Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Cold

 Saturday was a work day. It didn't get very warm but the sun was sure shining. When I got home I decided to take the sportster for a ride. I was wearing a sweatshirt and threw on my riding jacket. As soon as I hit the hiway I knew I wasn't gonna be dressed warm enough if this ride lasted past sundown.
 Well as far as rides go, this one was ok. There was no destination or goal, just me and the bike going nowhere. By the time I was ready to head toward home the sun was dropping below the tree line. Crap. I had an hour ride in front of me but only a few minutes of the suns warming rays.
 I had been enjoying the rush of wind even though it was a bit cool. Now the wind has played a cruel trick on me and turned cold. How come when the wind is warm you don't really notice that it's everywhere. When it's cold you can feel its icy grip all over your body. It pushes and tugs at every seem  in your clothes and always finds a way in. Once in, it has a strange power over the body. It makes me tense up. When I say tense up I mean like muscle spasm tense. It seems my butt cheeks are taking a bite out of the foam seat of the bike. My neck and shoulder muscles are all crunched up to the point where I think the bottom of my helmet is actually sitting on my shoulders.
 It seems all this scrunching, tensing and foam biting doesn't do a damn thing. After a few minutes of this I realize what's happening and just relax. I exhale because it feels like I've been holding my breath and I just settle down. Despite the neck squeeze it seems my profile shortens about three inches. I feel the same amount of cold as I did before but I'm more comfortable. This only lasts a few miles and soon I find myself all tightened up again. I have a moment of clarity, relax and repeat the cycle.
  Usually on a bike you will find little warm pockets of air as you travel along. That's part of the great connection a biker makes with the environment. Not tonight.Without a windshield on the bike there is no way to beat the cold wind.  I'm not numb, I mean I can function all the controls of the bike although I'm sure not as quickly as I could if it were eighty degrees out here. So what's the deal? I start to imagine the cold chill is actually a warm flame. I think about how much heat would be radiating from those trees if they were on fire. That pain in my knees is actually a burning sensation from the heat rolling off the v-twin. The wind is a tropical breeze on a warm summer night. Tail lights are heat lamps warming me up as they pierce through the night.
 These head games go on for twenty miles until I roll into a small town. I think I'll check my bac pac for warmer gear. My cold fingers fumble with the zipper but I finally get it opened up. SCORE! I find my snowmobiling gloves hidden in there! There is also a balaclava stashed in the bottom of the bag but I would have to remove my helmet to put it on. Despite the warm tropical breeze in my head I decide to put on the heavy gloves but pass on the dickey.
 The next fifteen miles were kinda weird. The last pit stop must have refreshed me a bit. I was cold but not tensing up. I wasn't having to play tricks with my mind to function. I know it isn't any warmer out here. I think what got me through this leg of the journey was that fact that I remembered something I had done earlier in the day. I had turned on the heat in my workshop Saturday morning. I knew it would be seventy degrees when I got home and I was looking forward to thawing out.
 Despite the cold I would say it was still a good ride. A person learns a lot about themselves under these kinds of circumstances.
 Today I'm gonna put the liner in my riding jacket. It's no wonder I froze my ass last night.


  1. You nailed it! Cold is great for ice cream and for hearing about on the Weather Channel! Cool post It has been in the high 40's in the a.m. and the leather is out...
    Iron Vaquero

  2. Reminds me of days hiking in the cold on the AT.

  3. Scott--Three words....Heated Riding Gear. 'Nuff said. Bill Wood

  4. You're right Bill but my heated gear was the same place my jacket liner home. I guess my desire to ride was greater than my willingness to take time to pack for the trip.