Friday, June 29, 2012


Yes, I rode to work today.


it was a little cooler for the home ride. Much to my surprise I actually noticed. I didn't think I would.

The question of the day is: Are you officially on vacation when you leave work the last work day before vacation? Or, does it become official when you don't have to show up for work the morning on the first day of vacation? Either way, I won't be riding to work Monday. Vacation here I come.
  • 81F/27C with a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 105F/41C with a couple of clouds for the home ride.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Hot

Yes, I rode to work today.

Recently, I was reminded there are very few riders who wear all the gear all the time. What is true is some riders gear up more than others. I've been accused of gearing up more than many. I mention this because the heat we are experiencing here in St. Louis presents additional challenges to gearing up. Today when I rode home it was 108F/42C. I still wore the knee guards and the back brace. I wore a mesh armored jacket and vented Cordura pants. I wore my rather new dual sport helmet.

Riding to work, also, has caused compromises in my gearing up. When I ride on the weekends in addition to the back brace I often wear a chest protector. And, always wear hip guards and a coccyx protector. During the work day rides these stay at home. I rationalize these changes in gear around my reduced speeds on the ride to work, please no laughter the Symba has some go. Of course, it isn't about the speeds I travel. It is about convenience, not wrinkling clothes, and not taking up half of my work area with gear.

But today I added another piece of gear to my normal work a day gear-up.

I wore my Coolvest. The vest seems to me to be a gearing compromise. The cooling bars are solid when I take them from the freezer/refrigerator. I only load the front of the vest and I suspect experiencing impact to my chest while wearing the vest early on in a ride would be most unpleasant.

This was what the bars looked like after forty-five minutes of riding. Still pretty solid--a good thing and a bad thing.
On the other hand, keeping the body core cool in high temperature riding is also a safety issue.

Today's heat was a new kind of heat for me. The heat here in St. Louis is usually accompanied by high humidity. Having the heat index be above 115F/46C is not all that uncommon. Today the heat index was actually 4 degrees F cooler than the actual temperature.

I was grateful to have the face shield of the dual sport helmet. It was more comfortable riding with the face shield down then with it up. And, it was good to be able to lift the shield at stoplights.

Humidity or not, it's hot.

It is forecast to be nearly as hot tomorrow as today. Summer indeed.
  • 81F/27C with maybe a cloud or two in the sky for the ride to work.
  • 108/42C with lots of sunshine for the home ride.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Knew That Look In His Eyes

Yes, I rode to work today.

This morning  in the parking lot of the Cafe as I was gearing up for the ride to work a man and his wife parked next to me . This is the second time I've seen this couple in the last week. The first time they parked next to me on the man's side. He got out and was looking over my Symba. He wanted to know how many miles to the gallon it got, how fast it went, and how many miles it had on it. He was easily in his 80's, but I knew that look in his eyes. He started to walk away. He'd walk a few steps turn around and look at the Symba and smile. Then a few more steps, stop, look, and smile. There was no mistaking it, he was suffering a raging attack of the wants.

Today they parked next to me again, but this time it was on the woman's side. When she got out she asked me how far I had to ride "that thing". I told her a little over ten miles. She thought that wasn't too bad. I told her most mornings I wished the distance was longer. She seemed astonished at this. Next she wanted to know if I rode it even when it rained. I said I did and told her the last time I'd driven my car to work was in January. She just shook her head. I couldn't tell if it was in disbelief or pity. As she headed toward the door, her husband was again eying my bike with that same look. Again, he did the walk, stop, and look thing as he followed after his wife. It was a wonderful way to start my day.

The forecast high tomorrow is 108F/42C. I'd say Summer has arrived.
  • 71F/22C with a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 99F/37C with nothing but blue sky and abundant sunshine for the home ride.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Even Pinocchio

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the day began with a surprise. Since the weather has been so predictable of late and I knew we are looking at forecasts above the 100F mark by Thursday with no rain in sight, I didn't even bother to check the National Weather Service website before leaving the condo. To my surprise it was chilly. I sure could have used a windbreaker under my mesh jacket for the ride to work.

