Scoot Commute

Slippy Slidy Icy

Posted in Buddy St. Tropez (Franz Biberkopf), Daily Commute by sbahn on 2011/01/03

Back to work today and the streets were dry. It was below 32F when I left the house so I was watching out for the infamous ‘black ice’. I have had more people than ever warn me about black ice like I’m an idiot and have never ridden in winter before. The daytime temps have been above 32F and the snow has been melting at a good clip. It even rained last night, and the temps dropped significantly overnight. It was 29F according to WRNI when I left the house this morning.

The Buddy needed gas so I decided to take my old route as it goes right by an easy-in easy-out station. This route has many stops and left and right turns compared to my new old route (Dean Street) which has finally been repaved, re-sidewalked and repainted.

I also decided to forgo the heated Gerbings gloves and try out the Christmas present I got for myself, a pair of Held Steves that newenough was blowing out in small sizes. The bar muffs were on and I thought my hands would be fine with no wind. Oh was I ever so wrong.

In less than a mile I thought my hands were going to fall off. Lesson One: don’t leave the heated gloves at home when it’s below freezing. It’s just plain stupid.

There were loads of frozen puddles along the route, but none of them were black. As I’m riding along thinking about stuff, which was probably not a good idea, I look down at the street and think, “Hmm, the street is white so I guess it would be white ice.” At almost every stop sign and turn, there was some sort of frozenness. I was being especially careful because my hands were so numb, but at the left turn onto Atwells from my cut-through by the big church, a car stopped to make a left in front of me but waved me on. I wasn’t yet in the frame of mind of turning and so the rear wheel went out from underneath me. “Whoaaaa!” I muttered as I straightened it up and completed the turn. “That was fun!” I thought.

I needed to make a right onto Eagle Street from Atwells just ahead and sat waiting for the red light to turn. As I’m sitting there thinking about how cold my hands were, the guy in front of me hangs up his phone, turns around and looks right at me. Well, at least I thought he was looking at me but he was actually checking on the little girl in a car seat. The seat was so tiny I could barely make it out.

The light turned green and I prepared to make the right. I took it way too wide and had to pull the handlebars quickly to the right to avoid hitting the opposite curb and sliding into the ice in the gutter. Lesson Two: concentrate on your riding, not the report you still need to finish. This time the front wheel wobbled and I let out another “Whoa!”

The last ice patch was in my usual parking spot on campus. Because I had the bar muffs on, I couldn’t see the kill switch so I left the scoot running as I coasted into my spot. I usually kill the engine, glide into the spot and pull a very glamorous step-off. This time the scoot got a bit squirrely as I attempted to hit the kill switch and caught a bit of throttle. Real graceful.

After all that, I didn’t stop for gas. So I have to ride home the same way. I hope it’s a bit warmer as my hands felt like they had been plunged into frozen lake water for 30 minutes.

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