Friday, November 02, 2007


I was just thinking about how the end of daylight-saving time was going to affect my daily commute, and realized that no matter what, I'm going to be riding to work in the dark. Oh yeah...and the cold.

We've been blessed with some really nice weather for this time of year, but each day begins with frost on the ground, and temps at around 30 degrees. I've taken to wearing a full-face helmet finally, and have been really happy with the one I bought. After shopping at the local motorcycle shops, I was beginning to wonder if I would find a good helmet that would fit both my melon, and my budget. Then I went shopping at that nice little store that Sam Walton built.

Yes people, I bought myself a Bell Helmet at Walmart for half of what I would have paid at the local shops. Seventy-nine bucks and change, and out the door I went. I'm so stinkin' happy with this thing, that I wish I would have bought one last year. It fits right, vents well, and doesn't fog as bad as my old retired Arai from a few years ago. My only beef is that I can't wear my eyeglasses with this helmet, so I put them in a case and jam them into my pocket.

I had shopped around for a modular helmet, but couldn't quite pull the trigger on paying the price, and knew in the back of my mind that I could make do without the flip-up, so I went with the full-face. At the time of purchase, we were scraping scratch together to pay our property taxes, so being frugal was necessary. I got a cool helmet, saved some bucks, and stayed on my wife's good side. It's all good.

It just seems like the whole cold riding thing has come up so fast. Man, Halloween is gone, and now were talking turkey-time. People are talking about Christmas already, and I still haven't quite pulled my head out of the hole of wondering if we will ever have summer. It's all just gone by so quickly. But on the bright side, I'm still riding every day, my pals are still riding every day, and it really doesn't matter if the clock moves back an hour, it'll still be dark and cold, and thats the way it is. Thats just fine by me.

Have fun,


Blogger irondad said...

I rode in freezing fog a couple of mornings ago. That was the reminder of the fact that summer's long gone! I'm actually sort of glad the fog started freezing. Made the road a little more dicey but before that the fog was wet. Like a really heavy mist, actually. I could hardly keep my visor cleared.

Can't beat the full face for keeping warmer. I have a modular but I've ended up only wearing it when I'm riding to classes.

Be careful out there! The commute home's going to be dark and more dangerous starting next week.

10:28 AM  
Blogger twistngogrl & vespajitsu said...

I can't even ride anymore without my full face, even in the dead of summer. A complete turnaround for me.
I bought a Shoei off of e-bay and it rocks. I paid about 1/2 price for it compared to going to a retail place, but it still cost around $250. Best money ever spent!
Bill, are you able to ride year round out there? Tonight we are finally getting some cooler....turn off the a/c weather.wahooo. But I can't ride yet because of my shoulder surgery :(

4:06 PM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Ohhh, freezing fog! Haven't had too much of that yet, but we're due. Last time I rode in freezing fog, I was wearing a 3/4 shell and had goggles on. That sucked.

I really like my full face. The whole feeling of being warm inside the helmet is nice. At least my nose isn't running, and my eyes watering when I get to work.

I have an orange safety vest with reflective striping that I wear quite a bit this time of year. I just put it with my raingear last Monday as a matter of fact. Makes me look like a rolling caution sign.

Half price for a Shoei? Good score! That does rock.

As far as year-round riding goes, I'd have to say "almost." We always end up with some real icy conditions, and the yearly snows that range from 3 to 12 inches. The city is usually a little slow on street maintenance, so the conditions are real dicey for a few days with each "snow event." Better off driving.

I did get out a few times in the white stuff on my scooter last year just to dink around the neighborhood, and to say that "I did" ride in the snow. It was fun.

Hope your wing heals up quick so you can come out and play.

Have fun,

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill I've never owned a full face. I keep telling myself I should get one but I've never put one on my head and thought, "Yeah that feels right." I guess the feel of a full face would eventually grow on ya. Do you have to wear ear plugs with it?

8:41 PM  
Anonymous David W. Dill said...