At lunch time as I was eating pita with hummus a group of people walked by. One was carrying a sign. It said in large letters, "Performance Today." I couldn't read the where. Two others were carrying chairs and the remainder of the folks were just walking along. They all moved like dancers.

When I got to Citygarden I saw where the performance was.

Even Pinocchio seemed to join in.

Citygarden has added so much to my enjoyment of working Downtown.
  • 61F/16C and nothing but blue sky for the ride to work.
  • 85F/29C and not a cloud in the sky for the home ride.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Blue Sky

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was on the warm side, but hotter is coming.
  • 77F/25C for the ride to work, and the National Weather Service said there were a few clouds. but I didn't see any.
  • 89F/32C and a crystal blue sky for the home ride.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Socks

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the scooter riding guy who wears a suit was out today on his Ruckus.

He wears a suit, but no socks. Go figure.
  • 68F/20C with a very few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 86F/30C with a few more clouds for the home ride.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Clouds Did Look Promising

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the forecasters were calling out a 40% chance of rain after 9am.

The clouds did look promising.

Early in the work day I had cause to visit another department. There was a cake on one of the desks. On the cake was written in bold orange frosting: "Happy Birthday Cheryl". While I was there a manager walked through. He looked at the cake and said, "Oh, whose birthday is it?" A co-worker and I looked at each other and said nearly in unison, "Cheryl's." I'm happy to report neither of us added, "Duh." I took this little episode as a gentle reminder of how short the supply of situational awareness is. If a person can look directly at a birthday cake and miss the person's name whose birthday it is, how can it be a surprise that people overlook motorcycles in broad daylight? I'd like to think if this manager had been driving he'd of been paying closer attention, but I have to wonder.

Later on in the day, on my way back from lunch another manager, the Harley rider who has turned up in this journal before, said to me, "So, you gambled today did you?"

"How's that?" I responded.

"You rode today. You gambled it wouldn't rain."

"No, I didn't gamble," I said, "I brought raingear."

He's response? "That's what I said, you gambled."

"You know the last time I drove my car to work..." He interrupted me before I could finish and said to me, "It didn't rain."  "No," I said, "That's not what I was going to say. I was going to say the last time I drove my car to work was January 17th."

"Well," he said, "I hope you luck out today."

I'm happy to report I didn't add, "Whatever."

It never did rain today and by home ride time it was sunny. We really need rain. Being lucky for me today would have been riding home in a nice gentle downpour.
  • 78F/26C and mostly cloudy for the ride to work.
  • 83F/28C with some clouds, but plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

For This I Need...

Yes, I rode to work today.

The Symba continues to run nice and strong. Last night I was talking to a friend about my desire to get another bike with a bit more oomph. He asked me if I'd keep the Symba. I told him not only was I planning on keeping the Symba, I still planned to ride it to work each day. It is the perfect tool for my commute. He seemed dubious. His thought was: I'd get a bigger bike, feel the extra power and leave Billie, my Symba, in the garage. I reminded him one of the core experiences riding Billie touches in me is the hours I spent driving tractor growing up on the farm. I drove big tractors and little tractors. It depended on the job. Billie does the primary job she was purchased for wonderfully. What she doesn't do well is making it out to St. Charles to see my granddaughter.

For this I need a bigger bike or scooter.
  • 77F/25C with a crystal clear blue sky for the ride to work.
  • 93F/34C with a few clouds for the home ride.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Touch of Humidity

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, there was a touch of humidity in the air this morning, but by mid-day it was gone.

Once again, Citygarden was plenty busy.

By evening, some big fluffy clouds had appeared.

They were pretty, but we need rain.
  • 78F/26C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 91F/33C with fluffy white clouds and blue sky for the home ride.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Break Time

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was International Ride to Work Day. I wondered if this would make a difference in the number of bikes and scooters in the parking area.

I waited until break to walk back over to the parking area. There are some folk who come to work after I do and leave before I do. I've often wondered how that works, but haven't figured it out.

