It was snowing when I went to bed last night and I had no plans to ride today because I had to wear a coat and tie to work—not good riding clothes. I got up this morning and looked out at the road and saw it completely covered with snow and ice. The temperature was 19 degrees F. No riding today, I get my fancy clothes all sloshed up. If I had one of those Aerostich suits I could ride but certainly not in my dress clothes.
I remembered my foul weather sailing gear. Big bib overhauls, big coat, waterproof, I could wear that. Sure, there’s a plan. I can ride to work in the worst conditions so far. Great.
So I suit up, have my armored coat under the foul weather gear, take the scooter out of the garage and start it up, walk down to the road to test the surface, all the important steps. The road in mostly snow covered with a mix of packed snow and ice underneath—doesn’t look too bad.
I move onto the road slowly and test the rear brake, stops pretty well without much sliding so I’m all set. I come over a rise about 20 miles per hour and let off the throttle because I know there is a stop sign at the bottom of the hill. I see the sign but also wavy tire tracks from the cars that could not stop and one set going off the road. I put my feet down and gently apply the rear brake. All good—for a few seconds. I see it coming, the ice sheet with powdered snow ahead. I check the rear view mirror—nothing. When I hit the ice the rear wheel begins to slide left and the front wheel right. My foot is down on the ice as the scooter leans and I’m now a tripod sliding towards the stop sign. I hold everything in place until foot finally slips away and down I go. I turn or the scooter engine and get up and do what every good rider does first—look around to see if anyone has seen what a fool I am. Gratefully no one did and no other vehicles came along.
I pick up the scooter and give it a check and find no damage. Start it up and finish going down the hill, this time on the side of the road which is full of gravel and has traction. The rest of the trip is uneventful. The foul weather gear kept me dry and warm and the little fall to the pavement was well cushion with the armor in my shoulder area working just fine. The only injury occurring to my pride. I stopped another mile along to make a photograph of me in my new duds and to clear my visor. Seems the drop got my breathing quicker and was fogging things pretty fast.
So now I know what a 20mph drop feels like. Could I have avoided it? Probably. I could have been going slower, I could have run the stop sign to the bottom of the hill, or I can learn to hold the scooter better in those one-leg-down slides.