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...

Thursday 27 December 2007


Merry Christmas!

Just a quick entry to say that I’m finally feeling OK after a real nasty cold.

I missed a whole week of school which I hate to do - I haven’t missed that much time for several years. But, I think I’m getting smarter in my old age and thought that rest and relaxation would ensure that I wasn’t sick for Christmas. I was right!

After family dinners on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we went through the consumer orgy of Boxing Day. For our neighbours south of the border, I think it’s equivalent to your Black Friday in terms of sales. Boxing Day is a national holiday here in Canada and celebrated in many other commonwealth countries. It originally was a time for wealthier families to make a donation for the less fortunate in charity boxes. Now, it’s degenerated into a day (and sometimes, a week) where people can get the deal of a lifetime.

Only my eldest daughter was brave enough to venture out into the mobs. I spent the day fiddling with stuff that I got for Christmas.

Today, as the snow fell again, I contemplated my next ride. It’s been way too long and I am really anxious to get back on my scooter.

I received some new gloves in the mail a couple of weeks ago - they are warm and waterproof but I haven’t really put them to the test. In addition, I went out shopping today and bought a balaclava to keep my face warm and a down vest for my core.

Better prepared (I hope), I plan to scoot on out tomorrow, if the weather is not too cold and icy or snowy. Here’s hoping...

Tuesday 18 December 2007

Been a Long Time Since I Blogged and Rolled...

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. Too long.


So here’s the reasons why I haven’t made an entry for the last month....

1. School has been busy. I think I’ve mentioned this before. I’m teaching a split grade 6 and 7 class and it is a lot more work than a straight class. I’ve spent a lot more time this year marking and planning for two grades so I’ve really had to work at finding time for both riding and blogging.

2. I’ve been sick. Not deathly ill - just a couple of colds that have got into my chest. Makes me wonder if I was smart getting the flu shot. And, of course, like many other stupid teachers, I somehow feel that the students can only learn if I’m there. So then I’m exhausted when I get home and the cold lasts longer.... see where this is going?

3. School has been really busy. It seems like I spent weeks working on my report cards. They are onerous to complete at the best of time but our school is using a new, web-based system that should make things faster but, because we are piloting the system, takes a lot longer because of all the bugs.

4. The weather sucks. We’ve had way too many days of frost, black ice and snow in that last few weeks. I mean, come on, this is the west coast! I just don’t feel confident buzzing around on my Vespa when there’s snow on the road or big patches of black ice on residential streets.

5. School has been insanely busy. One of the events that parents look forward to, and some teachers dread, is the annual Christmas concert. Between being sick, teaching a split grade and doing report cards, I had to organize my group of 4 classes and get them to learn their songs, etc. in time for the Christmas concert that we presented three times.

Now, what am I going to do about these reasons?

1. I can’t change the fact that I’m teaching a split, but for some reason, the work load always seems to start to ease up after Christmas. Also, I’m trying some different things with another teacher that may make my life a little easier.

2. Right now I’m home. I’m intent on staying home until this thing has left my chest and I feel better. Hopefully, by Friday I’ll be back so I can at least say good bye to the kids until the holidays are over.

3. Report cards are done! Next term’s should go faster.

4. Cant’ do much about the weather, although it seems to have reverted back to the normal west coast of BC rain and gloom. Hurrah! I can ride in that! When I’m done my cold...

5. Christmas concert is over! Ho ho ho!

So, don’t give up on me - I do intend to keep blogging - I still have things to say... oh, and have a Merry Christmas - or Happy Hanukkah - or Joyful Kwanzaa - or whatever.