Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Please, Be Safe

Yes, I rode to work today.

Today was my last ride to and from work in the calendar year 2011. I'm taking a couple of days off. I am happy to say, I have no doctor appointments or dentist appointments. I do have an appointment. It is for routine maintenance on my car. With the scooters in my life the Yaris hasn't aged near as fast as my previous cars. It is now two years and a quarter old and even with a few long trips it has a only little over 20,000mi. I bought my first scooter two days before I bought this car. The scooter was a planned purchase -- the car was not. How many miles have I traveled on the scoots? I'm closing in on 17,000miles between the two. And, believe me there weren't any long trips in those miles.

Yesterday morning , I varied my usual route to work. A fellow at the cafe warned me of an accident at one of the intersections I usually pass through. Later I found out there had been a fatality. It was a single car accident. A young man was speeding, lost control, and hit a tree. He was only 17.

The tree used to be straight. It bears the scars of its encounter with the car. Someone had put a few votive candles at the base of the tree.
I read about the accident when I got to work. The police weren't saying if the slushy conditions contributed to the accident or not. If they did it was the old "Going too fast for conditions" thing. In another accident yesterday morning a 13 year old girl died. And, today there were two more fatal accidents. Today the roads were clear and dry. It is dangerous being on the road whether riding or driving.

Tonight after work I felt drawn to the place where the accident happened. I stopped and took a photo. Then, I just sat on the Symba for a while and offered some silence up into the darkness.

Please, be safe.

28F/-2C and some sun for the ride to work.
44F/7C and dark for the ride home.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Snow

Yes, I rode to work today.

When I got up and looked out the window I was surprised to see so much white stuff on the ground and on the cars. There was snow in the forecast, but I wasn't expecting so much of it to stick.

It really wasn't much of a snow, but it definitely qualifies as the first of the season.

The roads weren't slippery. They were just slushy. By 10am all the snow had melted.
I rode home on dry roads.
  • 34F/ with a very fine mist and an occasional snowflake for the ride to work.
  • 43F/ and dark for the ride home.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Yes, I wrote to work today.

It was another late start for me. This time the cause was an early morning appointment with a periodontist. Whoopee. Actually, it turned out about as well as such things can be expected to. With some luck I will only need one procedure and the problem will be taken care of. I hope so. Since this was a first visit I needed to go into my head injury history. My riding a small underbone motorcycle came up. It turned out that not one, but both of the periodontist's assistants ride Harley Sportsters -- 883 like SonjaM. I don't know quite what to make of that, but somehow it was reassuring.

  • 35F/2C and some sun for the ride to work.
  • 35F/2C and dark for the ride home.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Yes, I rode to work today.

"They call this the first day of winter, but actually it is the beginning of winter's death," Deng Ming Dao.

The shortest day of the year came dressed in gray.
38F/3C and overcast for the ride to work.
38F/3C, dark and a little windy for the ride home.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It Looked Good On The X-Ray

Yes, I rode to work today.

This morning was a visit to the doctor. I learned I broke my leg when the car hit me while I was inline skating last July. I'd say that certainly explains why it hurt so bad after the accident. It was a hairline fracture and it is all healed. It looked good on the X-ray. I, also, learned that I'm rather a mess. I have significant arthritis in both knees, my left shoulder and my neck. This wasn't really news. The good news is the doctor couldn't believe how few symptoms I'm experiencing. He actually called it amazing. I can think of other ways I'd like to be amazing.

I was at the clinic all morning. I didn't get to ride to work until early afternoon. It was sunny and mild. I know it's Christmas time, but I'm good with no snow

  • 45F/7C and sunny for the ride to work
  • 45F/7C and dark for the ride home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No Santa

Yes, I rode to work today.

