This photograph was made three years ago on a morning jaunt through the snow. It’s an activity I find challenging though I caution most to not follow. A lot of things can quickly go wrong. What strikes me when I look at this picture is how much I’ve changed. Where I was once jumping out of bed to get on the road early when it would snow, now I’m repeatedly hitting the snooze button on the iPhone alarm. And while the Heidenau K66 LT Snow-Tex tires were already mounted three years ago, today those tires are still in the attic.
I’ve not lost interest in riding. Rather, I find it more difficult to meet the physical and mental requirements essential to safely navigate a snowy world. My prognosis — a temporary state remedied by time and healing.
Until then, I’ll practice my assessments of the winter riding world.
I still walk out into the street before going on a ride in the snow. Testing the traction with a boot provides some insight into what I might find in the wider world. While not scientific or accurate, it helps ground my thoughts of the road ahead. On this morning, I left the Vespa scooter in the garage. Not so much because of the snow, but because my back was still bothering me enough that I didn’t want to chance needing to suddenly manage the weight of the scooter amidst a slip or slide.
Definitely not bad back activity.
No one was parked in the motorcycle spaces that I routinely use. The drive in proved the roads to be more treacherous that my boot test indicated. At one point approaching a traffic light at the bottom of a hill I began to slow and stop long before the intersection. The road had other ideas as the ABS and traction control on the Honda Fit came to life delivering a controlled slide to the edge of the intersection. The Vespa would have not fared as well.
A slow, careful walk along a slippery sidewalk was required to stay upright. I wished I had my walking stick along for more sure-footed travel. I find myself using the same scanning techniques and speed assessments while walking that I use while riding.
Like all good trips in the snow, this one ends somewhere to warm the body and spirit. I paused a moment to photograph the Christmas wreath before finding a place to sit and sip hot tea.
It was good I didn’t ride. The roads were far more slippery than I imagined. I’m careful to not overestimate my skill.
A quick update moving forward — I rode the scooter into town this morning. Temperature hovered at 24F. Some big patches of ice involved. Remained upright with the rubber side down. But that was likely the last ride of 2016. More on that in upcoming posts…