12.26.2006,1:02 PM
Frozen digits revisited
Whee and I took the new Widder vest and all the new wiring for a test ride Saturday. We wandered to Ponder again, meeting up with two fellow riders from the TWT forum. I pulled up twenty minutes late, my lunch companions waiting patiently. I barely had the kickstand down and exclaimed my joy at having a warm body on two wheels.

Since then, both wiring and vest have been tested in a chilly rain and a frigid morning; this morning. They passed with flying warmth.

I woke at 5 am, looked at the outside temperature and muttered an explative that I will avoid repeating here: 29 degrees F. I turned the light off and went back to bed, resetting the alarm for an hour later.

Reluctantly crawling out of bed at 6 am, I went through the morning ritual of coffee pot, breakfast and lunch, check email and then get dressed to ride the bike. I looked at the temp and yelled "What the F*&^!!!!" It was now 27 F.

I wore extra layers today and dug out the warm cushy wool boot socks. Whee didn't want to start; I had to push the electronic ignition twice. With a gentle roll on the throttle he reluctantly started a glutteral purr. I wore the balaclava under my helmet and realized the face opening needs some stretching. It's too small, especially with glasses on.

I dug out the 'waterproof, windproof, breathable' gloves. They're bulky and I don't like bulk on my hands, but I need them this morning. Situating myself on the bike, the vest cord plugged in and turned to '2', I rode around the house to get a feel for the gloves.

Okay, time to hit the road.

A few miles and my fingertips were cold. Five miles and the right fingers were halfway numb. Seven miles and they were completely numb. I knew I needed to stop and warm them up or lose all feeling and control of the throttle, and possibly suffer frostbite.

Pulling into a gas stop, I parked and dismounted, my right hand almost useless. Walking inside the clerk asked me if I was nuts riding in this cold. I reported that the only cold part of me was my fingers. They were numb.

Removing the gloves, I flexed my right hand and waved my fingers in the air trying to get circulation back into them. The clerk took pity on me and brought me a styrofoam cup of hot water. I wrapped my hand around the cup and felt the warmth permeate through. It sped up the recovery of those fingers and reduced the pain.

Waiting until both hands were warm again, about 15 minutes, I donned the gloves again, but removing them when outside to fish the sunglasses out of the tank bag: the sun was parallel on the east horizon, the very direction I would be riding into. While in the tank bag, I dug out my fleece neckwarmer and pulled off the balaclava; I was tired of fighting it to keep from covering my glasses and eyes. With the rising sun, the air was warming and my hands sustained some warmth, or lack of freezing again, the remaining 24 miles to the train station.

I pulled into a parking spot, dismounted and retrieved my change of clothes, lunch and thermos of coffee. As usual, pouring myself a hot cup of steaming coffee was like nectar of the Gods. I held the cup up to the sky in salute of perseverance against Old Man Winter.

Need heated grips and new warm gloves immediately..............


posted by Macrobe
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