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Still 31 degrees and sunny

December 8, 2009
See, it's 31 degrees

The temperature readout had just stopped blinking (Orin O'Neill photos)

The Pacific Northwest continues to freeze its collective patootie off. But I needed to replenish the pantry, and I still don’t got no cage. And at two bucks a pop, riding the bus is a luxury.

Yes, it’s been cold, but unlike the other day, the GTS was not covered in a layer of ice. I’ll leave it to the UDub’s Rock Star Meteorologist, Cliff Mass, to explain why.

Ordinarily, I’d avoid riding in temperatures below 35°F. But that’s because I want to avoid the possibility of encountering ice on a bridge or a shady section of road. Humidity and dew points have been amazingly low, leaving everything bone dry. And any likely route is completely exposed to the sun, so the odds of running into a patch of ice were pretty long.

Protection from the cold is, therefore, the primary consideration.

Many colleagues in and out of the blogosphere are fans of scooter skirts. I’m not. Forgetting completely any aesthetic considerations, I’ve always been slightly bothered by the possibility of the skirt hanging up on something in a way that would prevent falling cleanly off the bike if that became necessary.

Others like electric gloves and/or jackets. These items are wired into the bike’s electrical system, and folks who use them tell me they work very well. Not only do my concerns about falling off the bike cleanly apply here, but I’m just not inclined to mess around with the electrical system of an Italian-made vehicle.

I find I can be quite comfortable with carefully chosen items of clothing. Thermal underwear, covered by fleece and topped off with a heavy jacket, does the trick nicely. A Buff® or balaclava keeps your head warm, and snowboarding gloves from REI do a great job keeping the hands warm.

In this case, the thermal underwear bottoms were packed somewhere I couldn’t remember, but the GTS’ legshield and the layer of warm air coming out of the radiator vents meant my legs were only slightly chilly.

The GTS fired up on the first hit, but this time I let it run for a minute before heading out. Making the trip to the Hollywood Fred Meyer would give the engine a chance to get completely up to temperature, and I was under no schedule constraints.

As I thought, not a trace of ice anywhere. If someone decided to, I dunno, wash their car, any ice resulting from that would be easy to spot, and avoid.

Traffic was light, and I was really happy to get out of the house. My helmet’s face shield wasn’t fogging up at all, a testament to the low humidity.

Upon arriving at Freddy’s I was disappointed the sample lady had closed up shop, but it was well past lunchtime. In her place was this display.

People can't make their own PB&Js?!

Are there really that many people out there who can’t spread something on a slice of bread? And does Fred Meyer really sell these for a buck and a half each when they’re not on sale?

This is a good day to pick up frozen stuff, I think as I push my cart (no more scooters, YAY!!) through the aisles. The frozen stuff should stay frozen on the trip home. Heck, the frozen stuff should stay frozen in the cart. The store’s pretty darn cold!

I have always resisted the urge to ask a grocery checker if I look to them like I have four arms. My 16 items have been divided up into five bags (yes, the evil plastic ones), with the gallon of milk standing alone. As I wheel the cart back to the motorcycle triangle, I strategize: the milk can go into the top case with the smallest of the bags; three of them can hang on the hook, and one will have to go sideways under the bungee net on the seat.

The GTS has company.

Grocery shopping on a Harley

As I was loading the groceries, the Harley rider showed up. If he bought anything, it fit into the Chrome® bag slung over his shoulder. As he mounted his bike, it was apparent he wasn’t worried about frostbite, or anything like that. His facial protection consisted of sunglasses and a wispy goatee.

He waved as he left, and a minute or so later, I was off as well. The temperature readout was urgently flashing *33°*. An inprovement, for sure. Favicon

  1. December 8, 2009 8:53 pm

    Well, peole may throw animals over fences in key west, but I’ve not seen pbj sandwiches for sale. Degrees of helplessness. I’ve not seen 31 degrees here either come to think. Long may it last.

  2. December 9, 2009 7:04 am

    I’m with you Orin on the clothing. I like to layer it up. The only thing I really fight is cold fingers, so I tend to not ride for great distances on cold days. Luckily my commute is only about 15 minutes. We are supposed to get down to 3 degrees F tonight and we had some ice yesterday so Max will stay in the garage for another day or two.

  3. December 11, 2009 4:19 pm

    I try to never think about falling off a bike, cleanly or not! Good to see you out and about again.

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