Monday, February 14, 2011

Contemplating a Chilly Commute

Pancho is at the shop with a clutch problem, so I'm riding Y.T. to work this morning. That's not a problem, of course -- I rode Y.T. all the way from Orlando to Indianapolis a couple of years ago -- but when I came downstairs to lube her chain I was surprised and mildly bemused to see this:

. . . Frost completely covering Y.T.'s seat! Now, I fully realize that right now Northern riders who are buried under six feet of snow are snorting in disgust and scornfully shaking their heads, muttering with contempt and disdain about those wimpy-ass Florida riders. BUT! I would just like to point out that even modestly cool conditions can get pretty darn uncomfortable on a 23-mile ride (much of which is on highways) when you're not prepared for it. So as soon as I finish this blog post I'm going to bundle myself in multiple layers (including the all-important balaclava and double neck warmers) and hit the road.

This is a sharp reminder of one critical consideration for our Big Ride: cold weather gear.

One thing I learned (painfully) on my ride to South Dakota was that no matter how many warm layers you pile on, there is simply no substitute for active heating once the temperature drops below about 40 and/or you're on the open road for hours at a time. So I think Trish and I will have to seriously consider upgrading to electrics before that point.

Living and riding in Florida means that I have been able to get away without electric socks, an electric vest, heated handgrips or a heated seat for all these years. I have, however, regretted and bemoaned the lack of those things on the coldest days -- rare though they may be. Does anybody have any particular advice or recommendations regarding electrics? I'm leaning very strongly towards gear with rechargeable batteries simply because (A) I don't want to do wiring work on the Suzuki and (B) I'm not sure the little Honda's alternator could handle the load.

Definitely one more thing we'll have to figure out before the Big Ride, assuming we decide to go northward instead of westward.

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