Hey Bill, you don't have to apologize for buying a $79 helmet! I paid about that for mine which I purchased from the local Yamaha dealer (where I bought my scooter). It's a Fullmer brand helmet, full face with a flip-up face shield. I've had for about three years and it's done fine by me. I kid I know recently bought a Harley Sportster and a Harley-Davidson helmet which he told me cost $500!! Can you believe it? They sure saw him coming. Now you may think I'm nutz but I don't think it is any better than mine. Or yours for that matter.
It is getting colder where I ride also and when I work until store closing, at 8:30, it's a pretty nippy ride home (5 miles). Usually in town I leave the face shield up one notch to keep the inside from fogging up at stop signs. Have you thought about buying a snowmobile outfit to wear in the cold months? I have been considering the possibility as I hate the thought of not riding until spring. David

8:54 PM  
Blogger Steve Williams said...

I'm still sort of half despondent over the coming cold weather. It's a sign of age I think and I am beginning to understand why people move south.

Saturday morning it was 29 F when I rode to a job and while the roads were nice and dry the frosty field I cut across wasn't. Being the idiot I can sometimes be I head across enjoying the scenery until I feel the scooter starting to fishtail. Back off the throttle and straighten up a bit and give it a little gas. Same thing only worse. I'm doing doughnuts, and sliding all over the place. It's when the Vespa is leaning over and slipping around you recognize it's true weight.

I kept the scooter upright and got back on the road remembering how slippery things got last winter. Oh well.

I do wish I would have put on more agressive tires. I have Pirelli's on the front and back but they are wimpy street tires with a few grooves in them.

Full face helmet is the only way to go in cold weather. Fogging visors are a pain though.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

5:37 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

I wore a Kiwi full face for years, then gradually went from a 3/4 to a half shell, then back to a 3/4 in recent years. I just tired of being chilled, and trying to find ways to cover my face, so the return to a full shell helmet was the way to go. I'm quite happy with the decision.

I've only worn earplugs a few times. Mostly when I was wearing a tiny novelty beanie helmet. Those helmets are like putting a bottle cap on a bowling ball. Not a real safe choice.

Wow, 500 skins for a branded helmet is a pretty steep price to pay. You and I have done quite well for sure.

Sounds like our commute, and conditions are pretty much alike. I too am a "one notcher" to keep the fogging down. It seems to work pretty good.

I thought about the snowmobile type suit last year, and ended up buying quilted bib overalls on clearance at Wallyworld. The only problem with them is that they are not waterproof. But they are great on real cold days.

No way am I going to wait till spring. I'll use every chance I can get to scoot. Keep riding!

All the fishtailing, and doughnut making was just your Vespa's way of helping you warm up.

I got a little sideways the other morning and just looked down at my scoot and asked "What was that all about?" Just like a high spirited horse I guess.

You're right about the weight too. You don't really notice how much these sleds weigh until they start pushing back.

Maybe its time to consider those Kenda's that Gary raved about. I could use a more aggressive tread in the coming months.

Have fun,

7:43 AM  
Blogger twistngogrl & vespajitsu said...

You are a good dude, and I'll continue to read your great blog, go to my farewell blog.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Steve Williams said...

I thought about getting the Kendas but couldn't get myself to part with the cash for two new tires since one is always in good shape.

I fear I will come to regret that decision and still may drop the dimes on the Kendas. Hopefully not before I lay out the scooter on the pavement....

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

4:20 AM  
Blogger American Scooterist Blog said...

Back in the early days my excuse was helmets were for winter riding. I have a Shoei ff RF700 which is finally getting worn from the inside out hehe. So this year I picked up an ultra cheap VOX brand helmet over the internet. Its a.. what'd you call it? Flip up... modular. Its got the sun visor as a secondary visor you can raise or lower via a lever on the left side of the helmet. Basically I wanted a helmet with flip down built in sunglasses. I think I would rather wear a helmet than not. Big change for me over the last few years.


2:11 PM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

What the heck??? I haven't checked your farewell post yet, but will do so right away.

You too are one quality cat, and hope to call you "friend."

I'm a little slow too in parting with my cash, but will get a quote on the Kenda's from my pal at the dealership this week. At least then I'll know which way to go as far as spending money goes.

If I don't buy the tires, then my riding will end up being more sporadic since the stock skins aren't worth squat in the slop. We'll see...

I saw those Vox lids on the internet. I remember the price being sweet. The up-side of the cheapo that I bought was that I was able to try it on first, and it fit real nice. I can also buy the replacement smoke shield for the sunny days to come.

There was a time when I rode without a helmet back around 1981-82, but with real long curly hair, every time I finished a ride I looked like Krusty the Clown, and that wasn't cool.

Have fun,

5:48 PM  

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