Saturday, October 21, 2006

21OCT06 - A Cold Day's Ride to Palmer Lake

A three hour ride today. It had snowed last night and I awoke to find snow on the ground (1-2 inches, tops) but not on the roads. What moisture there was was on the pavement was fast drying up in the bright sunlight. Spent the morning washing the motorcycle and took off around 1400 for a short drive while the weather was sunny.

Temps ranged from a low of 33 to a high of 38 degrees during the ride. The cold did not affect me though until perhaps the last 30 minutes of the ride. The weather stayed sunny for most of the ride but you could "feel" the cold more when the sun would be hidden by clouds which steadily turned what started as a sunny ride into an overcast ride.

This ride was to test out two new farkle: the cruise control by Kaoko and the digital compass I'd moved out of my car to the motorcycle. You have to do about two slow circles with your vehicle with this type of compass to "calibrate" it and adjust it to the magnetic field thrown off by the motorcycle.

Here's a pic of me as I circled the cul-de-sac, calibrating the compass.

The compass worked fine throughout the ride. It's a very small display(originally designed to mount on the car's rearview mirror) and just displays cardinal directions but enough to help navigate when one can't see the mountains or the sun's position in the sky.

There were some stretches of road where traffic was non-existent and the road was level enough to try out the Kaoko cruise control Took a bit of working to get the motions right but it worked beautifully. By hour two of the ride my right hand was getting a bit cramped and I used it about three times to hold the throttle in place while I shook the cramps out of my right hand. Very nice.

I also tried setting the driver seat height up to the middle position to see if it helped my riding comfort. Initially it seemed to provide more room for my knees but they got pretty sore by the end of the ride, more so than usual I think so I reverted back to the lowest seat setting when I got home. I was able to almost flatfoot the motorcycle with the seat in the middle position however so that was not a factor. I did find it a bit harder to walk the motorcycle around of course so it would have been something I would have used on longer rides but I don't see it working for me.

Although I had extra clothing layers with me in Maria's system cases, I decided to ride on when the chill started to set in after I arrived at Palmer Lake:

Outskirts of Palmer Lake, looking South.

Looking East from same spot at Palmer Lake.

I saw snow flakes drifting down when I stopped here and I decided to turn back North towards home. Like I wrote before, the last 30 mins I could feel the chill begin to build up in my feet and face. My body stayed pretty warm and my hands were fine since I had the heated grips on High. My knees were a bit sore though and I found myself shaking out the legs at stoplights and such. Had to also do the "sit further back" on the trailing edge of the rider's seat to get some more legroom.

I was glad to get home, the sky was heavily overcast and the wind had become quite gusty and strong, doing its best to penetrate the riding gear and steal my heat. The motorcycle did great, and so did the gear.  I am sure I would have been fine had I bothered to stop and don the extra layer I had with me.

Note: With the recent snow, the roads all over have sand/gravel remnants from where it was sprayed by snow plow trucks to provide traction during the snow. Now it collects in the center of the lanes, causing one to try and really ride in the wheel tracts where the sand/gravels has been swept away by cars. It really cuts down on your maneuver area when taking on a curve at times. Only had one "loose traction" moment, on an onramp to 1-25 Northbound from Castlerock, rear tire went squirrely on me for about a second but nothing more than that. Really got my attention though.

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