At break time I ran into a little water hazard.

They were flushing something out of the Carnahan Courthouse, perhaps the sprinkler system. As I crossed Market Street it wasn't much more than a small stream next to the curb. I could easily jump over it.

When I got to the parking area I found five bikes, two of which I didn't recognize. I, also, noticed there were a couple of regular riders missing today. Like where is Deputy D's red Fly _50?

Oh well.  I've never seen the Suzuki before today, and it was there when I arrived.

By the time I got back to Market Street there was a minor flood.

I went the long way around.

And, I saw this guy.

He wasn't riding a motorcycle or scooter, but perhaps he rode to work.
  • 77F/25C and a little hazy for the ride to work.
  • 94F/34C and lots of sunshine for the home ride.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It Was Warmer

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, it was warmer than yesterday.

This meant there were even more folks enjoying Citygarden.

As I was walking into the Civil Courthouse this morning I noticed this bird enjoying the view from a top the Police Memorial.

And, sometime during the week I managed to pass the 17,000 mile mark.

This is significant because it means I have 10,000 miles on the Michelin Gazelles. I hadn't expected these tires to wear so well. A most pleasant surprise.
  • 72F/22C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 92F/33C and a few more clouds for the home ride.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Summer In The City

Yes, I rode to work today.


It's Summer in the City.

I, also, met S. I have seen her many times over the years. She is now riding a white Fly 150. When I first noticed her she was riding a big wheeled scooter, perhaps a People 50. I would glance up and see her move through the intersection just to the east of the parking area. Occasionally we would wave to one another. Tonight I was approaching the stop sign headed east as she approached from the south. Instead of going straight I waved her through and then turned left. I caught up to her at the stop light. We chatted briefly as we waited for the light to change. I found out she used to park in the area where I park, but then there was a change in rules and she couldn't. I suspect this happened back during the scooter boom. The first year I rode I once counted fifteen bikes and scooters in the area. The most I've counted the last two summers has been seven. I invited her to stop some evening when she sees me gearing up so we could chat some more. I hope this happens.
  • 64F/18C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 88F/31C and plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Yes, I rode to work today.

And, there was plenty of sunshine.

It occurred to me today the role emptiness plays in my riding. As I ride I'm always looking for emptiness, emptiness in general; and,  in particular, I'm looking for that emptiness contained in the in-between spaces. It is this emptiness which holds the answer to important questions--questions like: Where could I go if someone or something comes into my space? How much room is there between me and the vehicle in front? Behind?

Almost always there is emptiness to be found, but only if I am looking.
  • 62F/17C with plenty of sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 82F/28C and sunshine for the home ride.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Yes, I rode to work today.

When I pass through security at the Courthouse, I often say to the Deputies working the desk, "I hope you have a boring day." Yesterday we had a little bomb scare. I'm sure that added a little excitement to their day. Since the building wasn't evacuated, the incident didn't really impact the life of the Courthouse. For most of us who work at the Courthouse the rain was a much bigger deal. It was pretty much a regular day. We experienced nothing out of the ordinary, and that was fine by me.

Today I experienced a nice "boring" day of riding. There were no surprises. It was pretty much a regular day on the streets of St. Louis. I experienced nothing out of the ordinary, and that was fine by me.
  • 67F/19C and sort of cloudy for the ride to work.
  • 81F/27C and a few clouds for the home ride.

Monday, June 11, 2012

It Finally Rained

Yes, I rode to work today.


It finally rained.

It was dry during my ride to work and when I was riding home, but come late morning Downtown was hit by a very nice rain storm.

It was still sprinkling when I went out for lunch

I swear if one listened closely one could hear even the plants that have been watered regularly laughing among themselves and glorying in rain.

On my way home I noticed the red giraffe I pass from time to time bellowing for more rain.

It appears the giraffe's pleading is going ignored. Once again, rain is out of the forecast.
  • 74F/23C and cloudy for the ride to work.
  • 77F/25C and mostly cloudy for the home ride.