I have friends who seem to have much more exciting commutes than I ever do. Nearly every one of their rides seems filled with drama. Mine are usually boring and I like it that way. Sure I have the occasional person pass me on the right where there is no lane. Of course, I have the unannounced U turn from time to time. And, what moto-commuter doesn't have those pesky left turn in front of you-ers. But, close calls are very very rare. That said, I did have some excitement on my ride to work this morning, but just a little. Truthfully, I can't even call today's near encounter of the unwanted kind a close call. I had noticed the truck behind me in my mirrors and had it marked as a potential problem. When we reached a stoplight he pulled up next to me in the right turn only lane. I was going to go straight. I kind of suspected he wanted to zip around me when the light changed, but when the light changed he didn't move. I thought to myself, "Maybe I was wrong about him." Ah, but I wasn't. I suspect he wasn't paying attention when the light changed, or maybe he was texting. When he did realize the light had changed he gunned his pick-up truck and did the maneuver I had expected from him, but since he got a late start and there were cars parked in his made up lane he had to cut in more quickly than he'd anticipated. If I hadn't been paying attention and braked he'd have nailed me. As it was, it wasn't all that close. I wouldn't even have mentioned the episode if the driver hadn't been wearing a Santa suit. Yes, I got cut off by Santa. Oh well, 'tis the season.

Today was pretty warm but it was dreary.

When I went for my lunchtime walk it was misting. It was that kind of mist that leaves little droplets on one's glasses, but you have to be out in for quite a while to get wet.
The fog was thicker by the River.

The Arch could hardly be seen.

After work the mist had stopped but the clouds were hanging low.

The ride home was back to being boring and uneventful. No Santa.

  • 47F/8C with a light mist for the ride to work.
  • 48F/9C and dark but not moist for the ride home.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Perhaps It Was The Rain.

Yes, I rode to work today.

When I filled up with gasoline after work the woman asked me if I was warm enough. The question surprised me. It was 49F/9C and I've been to this filling station when it was much colder. Perhaps it was the rain and the dark that prompted her comment. Ironically, I was thinking I was wearing one more layer of clothing than I needed.

It was another dark and wet ride home, but not a cold one -- a good thing.

54F/12C and cloudy for the ride to work.
49F/9C with a steady rain for the ride home.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Suspect I Will Survive.

Yes, I rode to work today.

It is Friday.

I'm glad the work week is over. I wish all the Holiday stuff was. This isn't the most fun time of the year for an introvert who thrives on routine. I suspect I will survive.

  • 32F/0C and cloudy for the ride to work
  • 36F/2C and dark for the ride home.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Is Pretty Cool

Yes, I rode to work today.

But, I didn't ride to work first thing this morning. I had some business to attend to and didn't ride in until around noon. By then the sky had cleared and the sun made an appearance for the first time in what seems like days.

The next street over from where I live really gets into decorating for Christmas. It has become a destination for folks from all around the area. They come and drive through "Candy Cane Lane." Others park and walk. This year they have added a sand sculpture. I'd wondered how it had fared through the rains. Apparently, not well. Today I rode out that way when heading to work and spied the artist reworking his creation.

I decided after work I was going to walk over and check out the finished product.

When I came out after work I had a surprise waiting me.

There was a new to me scooter parked in the lot. After I'd geared up I heard someone calling my name. It was Deputy D. He has a new to him Piaggio Fly 150. It didn't take him long to "step up". We chatted for a little while and then we left together. He tagged along with me for a while. It was kind of fun to look in the mirrors and see him following.

When I got home I followed through and went over to Candy Cane Lane to check on Santa.

Can you see Santa? There is now a canopy, tent, or pavilion over it. I suppose to protect it from any more rain we might have.
I'm not big on Christmas decorations, but I have to say this is pretty cool.

  • 44F/7C with sun for the ride to work.
  • 37F/3C and dark for the ride home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It Was Drier

Yes, I rode to work today.

It stopped raining sometime during the night, but because the air remained heavy the streets remained moist. On the way into work I encountered some slimy slippery spots at stops. It was like when it first rains and all the oil and crap hasn't washed away. One place was so bad that after I took off whenever I up-shifted my heel kept slipping off the lever.

