Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simple Ride --> to Work:

I noticed lately that some of us are writing more about our ride to work. It's such an uneventful activity, so routine, that even more than a mere mention of that fact makes for an uninteresting post. Recently Mr Conchscooter was criticized by a certain Jack, in PA


about lack of motorcycle content on his recent blog postings so Mr Conch came back with a vengeance and I feel has issued a challenge. It's amazing what one or two well placed words will do

Sunday was "Spring Ahead" for Daylight Savings time so we all lost an hour. I don't know why we just don't keep our clocks ahead all year around. I would rather have daylight after work, than before work. Going to work in the dark is okay with me, but to have daylight after work would be just great. Finally we had gotten to the point where it was daylight when leaving the house, but now with the "Spring Ahead" business it was again dark when I rolled the V-strom out of the carport


It was also very stormy and the rain was coming down in torrents


I remember in the days of carbureted bikes rain would affect the air fuel mixture and you had to work the choke to keep it running from a cold start, which worsened in colder temperatures. With modern fuel injected machines of today all it takes is a mere slight push of the starter button and the engine springs to life and maintains a steady 1000 RPMs as you will notice from the factory supplied tachometer which is the gauge on the right on the instrument cluster. It is supplied as standard equipment on every V-strom Suzuki produces.

My commute involves riding upon surface roads from central Vancouver, through Burnaby and New Westminster until I reach my destination in Coquitlam about 25 kms away. There is no freeway system within the boundaries of Vancouver as the city fathers determined many years ago in an effort to reduce dependence on motorized vehicles. It takes about 20 minutes for me to reach the boundary of Vancouver on urban roads with signal lights every mile or so.

Boundary Road is the Eastern boundary of Vancouver .

(Boundary Road at the signal light)

I am riding eastbound on Kingsway cutting through Burnaby and pass one of the major shopping areas in the Greater Vancouver area (in Burnaby, BC)


Kingsway is a major artery which cuts through South Burnaby on a diagonal, but more or less West to East. This is a major commercial area with a very large MetroTown Mall, and numerous Towers. I notice that the sun is just making its appearance. Sunrise comes about half way durng my commute. Notice there are 4 lanes in each direction, not counting the curb lane. It is still early and I am going in the opposite direction of the rush hour flow.


The rain is starting to ease off and it is just sprinkling. That is a pedestrian overpass ahead . I continue along Kingsway for a few more miles, turn left at Edmunds and stop here at Canada Way for another photo opp . I continue on my way through Burnaby and into New Westminster and finally to Coquitlam. I have to transverse 4 cities to get to work, which takes about 45 minutes in the morning, and over an hour to return home.


I continue on my way and eventually snake my way to my ofice. When it is raining I usually wear my Olympia Hi Viz Orange riding jacket. I really wanted the Hi Viz fluorescent Green but it wasw not on sales and would have cost another $100. plus taxes, so I settled on the orange one


I have a good view of my bike from my office window. Right now I am outside of my window, but I get the same view from the inside


Later in the morning I go outside to snap another photo and notice that it is getting much brighter and the rain is drying up


Jimbo recently posted photos of the spare shoes he keeps at the office. I also keep spare clothes at the office and today I had to make use of them. My boots are supposed to be waterproof and I didn't notice until I got to work that my socks were waterlogged. Lucky thing I have spare socks at work just for this eventuality.


Not that it matters, but I have a few extra of everything at the office, including "Slacks" and I always keep extra underthings in my right hard case. I used to be a Scout and you have to always "be prepared"


  1. Thanks for sparing us the obligatory photo of the spare underwear. Mind you if I worked in Cock It Lam I might keep quiet about it.
    I need to do a daylight commute now that we have sprung forward to show what sunshine looks like.
    We fall back in the Fall so people's little brats don't get run down in the morning darkness as they wait to go to their puppy mills for daily indoctrination. Not much of a reason I know but what can we do?

  2. Hi Bobskoot,
    I liked reading about your commute, and I love all the rainy commute pics! (Is it wrong to enjoy seeing other commuters out in the rain?)

    It sounds like you're on the road for about the same time as me. My commute is 34 miles (one way). I'm feeling guilty now. I spend about 10 minutes getting through my small town, a half hour riding rural backroads ( or a rural freeway when hurried), then 10 minutes skirting the edge of the small city where I work. Pretty easy commute.

    So, are those your regular pink crocs, or do you have spares to keep at work?

