Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chilly, foggy rides

[caption id="attachment_719" align="alignright" width="327" caption=" calls it 'ice fog'"][/caption]

It's been cold the past few mornings as I rode into work. Yesterday and today were both foggy and below freezing. If you travel through it long enough, the fog freezes on the surfaces of your bike, face shield, and even on your gloves and jacket. The road surface was fairly dry, although it had a nice shine to it in my neighborhood as I first headed out. I took my time and rode cautiously, as as if it were raining (which it did three days ago).

In addition to the freezing fog, the stock battery on my 2007 V-Strom was finally due to be replaced. It served me well, 35,000 miles over 4 years (my bike's 4th birthday is a week from today) which is better than normal. I swung over to Yamaha Sports Plaza in Fairview, OR on my way home yesterday and bought a new gel battery for $87, then Steve, the service manager, installed it for me right there, free of charge. They not only sell Suzuki parts but their service techs are fully qualified and experienced Suzuki wrench-heads, some of whom worked for Action Motor Sports, the previous dealership where I bought my bike four years ago (in the same location). Although they didn't have a lot of people browsing the shiny new bikes in the showroom, Steve told me they are third in the world for Yamaha parts on-line. Way to go!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Commuting in the rain

It was 37 degrees and raining when I rode into work this morning, yet I was completely comfortable and actually enjoyed the ride. "There's no such thing as bad weather, only poor choices in clothing."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Late January local rides

I've had some time off of work and took the opportunity to get some long day rides under my belt. My first trip was up the Clackamas river road to Ripplebrook ranger station. Not wanting to turn back, I kept going up toward Lake Harriett. My intention was to keep riding toward Timothy Lake until snow or road conditions forced me to turn back. Unfortunately they had the road gated closed about a mile past Harriet and I had to turn around and head back.

[caption id="attachment_712" align="alignright" width="212" caption="Gated road to the back side of Timothy Lake"][/caption]

I veered off onto the gravel road to Lake Harriet and rode past a half dozen die-hard fishermen trying to catch brown trout at Harriet. Several looked at me funny but nodded in approval anyway as I rode past.

Two days later I took a jaunt south toward Stayton. I stopped at the Silver Creek Coffee House in Silverton for a mocha and chatted with Greg, the new owner. He had ridden a lot as a young man but now had too many other hobbies to afford a motorcycle (including working 7 days a week at his coffee shop). Warmed up, I continued south until I got to a crossroad with highway 214. I headed east on 214 and rode the loop past Silver Falls State Park which brought me back into Silverton. There was quite a bit of gravel on the road from recent freezes so I had to take it slow when riding through the park. I fueled up in Molalla on my way back home.

Between the two rides my bike was filthy but happy sitting in my garage. Riding this time of year usually involves cold temperatures and precipitation, so my bike tends to have a dull well-ridden look. I also have my outdoor water faucets turned off to prevent freezing so washing the bike is not an easy option.

In a product related note, I've been wearing a pair of Aerostich triple-digit glove covers during the colder rides lately. They work as advertised, keeping moisture away from my gloves underneath and adding warmth. A more accurate way to describe their function is they enable me to ride longer in the winter before my hands get cold -- which they eventually do no matter what.