Friday, June 8, 2012

With Summer Comes....

Yes, I rode to work today.

With Summer comes unpredictable traffic patterns.

Tonight traffic was exceptionally heavy and I'm clueless as to why.

That long line of cars on the other side of the intersection aren't parked, they just aren't moving. Happily I was going the other way. Yes, I ride home into the sun, which means I ride into the sun in the morning. Possibly another reason I like my motocross helmet.

  • 67F/19C and plenty of sunshine for the ride to work.
  • 87F/31C with sun and lots of blue skies for the home ride.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nearly Always Act Surprised

Yes, I rode to work today.

Again, I was asked, "How old is that bike?"

People nearly always act surprised when I tell them it is a 2010 model. Of course, I understand the confusion. It has the classic lines of the old Honda Passport. When you set a Passport next to a Symba you can see the differences. The Symba is a bit larger. It isn't simply a clone of what was called in other countries the "Super Cub." It has developed.

Since I ride a Symba most folks assume I'm into classic/retro looking bikes. Ironically, as my list of "next" bikes shortens, classic probably wouldn't describe any of them. What interests me in a bike is what it can do for me, its dependability, and its feel. Looks aren't unimportant, but I find very few bikes ugly. I can think of a number of bikes that don't look practical to me, but few of them started out that way. Of course, this means someone wanted them to look and be just the way they are.

What will my next bike be? I still don't know. I do know I'm planning on keeping the Symba. It does what it does very well. But, it isn't so good for visiting my "kids" on the other side of the Missouri River, or for riding to Michigan, Kansas, Minnesota, or even possibly to some still to be determined place in Wisconsin.
  • 63F/17C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 82F/28C and a few more clouds, but plenty of sunshine for the home ride.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Can Imagine

Yes, I rode to work today.

It was quitting time. He was getting on the elevator as I was getting off. "It's great to feel the freedom on a motorcycle, isn't it?" he said to me.

"Do you ride?" I asked.

"No," he replied, "But I can imagine."

I'm grateful I don't have to.
  • 62F/17C and a few clouds for the ride to work.
  • 78F/26C and a few more clouds for the home ride.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And Try Not To Complain

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, once again, the weather was perfect for riding. It was nice and cool for the morning ride; and it was warm but not hot for the ride home.

We still need rain, but none of the forecasters see any on the near horizon. I guess I'll just have to put up with all this sunshine and try not to complain.
  • 63F/17C and fair for the ride to work.
  • 83F/28C and a few clouds for home ride.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Only A Few

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, once again it didn't rain where I was. I heard it rained to the west of where I was. I even had a friend in St. Charles tell me it was hailing there. Alas, only a few raindrops fell on my head.

As I headed west after work I did see evidence of rain.

And, as I neared home I definitely felt the humidity spike when the sun came out . One could see steam rising from the street, the creation of the cool rain water resting on hot pavement. I couldn't catch the steam in the photo, but trust me, it was there.

Before the sun came out I was able to enjoy the experience of different temperature zones. As I rode the temperature would change drastically depending on where I was in relation to the rain. The temperature would be stable for a while and then a coolness would wash over my face, then it would go back to hot. And, there was the smell that follows a rain, delicious. I've heard it said motorcycle and scooter riders are the only ones who really understand why dogs stick their heads out car windows. Perhaps, it is so.

One had to be farther west of where I was and where I am to experience any significant rain. Where I was it rained just enough to make the painted lines and markers on the street slippery. Oh well.

  • 70F/21C and some clouds for the ride to work.
  • 81F/27C and overcast turning into sunny during the home ride.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Getting Soft

Yes, I rode to work today.

And, the Hamburger Guy was back in his place....

Which of course meant there was no rain in sight.

It was cooler today, and I have a confession. I actually turned on the heated grips during my ride to work. I'm getting soft.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. That is my plan, and I'm stickin' to it!
  • 50F/10C and pretty much cloudy for the ride to work.
  • 68F/20C and plenty bright, almost sunny, for the home ride.