When I got to work a couple of co-workers commented on how much nicer and safer my ride must have been this morning versus last evenings ride home in the rain. I thought about explaining to them how and why that just wasn't the case, but decided better of it. I've tried being enlightening to non-riders often enough to know better. I've watched the impatient meter rise and the "fidgets" begin more times than I'm proud of. I can sometimes be a slow learner. Instead, I just said, "Well, it was drier."

A big storm blew though Downtown this afternoon. It certainly washed the streets clear. It was finished before it was time to ride home.

Lots of puddles on the streets and in my alley, but no raindrops fell on my head today.
  • 49F/9C and overcast for the ride to work.
  • 56F/13C and dark for the ride home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yes, I rode to work today.

There was no pretty sunrise to see this morning. It simply went from dark to gray to less gray. Today the forecast called for occasional rain. I looked ahead to tomorrow's forecast and it calls for occasional showers. Hmmm, I wondered what's the difference. I asked Goldilocks. She tells me rain or snow means the rain or snow will fall steadily over a large area, whereas rain showers or snow showers means it will be more of a here and there sort of thing. Makes sense and probably everybody knew it but me. Oh well, now I know, too.

Today was definitely a rainy day. There wasn't much occasional about it. It rained all day. And, it was raining when it was time for me to head for home.

It is usually windy Downtown, but not today. I didn't see one inside out umbrella, a real rarity.

I know there are those who think I'm crazed, but I do love riding in the rain.

  • 42F/6C with a light rain for the ride to work.
  • 46F/8C with a light rain for the ride home.

Monday, December 12, 2011

We Will See

Yes, I rode to work today.

Sunday I rode Downtown. I wanted to find the building that was burning last Thursday and into Friday morning.

I was surprised at the lack of barricades and at how solid the building looked. The last I'd read there was some question whether the building was safe for investigators to enter to seek out the cause of the fire.

The commuting week started off beautifully.

It may be dark when I leave in the morning but the sun rises while I'm on my way to work.

The forecasters are talking about rain the next couple of days. We will see.

  • 29F/-2C with a enough clouds to make a beautiful sunrise for the ride to work.
  • 47F/8C and dark for the ride home.

Friday, December 9, 2011

And . . .

Yes, I rode to work today.

And . . .

It's Friday.
I hope it is a safe, wonderful, and refreshing weekend for us all.

  • 33F/.5C and overcast for the ride to work.
  • 33F/.5C and dark for the ride home.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Precious And Useless At The Same Time

Yes, I rode to work today.

When it is cold he spends the night on the grating beside a building near where I park. I see him often sleeping here. When it gets really cold he disappears. I don't know where he goes. But, most of the winter he is here in the morning when I ride by.

I don't know his name. I've never talked with him. I'm not sure he lives in our world at all. He is nearly always in the midst of an argument with some unseen antagonist. And, when he is not he is looking off in the distance. I sometimes wonder what he sees.
It's funny how things sometimes come together. I took the picture of the grating this morning. I had decided to write about this gentlemen as I past by him earlier. At lunch I took another photo.

I saw the smoke and said to myself, "That can't be good."
An abandoned building had caught fire. It filled the area with smoke. You can read about it by clicking here.

This was another space where the Downtown homeless would often take refuge from the cold. Hopefully, no one was stuck in the building. Of course, they shouldn't have been there to begin with. They were trespassers. Still, I hope no one got caught by the blaze.

I will be sorry to lose another of the old buildings. They are both useless and precious at the same time. I guess the same could be said about the fellow who sleeps on the grating beside a building that I ride by every morning.

  • 29F/-2C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 40F/4C and dark for the ride home.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can One Really Have Too Many Helmets?

Yes, I rode to work today.

It was snowing as I prepared to leave this morning.

It was hardly a dusting and nothing much was sticking to the ground.
There was some snow on the cars and a little on the edges of the leaves on the ground. The ground itself was too warm for the snow to dwell there. This was one of those morning when bridges and overpasses couldn't be taken lightly, but the streets were barely wet in most places.
I had a doctor's appointment in the afternoon and left work early. By then the sky was cloudless and blue. I rode home switched from bike to car.

