This photograph is from a snow storm ride last March. Strangely, I enjoyed the challenge of it. And importantly, I wasn’t cold. But things change.
And it’s affecting my winter riding.
The scooter is willing but the rider is weak. Riding a Vespa scooter in winter isn’t rocket science. It’s just a matter of configuring the machine in a way to help accommodate the cold. Could mean a windscreen, Termoscud apron, winter tires, heated grips or any of a wide range to tricks and solutions to address the special circumstances encountered when you ride a Vespa scooter in winter.
Or a motorcycle or any other device or machine that exposes you to the elements.
That’s the easy part. I know how to do those things. And I have a pretty good handle on the mental stuff as well. All the subtle and not so subtle adjustments you have to make to your riding style. Or techniques you develop to deal with unexpected or sudden encounters with snow or ice.
Check. I’m good with that stuff.
But there’s one last thing that’s just killing me. I can’t get warm.
Seriously, I’m almost always cold. Not while riding. But in the house and out in the world doing the stuff you do on a day to day basis. My body can’t seem to shake the feeling of being cold unless I have the the heat blasting at 78F. A problem considering Kim would prefer the house to be a balmy 55F. And when I have that cold to the core feeling — that’s where I run the risk of developing Chilblains (a painful, pain in the ass condition) if I venture outside.
The definition of cold changes. My definition anyways. A month ago 38F was cold and required some mental gymnastics to get out on the road. Over time my mind and body becomes tempered to the lower temperatures. Paul Ruby and I took a nice ride through the late autumn countryside to Altoona for breakfast. Paul was approaching the limit of his cold weather riding on his BMW while I was just beginning the descent into cold weather riding.
Or so I thought.
I was doing well. Riding at 20F and down into the upper teens. Head was in a good place and was pleased how warm I got stay on the scooter with the new Termscud. Seemed like a fine season of winter riding was unfolding.
And then the temperature dropped and the wind started to blow. Really cold. The kind of cold that makes your hands dry out and bleed. And now I can’t get warm. And when that happens all bets are off in regard to riding. The dogs are lucky I go outside with them for a short time. And that’s suited for an excursion on the dark side of the moon.
I knew something was wrong when I started ordering hot soup at Duffy’s Tavern rather than chocolate cake. I’ve searched the medical literature for a differential diagnosis but so far it’s eluded me. But there’s something seriously, critically impaired by the cold. I want to ride. But I don’t want to ride.
Oh well. I can only hope it passes and is nothing more than an end of year rant.