The mind is stronger at the end of winter…
A storm approaches. Perhaps the biggest of the season and with it days without riding. Despite the cold, bleak day I wanted to ride. The 16F temperature when I awoke didn’t damper the desire to be on the road. The winter riding consciousness is in control and almost any weather now seems rideable.
Rideable. Is that even a word?
The road is a narrow gray thread moving through a white landscape. With the electric glove controller set to maximum the ride is warm and comfortable. Scanning the road for ice is constant yet strangely relaxing considering the obstacle it can suddenly create.
The heavy sky brings a dark, gray sheen to everything. The cold and snow combine into a perfect challenge to ride through.
Tomorrow this road will be covered in snow making it unlikely I’ll be riding. For now, I’m grateful for the cold days that I can ride. They’re beautiful and terrible but they don’t stand in the way of riding the Vespa scooter in winter. All I need do is gear up and go. The only hurdle is between my ears. A season of pushing to ride has honed my winter riding consciousness.
The ride today was perfect. Just a jaunt through familiar countryside. Not a care in the world.
It wasn’t until I was almost home that I ran into ice. And a lot of it. Snow had blown across the road the previous day and was converted to ice by the crushing force of so many cars and trucks. Walking across the ice to make the picture nearly put me on the ground. Creeping the scooter along the edge of the road took time because neither the scooter’s tires or my boots had any traction.
Ice on the road on the freezing days of winter is the biggest obstacle of winter riding. While I’ve never engaged a patch of ice like this at speed I can assume the result would be disastrous. And the only real way to prepare is to be going slow enough to stop before the meeting. And for the twisty roads that riders love to handle with speed and aggression would make short work of the day.
If you ride in winter you need to learn how to go slow. Just as many riders never really practice slow speed maneuvers on their bikes and scooters (that sub-5mph stuff) I’ve found many haven’t ever practiced going slow either. They have one tool in the toolbox — go fast. Stay home if you only have one tool — physically or temperamentally.
I wish I could say this is the last cold weather ride you’ll see on Scooter in the Sticks until October or November. But something tells me that winter is just getting started.