Shoe's Winter Bike 2010
Over the years I've built a number of "winter bikes." Brothers and friends have asked for photos of my latest project, so here ya go---
This is what I started with.
Like every production bike, it had way too much useless junk bolted onto it. The first thing that had to go was the seat. I threw that into the woods and it immediately started to look better. I took off the plastic fake chrome horns. I don't need extra parts to make noise (horns). If I want noise, I'll take off parts (the mufflers). Less is best. There was a plastic fake chrome "air cleaner" on the left side that did absolutely nothing. I didn't like the factory sissybar with it's little luggage carrier. The directionals were pesky. Stuff like that had to go. By the end of the day the bike was many pounds lighter.
I don't like the look of windshields, but now that I'm an old guy I put them on bikes for cold weather riding. I don't know the brand of this particular "bat fairing." I believe it's some sort of universal model from the early 1970's.
I took the bike to Weir's during Bike Week this year a few times when the weather was bad.
The weather has been warm this winter in New Hampshire so far. But I don't care how cold it gets. If God is willing, I plan to ride all winter the way I have every winter for the past decade.
The cold is no problem. I have ridden in temperatures as low as 3 °F. Now that I know how to dress properly, the cold is not an issue. Ice is a different story. I can deal with a little snow, but black ice is a killer. I don't ride every day during a New England winter for that reason.
I might go up and down the street in a snow storm for laughs, but I don't take the bike into town. Our brother, Harry, did ride regularly through deep snow on various motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds. His most infamous ride is perhaps the moped with the snowblower cab attached.
Years ago a few of us were waiting Sunday morning to see who would show up for church during the snow storm. Most people wimped out. There was about a foot of snow and it was a particuarly slippery snow. As we looked out the front windows of our storefront mission, Somersworth looked like a ghost town. There was hardly anyone on the roads. Then we saw Harry rounding the corner on his moped. Somehow he's managing to "plow snow" with the little front wheel. It didn't have enough clearance to go over the snow but he somehow went through it for three miles. I still do not know how.
If it starts snowing, I head for home. I will ride over the packed stuff that is left over, but that's it. I'll leave the motorcycle snow plowing to Harry. He's a professional.
So, that is my latest rat bike project. Many people have suggested replacing the dented gas take, painting it, replacing rusted chrome, etc. No offense, but if I am going to ride the thing over the salty roads, then such improvements would be a waste of time. Salt and sand eat away paint and chrome like there is no tomorrow.
That's all for now. God bless you and I'll see you on the road.
I have a new personal record for my lowest temperature riding: -9 °F. It usually does not get that cold in New Hampshire during daylight hours. I seldom ride at night during the winter for fear of hitting unseen ice. The coldest morning of Jan 2011 in Strafford was -9 °F, so I decided to go for a ride for the fun of it. By the time I met Harry in Rochester it had already warmed up to -5. The roads in the center of Rochester were really bad. People don't brush the snow off their cars, so when they come to a stop at the lights, snow and ice slides off and hits the road. I was very careful stopping at the lights. When the light turned green, I would start riding with both feet on the road like skis. The bike still fishtailed all over the place, and my maximum speed in town was around 25 miles an hour. I caused a mini parade in town and some of the drivers were angry about the delay. I'm sorry about that, but I do have a bit of advice. If you start cleaning the snow off your cars then the roads will not be as messy and we can drive closer to a normal speed.