Friday, 28 December 2007

What an idiot!

What an idiot!

When I took my dog for a walk this morning, and I saw the cyclist sloshing through the slush on the road. that was the thought that crossed my mind. How could anyone try to ride through that crap?

A few hours later, as I was scootering through a slushy road, I thought,

What an idiot!

When I woke up this morning, I really wanted to go for a ride today. I had new gloves, a balaclava and down vest that I wanted to try out in the cold weather. But the roads on my street were slushy and, being smart, I didn’t want to take any chances.

After lunch, however, thanks to good ol’ west coast rain the slush had all but gone in my neighbourhood and I had a change of heart.

I suited up with winter boots, rain pants, fleece sweater, down vest, waterproof jacket, balaclava, and new gloves. Then I headed out, taking a similar route to my Cold Ride a month ago. It was around 4° C. (about 40°F.) so it was a good test of my equipment.

I was warm - toasty in fact. The first half hour was great - warm and happy to be on my scooter after a long hiatus. Then, as I got closer to the Stave Dam, more and more slush was on the road. I thought, that’s OK, there’s still the tracks where cars have been driving.

As I approached the Stave dam, I stopped and assessed. The road was covered in slush at some places. At that point, I had to make a decision - press on, or return. I decided to carry on.

Luckily, I had been catching up on my SCTRCST podcasts the previous day and was listening to Dave Mangano interview Steve Williams of Scooter in the Sticks about his winter driving. Steve’s advice was to take things slow, especially around the curve and he also talked about riding the scooter like a bicycle. I took this advice to heart, using a bit of self-talk to slowly manoeuvre the slippery, hilly sections.

One thing, though - I was warm the whole time. My fingers were a bit cold but the rest of my body was warm and dry.

Although the ride through slush and even some snow caused a bit of white-knuckling, I was fine because I was taking things as slowly as I needed to and I wasn’t freezing. I realized that being really cold on previous trips affected my judgement - sometimes when I'm really cold I feel that I am in some sort of fugue state - but not today. I was warm and alert.

By the time I crossed the bridge that went over the Fraser River, I was in typical wet, rainy, sloshing weather that I am very happy to ride in. I warmed up my hands with a coffee at a gas station (after filling $4 worth of gas - compared to $45 or so for my car) and headed through Glen Valley towards Fort Langley.

I was successful in avoiding a lot of traffic and really enjoyed the ride. I stopped in Fort Langley for a latté and then took the Albion ferry back across the river.

Funnily enough, I was the only vehicle on two wheels for the first time since I’ve been taking the ferry with my scoot!

Back at home, I was quite happy to sit down and have a glass of wine - a lot different from jumping, shivering into a hot bath or shower like I have after previous rides. Except for the chilly fingertips, the ride was a warm success. Even if I was being a bit of an idiot...


Ed W said...

That 'fugue state' you described is likely cold induced fatigue. It can affect judgment much as alcohol does.

One big difference between riding a bicycle and riding a scooter or motorcycle is that a bicyclist is using his muscles and generating heat. A motor-driven rider simply has to dress warmly enough for the weather. I've done both, and frankly, I prefer riding a bicycle at low speeds in nasty conditions. There's less wind chill and I (usually) stay comfortably warm.

Joe said...

You're a lot more ballsy than I am to ride in the slush. I linked to your post with positive commentary.

Dave Dixon said...

Yeah, that feeling is not a good one - I think I've got that managed with my latest additions to my gear. When I ride my bike, I get that wonky feeling from running out of energy (bonking) but it's strange that on the scooter I can get a similar feeling even though I'm not working terrible hard. Mind you, I've discovered a whole new meaning to the word cold since I've started scootering!

I'm not trying to be ballsy, I'm just trying to be really careful when I get into a situation like I did the other day. I guess I'm learning to recognize dangers and act so I still have fun but live to blog about it!
Thanks for the post!

Heinz & Frenchie said...

Happy to hear that you got your ride! Your gear sounds quite nice & guess it is a real necessity in your area. Enjoyed the photos. So keep warm and wishing you lots of riding days in 2008. Happy New Year.

Steve Williams said...

Congratulations on your ride. Reading along and looking at the pictures brought back a lot of memories of my first rides in similar situations. Like me you are blessed with what seems like low traffic. That's a big plus for this kind of riding.

Stay safe out there and keep it slow!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Dave Dixon said...

heinz & frenchie
The gear sure was necessary for that day! I find the more I ride, the more I realize that you can really get cold on a scooter!

Low traffic made this trip a good challenge rather than a panic filled nightmare. I don't mind traffic on a nice day but certainly not on a day like that. And, yes, I have no problems keeping it slow!

Kuni from Tokyo said...

It's a nice story and real cool trial!
Recently I've got a leg cover or "scooter skirt" for mine and it works very well in the cold. I guess it's shiny item for riding in CANADA too. cheers!!

Dave Dixon said...


My legs are usually OK - it's my core that gets cold. I wonder if it makes a difference there.

I may be going out your way in March - my daughter is visiting Osaka on a school trip and I may meet up with her and show her around Tokyo!

Kuni said...

That's cool too!!
I wish we can meet up then!!
please keep in touch!

Dave Dixon said...

I'd love that! I'll be staying near Kinshicho station - anywhere near you?

Kunihiko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kunihiko said...

Yes I live near there. Kinshicho has been changed a lot these days - Tokyo city government redeveloped the town around there. I hope your favorite places still does exist...

anyway, my e-mail is "kuni403" + "" (for the spam prevention)

If you have something to search about Tokyo trip planning, let me help you!