This week it seems we have skipped straight over fall and gone directly into winter, at least temperature-wise. We had a nice windstorm on Monday/Tuesday and it's been very chilly in the mornings, down in the low forties already. I saw a temperature of 39.2 degrees at the bottom of my hill yesterday morning on my way to work, that's pretty darn cold for October in Seattle.
The cold weather means more than just another blanket on the bed at night, however, it also means both Chris and I are now wearing all of our motorcycle gear for our commute. Right now, my winter kit consists of the following items:
Olympia AST three-quarter length jacket in grey
Gerbing heated jacket liner in black
Olympia Promax armored pants in black
Oxtar Sunray Gore-Tex boots in black (recently rebranded as TCX)
Scorpion Exo700 helmet in Black Dahlia
Fieldsheer Polar gloves in men's XS, black
Schampa Doo-Z helmet liner in black
Turtle Fur fleece tube neckpiece in black/blue
Conic Fit earplugs
It sounds like a lot of stuff, but it's not really all that much when you put it on even though it can get bulky and time consuming. And after all, all but the helmet liner and fleece tube are necessary for safety! I had forgotten just how bulky the pants are when the liner is in, so that took some getting used over the last two days - I lose some of my leg length on the bike due to the extra fabric, making it a little harder to put a foot down safely.
Of all the gear, however, the most important piece for comfort is the heated jacket liner and the built-in heated grips on my bike. Without those two I would be cold and very unhappy, and probably unable to ride during the winter. On the old bike I was OK without the jacket until about December, but there was also a bigger windshield and more protected riding position on that bike. On the BMW my head, shoulders, and upper chest are pretty much completely exposed unless I'm laying down over the bike, and that is only feasible at speed on the highway and isn't terribly comfortable. As of yesterday morning riding on the highway was not fun at all, even with all the gear, so today I took Lake City Way in to avoid the highway as much as possible.
Despite what many people think, I actually enjoy riding in the cold and rain to an extent. Yeah, misty rain that continually covers my helmet is annoying, as is slightly-cold-rain that makes my visor fog up. There is just something about being encased in my gear and riding along in the elements that driving a car just can't match. I'll keep riding because of that.