I found myself behind this fellow on my way home the the doctor's. I guess this is his answer to the question: Where do I put these leaves now that I raked them up and loaded them in this trailer? You drive around until they all blow out of the trailer and become someone else's problem.

I switched back from car to Symba and went for a nice little ride up to Cycle Gear and bought a new helmet. It seems of the two motoX helmets I owned one had too short of nose to accommodate my Fog eVader and the other didn't work with my ESS Protective Goggles. Now I have a helmet that works with this combination. Oh well, can one really have too many helmets?

  • 30F/-1C with light snow for the ride to work.
  • 38F/3C and sunny for the first ride home.
  • 36F/2C and still sunny for my adventure to Cyclegear and back.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today The Streak Ended

Yes, I rode to work today.

A friend of mine here in St. Louis rides to work everyday she can. It had been 312 days since her car had been to work. Today the streak ended.  While where I ride was nearly bone dry, just to the south where she lives there was snow on the ground and ice.

There was lots of moisture in the air, but other than the occasional a snowflake it stayed away from the streets I travel.
I was the only bike in the motorcycle parking area today, but I wasn't the only one riding.

I spotted this baby parked in front of the St. Louis Bread Company (Panera's). I've seen it there before. I wonder if someone who works there owns it.
  • 31F/-1C with a few snowflakes for the ride to work.
  • 33F/1C and dark for the ride home.

Monday, December 5, 2011

No Snow. No Sleet.

Yes, I rode to work today.

The forecasters were predicting snow and sleet. I went to bed resigned to driving this morning. I, also, knew there was a chance the forecast could be different when I got up. It often is, and it was. The snow, sleet, or wintry mix seems to have missed the area I ride in completely. Apparently the storm stayed to the southeast of us.

When I was out at lunchtime I saw a guy spreading salt on the sidewalk and steps in front of a restaurant. I wondered if he knew something I didn't. My first thought was about my camera. I forgot it and left it home this morning. I was going to be really upset if I had to ride home in snow and didn't have a camera to document it. It turned out the fellow was merely over reacting to rumors of snow. This is a common past time here in St. Louis. The mention of a snow storm leads to the grocery stores being mobbed. Oh well, the Michigander in me finds it all rather amusing.

Tomorrow looks like a ride day, but tis' the season to not count one's chickens before they are hatched.

  • 33F/1C and overcast for the ride to work.
  • 32F/0C and overcast for the ride home.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Recipe For Disaster

Yes, I rode to work today.

Today the electricians were at work changing out light fixtures. I didn't know they were coming. No one warned me. The new lighting is supposed to be much more efficient. I do know it is much brighter, almost harsh. I'm very sensitive to changes in light . . . and, to having my routines interrupted unexpectedly. Both these risks were present today. I, also, was having one of my random "bad brain" days. Does this sound like a recipe for disaster? It was. I had a "brain storm" in the early afternoon. Usually, when these happen at work I just go to my desk and wait for my brain to regain itself. But, today my desk was unavailable because of the work being done. My supervisor decided I should just go home. I did. As usual, the riding rebooted my brain, but I was left feeling very very tired. I spent the afternoon resting. I'm glad it is Friday.

35F/2C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
43F/6C with a few clouds and some haze for the ride home.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

After Work I Rode, Too

Yes, I rode to work today.

After work I rode, too. My friends Will and Shlomo with Dana on the clarinet were playing at the Stone Spiral.

I met Goldilocks there. We arrived almost at the same time. The Stone Spiral is a warm and welcoming sight on a December evening. Even one that is not so cold.

Shlomo is on the right. He's playing drum here. He also plays bass. Will is in the middle. He plays a number of stringed instruments: tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin, and more. Dana is on the left.

This is a not so great of a recording but it may give you an idea of the wonderful music these folks produce:

After some good food, good friends, and excellent music it was time to head home.

  • 30F/-1C with a few clouds for the ride to work
  • 46F/8C and dark but dry for the ride to Spiral Stone.
  • 41F/5C and still dark for the ride home.