Big “Kahunas”

It’s just about a month now since my season started. The weather has been unbelievably warm. I think we’ve even hit 70-degrees+. But not yesterday. Yesterday it was 20-degrees when I headed off to work. That’s a new record low temperature for riding for me.

And there’s a good reason I was the only idiot on a bike. It was COLD! But since the weather turned nice, the construction season started early and my bus route has been detoured. It no longer stops at my workplace. It gets close, I could walk. But if I’m going to be cold, I’d rather be on my Harley than on my feet.

It’s a little over six miles between home and work. And about a third of the way in I knew I would have to stop and warm up along the way. At 30-degrees I’m nearly frozen when I get to work. At 20-degrees I reached that state in half the time.

So I was thinking about where I could pull over for a few minutes and warm up. Coffee shops came to mind. Except I always feel obligated to buy something, and that wasn’t going to work for me. But it dawned on me that the hospital is about halfway. It’s got a nice area where people hang out. So that was the plan. And it’s a good thing it isn’t any farther than it is, because my left hand was almost non-functional when I pulled in and shut the bike off. That’s not a good thing. In fact, that’s a dangerous thing.

So I walked into the lobby, full leathers on mind you, and peeled my gloves off. Wincing. You know what it’s like to thaw out frozen fingers. It HURTS! The greeter at the door wanted to know if she could help. I told her “I hope not” as a joke. No amputations please. πŸ™‚ But there was a great bench near the door, with heating vents no less, which was the perfect place to spend a few minutes until the feeling came back.

After that, the rest of the ride into work seemed short and I arrived warmer than I thought I would.

On the way home it was only 40-degrees out. Many would call that cold. But compared to 20-degrees it seemed balmy. But I decided to stop halfway home anyway – at my new favorite home-away-from-home bar downtown. πŸ™‚ Grabbed a burger to thaw my hands out and was heading out when a gentleman made a comment that made me stop and chat for a bit. We got to talking about bikes and rides and the usual stuff. But he made the comment about my having “big kahunas” for riding in the cold that morning. Funny transliteration. But I couldn’t disagree. I didn’t see anyone else out.

But I have to pause here because I deal with this all the time. I don’t have a car. I essentially had no choice but to ride to work. Big kahunas or not, you do what you have to do. And a cold ride to work is better than a cold walk to work. It’s just so out of the ordinary for an adult to not have a car around here it never enters people’s minds. I often choose to not set them straight. I could easily argue that the “big kahunas” moment was not riding to work in 20-degree weather but in watching my car pull away when I sold it nearly two years ago.

Odometer: 10,379 miles


  1. Pam says:

    Oh my! You are my new hero. I’m such a weather-wienie. I’ve wanted to ride to work, but I don’t have any chaps or a substitute for warmth. Here’s to hoping the weather warms back up!

  2. Julie says:

    Chaps are absolutely essential!! If it’s below 40ΒΊ out, the chaps go on. Long johns aren’t out the question either. πŸ™‚

  3. Dar/princess Scooterpie says:

    I can empathize with a cold commute, all too often it is in rain for me. I have ridden an entire year now in all seasons and all types of weather. I still have a car and only use it for hauling my daughter & her friends around, other than that it is always by bike. Ride safe!

  4. Deb says:

    Well you’ve certainly got more “kahunas” than I do! LOL

    How about “grip warmers”? I’ve heard of them, don’t know what they are and don’t have any on my scooter, but they sound “toasty”, don’t they?

    Safe rides…

  5. Julie says:

    Good suggestion! Heated hand grips are on the short list of upgrades I’d like to make to my bike. I’ve heard they’re not the total answer – the back of your hand gets cold – but they’ve got to help. They’re not excessively expensive, maybe $250. I plan do them if I make changes to my handlebars again. Maybe I can get them in place for next year.

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