Monsoon Season and the Failure of the High Viz Jacket

Was looking a bit dorky and walked to the local coffee shop a half block away from work to procure some hot chocolate for our handbell choir event this week in my brighter-than-the-sun high viz rain jacket.  Two cars almost ran me over.  I could still see my work building and two whole vehicles didn’t see me and could have flattened me.  As a pedestrian.

My high viz jacket makes me feel fairly invincible as a pedestrian.  I’m not stupid.  I look at the cars to make sure they’re stopping and that they appear to see me.  How could they not see this?:

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I thought the first guy in the truck saw me -I even waved- and I didn’t realize until my heels were in jeopardy that there was problem.  He looked apologetic at least.  Within 6 feet another truck turning out of the same spot (with a stop sign) nearly took out my toes.   Another apologetic wave.

I actually wasn’t mad.  It’s easy to forget to look out for pedestrians.  I drive a car, too.  But riding and walking in hostile environments has made me aware of the underlying issues in such interactions.  Also, I like to read books like Straphanger by Taras Grescoe and watch films like Urbananized by Gary Hustwit that challenge the often unquestioned supremacy of the automobile.  Good thing doing yoga has made me a more compassionate person, too.

I hope that nearly running over a person in a cross walk wearing high viz yellow when they were supposed to have stopped was the little jolt each needed to pay better attention while driving.

“Invigorating” or soggy?

It seems like wet coast winters are getting colder the last few years.  That crisp, clear, and dry kind of day with brilliant sunshine.  Not the October to April uninterrupted drudgery of rain and soggy everything that has people in a mood where the only thing they can manage is to complain that IT HASN’T STOPPED RAINING.

I spent two winters in Edmonton, AB while I was going to the U of A for my Master’s in Library and Information Studies.  Unused to the brightness, I sometimes wore sunglasses inside my apartment.  Still, I liked how the snow was dry and roads generally were not slippery (except for that one year that there was a frozen ice sheet and all of the snow landed on top of it all winter with no chance of melting until April or May, of course).  Invigorating!

This relatively new properly cold weather gets me excited about snowshoeing and sunny days and not being sopping wet whenever I try go anywhere.  Dog people walk no matter how horrific the rain.

We are into our second stretch of cold and clear.  Your clothing strategy for getting to work warm is certainly different.  I got quite used to the cold, dry weather and started scheming about hand muffs and ninja turtle gloves to combat the tips of my fingers going numb.  I also schemed about adding more fake fur into the inside of my Tucano Urbano Termoscud around where it meets my lap and the sides of my legs.  (I am seldom too warm in the winter.)

Crunchy leaves are a big thing to me:

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Something in glorious full bloom in early November with a perfect blue sky:

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When the rain started it was all about being florescent in the mist, rain pants and rain jackets meeting seamlessly, and hydrophobic coatings on my windshield and face shield.

A change is as good as a rest, but if i had to choose I would choose the cold, clear weather.

I had sole custody of the car last week (a rainy one), and only managed to psych myself up to ride by Wednesday.  On Wednesday I promptly dropped my helmet on the ground and broke my poor face shield, which destroyed the rest of my riding week as driving rain in the eyes is a safety concern.  Face shield is now replaced and has a better hinge so no annoying semi-flapping now.

Are you a wet or cold weather commuter?

Probably not so fixable

Thud, snap!  Helmet falling from eye height shelf in my office to the ground, the visor that I never really cared for much broken on the one side.  Not gonna work.  Oh crapsicles.  I am not so delusional that I will try to glue this back together.  Having it give way on the road seems like a terrible idea.  (Epoxying my rubber boots last month DID teach me something -epoxy cannot fix everything.)

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Not a quick trip to the store after work, this one.  Will have to make replacing a priority this weekend.  Made it home fairly uncomfortably.  The rain was driving in around my glasses.  I hunkered behind my tall windshield, my back and shoulders complaining.  The rain, the different visibility through the windshield, and the 5pm darkness were a bit scary.  I realized that hunching threw my centre of balance way off -we are supposed to be tall in the seat to be well balanced as my parking lot cone test taught me!  I will be taking advantage of the car tomorrow.

Making Old Gear New Again

One of the most aesthetically attractive aspects of my Vespa GT200 when I was purchasing it was the gorgeous Prima luggage roll. (Sonja M so nicely captured it in the Craigslist ad photos as below.)  Top cases seemed pretty mandatory during my research phase -a scooter without a top case seemed akin to a car without a trunk. I did briefly wonder what the heck would fit in one, but was quickly distracted by the fact that it would be lockable.

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Fortunately in addition to the lovely lines it produces on the Vespa, the luggage roll is so functional. Like I can buy a thing of low-sodium vegetable stock at Costco and stick it in there, plus my purse and one other random piece of clothing that I always seem to be carrying. Or I can fit in my monster work bag and a change or shoes.

The strapping over the roll has always been in a bit rough shape since I’ve had it but everything worked and the former owner had judiciously used zap straps to keep the whole apparatus together. This fall it really dawned on me that I need to take action. Being down one main strap was still okay but when your second buckle almost falls off that is sort of it.

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An inspection of the underside of the bag turned up a similarly disturbing state of affairs.

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One of my main motivations in adopting a scooter lifestyle was to tread more lightly from a waste and consumption angle. (2 years of commuting to Squamish on the improved but still deadly Sea-to-Sky highway really did in my interest in commuting by car.) So throwing out a giant plasticized bag with working zippers seemed very counter to that goal. Also, the shipping and duty in ordering another piece of gear were just too much to bear.

A lovely coworker suggested I try take it to a cobbler. Which seems obvious but really isn’t all that self-evident to a child of the 80s. So, I dropped my bag off at Nanaimo Shoe Repair on Saturday and got a quote of about $35. A new bag runs $134.99 USD +shipping +duty… +throwing something out that is still mostly in working order.

It’s going to be done in leather, so that should stand up a bit better than vinyl in the sun. I will be asking for some wet leather tips when I pick it up.