It was a bracing morning. Perhaps too cold for a Vespa scooter rider. Could see the steam rising from the furnace vent, a sure sign that it was cold. As I pulled on my heavy winter boots the heavy frost on the car windshield was another reminder of the cold. At 1F I trudged along with the dogs wondering if I should take the Vespa for a ride.
There were reasons to venture out — blood tests for my next visit with the doctor, food, fuel for the Vespa. But the morning temperature was too low for my brain to negotiate a ride with my body.
By early afternoon it was a balmy 20 degrees — perfect for a little riding and errands. First stop was to pick up some MRI reports. The normally indifferent staff at the medical facility seemed to perk up a bit when I walked in with my flourescent green riding jacket with helmet in hand. When you ride in winter — people notice. Non-riders notice.
Before heading farther down the road I had to get some gas. The bright, late day sunlight illuminated the salt and grime so typical of Pennsylvania winters. A mess on the road. Worse on the body and frame of the scooter.
Pressing the starter button produced a weak, slow crank of the engine. No start. Once, twice and then finally on the third try the engine came to life. I always suspect the battery but this one is new. To be safe I’ll check the charge on my Anti-Gravity battery to make sure it’s ready for service should it be needed.
I really had no where to be. No place I wanted to go. So I turned away from town to assess yet again my riding limits with the gear at hand. Muffs, apron, heated grips, light gloves, winter jacket, jeans, long underwear, leather riding boots and lithium battery powered insoles.
If it were colder I could add electric gloves, insulated overpants and a few more layers of clothes.
Two things I noticed during the ride that are of concern in winter. The first was the glare of sunlight on some routes. With it shining in my face it’s nearly impossible to visually examine the road for obstacles of any sort let alone snow or ice patches. Don’t notice it as much at other times of the year.
That other thing was how the apron interferes with the easy use of the under-seat storage. Stopping often for photos you can’t prop the seat open because of the weight of the apron. A small annoyance but I did notice it.
That aside, I’m growing to love the Termoscud apron. It’s functionality. And the way it looks. Helps fuel the feeling I’m operating a two-wheeled Land Rover.
I always seem to be drawn to the forest routes. A little feel for wilderness. Or just a recognition of the slower, traffic free environments available. Whatever it is I return to it over and over again.
As the sun approached the horizon I headed toward my last stop before the deer began to emerge and the temperature started to drop. I’m convinced now that I can’t easily ride and stay warm at 20F. Even riding at 55mph. And I’m getting used to that temperature which will open the door to even colder riding soon.
Mind over matter and such. The stuff of a Vespa scooter rider.
I’ve moved from the porch to the bar. It’s a lot warmer in the bar. I’ve become the odd one sitting alone at a table eating rather than drinking, writing rather than talking, and generally hidden in the shadows. The way I like it. I’m glad Duffy’s is just down the street from home. A nice place to regroup and relax. And listen to the regulars discuss the sad state of support America provides its veterans, the new high school, the closing of the Rathskeller in State College, and a host of other topics.
I can learn things there. And get chocolate cake, chicken corn chowder and prime rib sandwiches.
Just another day in the life of a Vespa scooter rider.