. I'm not stuffing my face, Honey, I'm keeping my furnace stoked!

Hang in there, warmer weather is literally around the corner.

American Scooterist Blog said...

Thanks Irondad. Every time I think we're coming toward warm weather, we get another four inches of snow followed by a day or two of sub zero temps.

This is all a dream and I'm really living inside the bottom of a slowly melting banana split.


Colin said...

I had to laugh at your BMW comments... isn't it always the case that the small guys are attracted to the large machines and the large guys are attracted to the smallest machines? Despite my 6'4", 300lb size, I ride a Ruckus, have lusted after a (classic) Austin Mini for years, and have acquired a Subaru Sambar. And just the other day, I committed to buy a Ninja from a friend, rather than finding something more suitable like a BMW GS or another big adventure bike. Always a circus bear...

American Scooterist Blog said...

Hi Colin,
Yeah the only big bike I ever wanted was an R-(displacement)-R series. I don't get it either. The whole thing with little people in larger than life vehicles.

I'm leaning toward taking the Duluth trip up with the group, hanging out for a bit then riding back per the route HecksAngel posted. later in the day. Or evening, I haven't decided. Just not posting it there as I don't want to swing anyone away from the intent of the camping aspect of the ride. They did a great job getting that deal set up and I don't want step in and be the second person saying I'm not staying the night. That stuff can snowball and I don't want that to happen.

You get my email?


Colin said...

Didn't get your email - did you send it to

Steve Williams said...

I have a semi-secret craving for a Sportster. I don't spread that around but I have always liked the way they looked (though not the way they rode). And I have a certain fascination with R series bikes. Like the 1981 BMW R80G/S. I can see myself on one of those.

I'm not so sure my furnace gets stoked after a big meal. When I am out riding in the cold and stop for a hearty breakfast I freeze when I get back on the scooter. All that blood rushing to my stomach to get rid of the salty, greasy goodness...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

American Scooterist Blog said...

Hi Steve,
Sportsters are two wheeled tractors there's no doubt about it. Ya either love em or hate em. But they are somewhat of an American icon. But those Beemers, man are they nice. Just wish I was longer in the inseam for the boxer engine, telelever front end and that reliable shaft drive.

And there's nothing better than a meal had during a ride. I'm going to post about that soon. Thanks Steve.