Saturday, December 13, 2014
Merry Christmas part II
Fog. The bane of the rider. A thick, wet, clammy-to-the-skin sensation. In warm seasons it can be refreshing. Somewhere in the forties though, fog can be debilitating. When it's in the valleys of country roads in the summer, passing through it can make one a feel rush like flying on two wheels. During the colder nights or after the "traditional" riding season has come to a close, it finds bare skin and teams up with it's evile brother Wind Chill. Think of frozen snakes crawling up your arms and around your neck but you can't do anything about them until you stop the bike.
There is no bad weather. Only bad clothing.
It's been warm here in Minnesota thus far this December. Enough so that I hear riders discussing whether to dig their machines out of the corners of garages and sheds.
"Ya know, the gravel to the pole barn is almost dry. If we get some sun it could clear enough lane to get the bike out of the yard..."
This is Minnesota. Normally, ice doesn't form and melt away after a day or two. It becomes thick and craggy after brief melting periods followed by heavy equipment tracks jamming it into ankle spraining immovable seasonal stone. Up here we chip away at it with hardened steel. We pressure steam it out of our gutters and buy special electrical line to heat our roofs so the stuff doesn't build up under shingles and slowly tear them from the wood underneath. Then we go snowmobiling.
This year has been warmer. I think I recall having heard a solitary snowmobile go by after the snow event we had which dumped a little over a foot of the white stuff on us. But that was a solid month past. Steady warmth since has given way to clearing roads. Now all we have to contend with is fog.
A young man inside me keeps asking the older guy if he still wants to ride, You know, like you used to. The other one, the one actually facing the younger one in the mirror reminds himself of the grey in his beard. The pictures of his wife and children reflected from the wall behind him.
These then are the questions: Can you enjoy the ride without mentally abandoning attentiveness? Will you forget to ride to the conditions? Will you prepare by dressing appropriately for those conditions? Is your bike, fresh out of dormancy, ready for a winter ride?
Lots to think about and an itch to scratch.