From the social media updates around the country, it appears that a bit of snow has fallen over the past week. Apparently “The South” got a dusting, but undoubtedly, we also got a good batch of it here in southwest Ohio. It being Saturday morning, I casually started surfing Instagram while enjoying my morning “cup of Joe”. I stumbled across another Scrambler-phile’s photo of his Scram parked on a snowy street. That, combined with single digit temperatures and a standing challenge, ushered me downstairs to gather my gear.
About two years ago I posted a photo on Facebook of the Speedmaster on a cold morning. A family friend commented something to the effect of, “single digits would be impressive”. Challenge: Accepted (foolishness… imminent).
At this point, I expect the majority of motorcyclists have loaded up the tank with Sta-Bil, cinched up the cover, and tucked the bike away until spring. Longtime readers here know that I’m a proponent of riding all year (“Safely” and when possible); it keeps you sharp, stays the fever… and well, there are no prescriptions or support groups for the affliction I have…
The streets here in Dayton, while salt-logged, have been at least dry and clear for the past 24 hours, so I started laying out my trusty winter kit. Rosie the Scrambler was nowhere near as excited about the pending adventure as I; she cranked several times before firing, even with the “fuel enrichener” knob pulled to max. Frankly, at somewhere around 5° F, I was shocked she started at all, but the battery had enough juice and after a little fuss, she fired to life.
Waiting on Rosie to “get ready”, I donned my knee-high moto-socks, Triumph thermal, and the usual FirstGear jacket and pants. The Tourmaster heated gloves have been running full-time duty since about late November, but this morning I even threw on a set of latex gloves in attempt to keep a little extra heat in. Heated grips on max, gloves plugged in, balaclava and helmet in place, I gingerly backed the Scrambler out into the snow covered driveway for a very, very, short ride.
Needless to say, for a motorcycle, the conditions were what I consider… “Extreme”. I mostly wanted to turn the axles, take a peek around, and mostly say, “Yeah. I’ve done that.” In little under half an hour, it was clear, heated grips and gloves are not enough for single digit temps, even on a sunny day. I also understand why snow mobile helmets have heated visors; your breath will freeze to the inside of the face shield, even if it’s “fog proof”. A short trip around the neighborhood, I snapped a few photos, stopped to warm my hands on the engine about every mile, enjoyed a short jaunt through the snow, and I was ready to get back indoors.
Someone once said, “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” It’s obvious, hand guards and “Hippo Hands” will be a must for the Scrambler Project if I want to keep up this winter lunacy. Based on today’s performance, I think I can safely say, 20° F is about my current limit for cold weather riding, considering the current conditions.
So… at what point is it too cold to ride?