    Be safe out there on the mean streets of the city :)

  3. Dear Bobskoot:

    My commute is a hefty 14 steps from the second floor to my desk in the corner office, between the front hall and the kitchen. The house is laid out in sych a manner that it isn't necessary to pass throgh my office, nor Leslie's (on the opposite side of the hall) to access the rest of ther house. Despite this, any noise on the street will produce a stampede of dogs thjat make an interesting background noise when I am doing interviews on the phone.

    You have my most profound respect and admiration. I do not willing go out to ride in the rain unless it is absolutely essential. (That means getting caught in it on the way back from someplace.) Like yourself, I have ridden hundreds of miles in a steady rain when I had to get back home. But unlike yourself, I would not have done it by choice. I have ridden in some pretty dramatic and desperate downpours, but my hands where frozen in a clenched position by the time I got back home.

    While the handling characteristics of the machine are predictable in the rain, and while local roads are well-known to me, I find the ride in the wet tro be a lot less enjoyable. Now it is true that the wet weather aggravates my joints more... But I would feel the same way if my knees and hips were healthy.

    I envy your abiliy to effortlessly hop on and off the bike to take pictures. Getting on and off my bike, with my deteriorated hips and knees, is a process. It is because I cannot get on and off this thing like normal kids that I am so restricted in my efforts to take more pictures. It is for this same reason that I am unwilling to chance parking my bike on questionable surfaces. If it fell, I might be challenged to get it upright again.

    Your assessment of the modern motorcycle is quite accurate. Fuel injection certainly does take the guesswork out of starting a bike in any number of weather situations. And EFI is as common as a keyed lock. I find a tach to be useful in providing engine data as well. It is especially so when coupled with a voltmeter, so you can see how the battery handles various loads at different engine speeds.

    Then again, if you are going Amish, you don't need more than enough juice to power the head and tail lights through the Lucas electrical system. Lucas electrucal components... There's a hidden bonus for you.

    Too bad you don't live on the US east coast. If you were coming on Saturday, I'd have decent pictures.
    I am going to carry the camera in my pocket this weekend. The pictures will be predictable... Or not.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  4. I pointed out riepe doesn't ride in the rain and he sniffed and denied it. Yet here he is admitting as much. The truth will out! Fat lot of good your tach did for you on that commute- you probably couldn't see it for all the rain and black clouds endemic to the Key West of the Canadian Soviet.If you had fallen over an ambulance ride wouldn't have bankrupted you at least.
    I hear the Canadian economic bubble is going to end soon and you will be joining us in the despond of despair.We'll keep an underpass warm for you.

  5. I seem to remember the spare underwear from the Hawaii trip. They looked a lot like a woman's thong.

    I hereby grant you Knighthood for riding in the rain.

    There are two ways to look at the long commute. One is the distance in a negative way. The other is to be thankful the commute is long enough to warrant gearing up for it. I prefer the second way.

    As to the Riepe / Conchscooter lovefest, I'm staying out of it. Don't want to turn it into a love triangle! Two's company but three's a crowd and all.


  6. WOW Bob....your boss must be really mean and scary if you have to keep a change of underwear in your desk lol.

    It's a fair few years since I commuted into London on a bike, the more difficult and horrible the commute was...the more I used to enjoy it!!



  7. Hi Bob,
    I used to keep some spare clothing when I used to commute by bike. And later as a consultant I learned that you also better carry another set, because the work is never done...

    The rain in the last days was quite the torrent (for an unknown reason I wanted to write down torment...), and I admire you for being out there on the bike. I will certainly get a vest like yours, too.

    My days in Vancouver are over for now, I found an apartment and a car, all in one weekend. Now I am headed to New Zealand, hope to meet up with you again, when I am back.

  8. Like Jack, my office is about 30 feet from the bedroom, and 20 from the coffee machine. And since the missus has this thing about tire tracks in the hallway, I am not allowed to ride to work. So instead I must satisfy myself with riding away from work. (Working for yourself is nice that way. "Off for a ride. Seeya!")

    However years ago I did commute and, as a consultant, had to be prepared for any eventuality, so I kept a full set of clothing (including a 3-piece suit - remember those?) in the office. No pink crocs though - clearly an oversight.

  9. Bobskoot, I loved the rain pictures! I actually enjoy riding in the rain. you carry a bike cover with you? I know if I could see my bike from my office window I wouldn't cover it up either.

    BTW, the hi-viz orange is incredibly visible but less retina burning than the hi-viz limey-greeny-yellow. I gifted my husband with that one for Christmas and now I can't bare to look at him. I don't know if that's good.