Monday, June 9, 2014

Did He Ride Today?

Following Keith's lead in the title, did I ride to work today? No, unless you want to count riding on an Alaska Airlines 737. I am in Barrow for the next week or so providing IT support to visiting researchers, getting a couple more wireless clients installed and some other tasks to minimize support needs. I was hoping my other base station radio had come in so I would be able to expand coverage but it hasn't shipped yet.

As you may notice in this screenshot of the app, it is still kind of "wintery" here in Barrow. Very light snowfall has been coming down for most of the day but not enough to actually accumulate. But you can definitely feel the wind.

Steve's Unsatisfactory Ride post had got me thinking more about my ho-hum rides around town. I did get the rig out on the road running several errands over the weekend but did not take any purely "recreational" ride. The addition of the sidecar has changed the motorcycle from recreation to "functional transportation". I rarely ever think twice about driving the rig as it has become the vehicle used to go just about anywhere no matter what the weather or conditions. These days, the time between walking into the garage and leaving the driveway is rarely much more than a minute or so. Not much different than driving the car.

It doesn't take long before I recognize that the difference comes when I can feel myself smiling while headed down the road. No music or other distractions needed just the pleasant mechanical clatter coming from the engine. Driving the rig takes more concentration and physical effort than driving a car but that just adds to the fun. It doesn't matter if I'm headed to Anchorage or to the grocery store. The addition of easy to don riding gear has made weather almost irrelevant as far as enjoying the ride and just about everyone waves at you when you're on a sidecar rig. Not just the other motorcyclists but everyone from tourists riding the train to cabbies. Riding is still a whole lot more fun than driving.


  1. It's good to see the almost complete conversion to fulltime sidecar rig driver that I see in you RichardM.... :)

    1. I think that the slow transformation from recreation to transportation is interesting. Similar to looking at your 8-year video showing all of the effort to occasionally riding on snowy days to just another day in CO.

  2. It seems your Aerostich has aided you in riding more often. Like you said, ease of putting on gear makes it less of an inconvenience.

    If my commute was more than 3 miles I might be more inclined to ride to work more than a few times a year.

    1. The RC has really made a difference especially on the commute. Easy on, easy off. The only hassle with it is storage at locations other than home or office where I don't just want to leave it lying in the sidecar.

      I take the rig on a lot shorter trips than that without thinking about it. It's easy to back up than the bike even without reverse. No concern about it falling over. Quite a few times, I'll just grab a motorcycle jacket, helmet gloves and take off. This takes about the same time and a little less effort than the RC but I don't need to deal with storage. Just dispense with the riding pants as it's much more improbable to low-side or fall over at stop lights with the sidecar. ;-)

  3. Richard:

    I would ride more if it weren't for the traffic. Commuting in the morning is nearly a dream with little traffic, but imagine an hour or more moving one block at a time for each red light. They don't syncronize them here as they want to "calm" the traffic. It's just not worth the risk when I have an insured car just sitting at home. There are no freeways in Vancouver by design.

    My recreational riding day is usually Saturdays as I don't ride on Sunday or Holidays

    I notice snowflakes for Mon and Tuesday. Seems like it's still winter up there

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. I think that part of the change has been not really caring about traffic. Bumper to bumper traffic is never pleasant but it is much less of a concern now than it was before. The sidecar rig is more car-like.

      It wasn't too long ago when I would routinely take the scenic route home. These days it's more common to be stopping at the grocery or hardware store on the way home. Not much recreational riding.

      And yes, it's snowing today.