Joined: 03 May 2005
I set the alarm for 4:15am. I took the electric heating fan out to the garage and set it up blowing below the engine cowl.
I dressed (top: thermal undershirt, long-sleeve t-shirt, long-sleeve thermal shirt, zip-up hooded sweatshirt, pullover sweatshirt, jacket, parka. bottom: longjohns, cotton pants, flannel-lined jeans, lined windbreaker pants. feet: ankle socks, cotton socks, two pairs of wool socks, work boots, scarves wrapped and tied at ankles. hands: lycra cloves, wool gloves, 3M thinsulate-lined leather gloves, leather chopper mittens. head: pullover gaiter, tie-up gaiter, scarf, helmet.) and turned on the television to check the temperature. FIRST MISTAKE:the morning news doesn't come on until 5am. Too bad, I couldn't wait any longer.
The scoot started on the fifth kick. Of course, it didn't STAY running until the seventh. I let her run for five minutes before I opened the garage door and rolled the scoot out into the alley.
I rode up the alley to Talmadge and turned right. An old man was walking his dog and I honked my horn at him. SECOND MISTAKE:The horn button stuck and stayed on for about two minutes.
My plan was to just drive back and forth on Talmadge, which is a small, quiet, low-traffic street between E. Hennepin and Como. A trip between 27th and 17th is just over 6/10 of a mile, which meant I had to make about nine round trips and I'd be done. I went back and forth a few times when the train came.
THIRD MISTAKE:The BNSF railroad line runs through my neighborhood. 71 trains make the trip every 24 hours, which works out to about three an hour at the Talmadge grade crossing. I cut down to Como, rode underneath the trestle, and was back on my way. I got bored really quickly, though, and rather than just play Pong with myself, I decided "I can't believe how smooth the scoot is running, I'm going on a road trip!". I headed down Como to Randolph, south on Randolph to Energy Park, then made the fateful decision to take the Transitway.
The Transitway is a nice road connecting the U of M's Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses, and is reserved for busses, bikes, and emergency vehicles only. I figured that I should at the very least drive by Scooterville and pay my respects. I didn't think there would be any cops patrolling that early.
FOURTH MISTAKE:There were. Well, one, at least. I saw headlights coming my way, so I pulled off onto Westgate, thinking it was a bus that would pass. No such luck. I headed north to the dead end, figuring my best course of action would be to play dumb and lost. Luckily, it worked. Utilizing the street name memorization skills I gained in my past life as a courier, when the cop stopped and shined his spotlight at me, I rode up and had the following conversation:
Me: Hi, thanks for stopping! Is this Kasota?
Cop: What? No, this is the Transitway. You're not supposed to be on this road.
Me: Crap, where did I turn wrong? I'm supposed to take Kasota to Bridal Veil Circle, do you know where that is?
Cop: Where are you trying to get to?
Me: American Import Foods. It's my first day, it's a new job, and I'm going to be late. Shit, I don't know where I was supposed to turn! I was on Energy Park Drive and I turned on what I thought was Kasota, and I ended up here!
Cop: Energy Park turns into Kasota.
Cop: Here, follow me, I'll show you.
He drove back to Energy Park with me following, then pointed to the left. I waved to him, turned down Energy Park Drive, and took Kasota to 15th, 15th to Como, and Como home.
My hands weren't that cold, because my throttle doesn't snap back, so once up to speed, I could stick one hand under the other arm. I would alternate hands every couple minutes. My feet, however, were freezing. The steel-toe work boots were NOT the best idea. I turnd off the gas, closed the door, and went inside.
I went upstairs and shed my clothes. Amy was still asleep. Even though now I was in my 70 degree house, that's when I started shivering. I drew a bath (remembering my Boy Scout training, the water was lukewarm). I was going to go back downstairs to the kitchen and make some hot chocolate, but I started shivering so much I just sat in the tub with only an inch of water until it filled. I added some warm water every few minutes. I finally got out at 6:20, when Amy's alarm went off. I got into bed as she was getting out, and conked out immediately. I got up at 8am, and felt a little weak. I ate some cereal and went to work. In my car.
1963 Vespa VNB with newer Bajaj 2-stroke motor.
Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Longfellow, Minneapolis
433, clearly you want it more than me. Hats off, that's a hell of a story and a win-worthy entry. Really, the cop bit is enough to deserve you the win. Did he not ask why the hell you were on a *scooter* in this weather?
And yeah, it's always after you're *done* riding that the shivers start - don't know why that's true, but I've noticed it's always true. During the ride, it never seems *that* cold. I just hate the extreme pain in the hands as they get sensation back...
Joined: 03 May 2005
I think the cop was just pissed to have to roll down his window and talk to me. I'm glad he didn't ask for my driver's license, because I realized when I got to work later that I had left my wallet in my not-as-warm pants.
Super Secret Elite Scooter Club (membership: 1)
My hat's off to you. I don't do much below 32 degrees anymore. Ask someone around you after the ride, once you're changed out of the riding gear you wore for the ride, if you.. radiate.
My wife says I somehow manage to radiate very hot and very cold at the same time. Funny thing is I don't doubt her because that sensation explains best how my body feels as it tries to regulate back to livable ambient temps once I'm back in the house.
I think if the core is kept warm, we can handle more than we thought. Prime example is being sure no drafts come down the chin to the chest. Core's got to stay warm.
I'm thinkin' electric vest nowadays. Yeah, I'm a wuss.
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