Saturday, January 30

Motorcycle Meter

Tracy Wilkinson, in his blog, here, occasionally drives in to work, only to find out it really didn't snow, or turn into an electrical storm, or whatever. I have a cure for his "bad ju ju" weather days. I call it the "Motorcycle Meter. It's very simple, and a good morale boost to a cyclist that drove in on a day that didn't turn out as nasty as expected.

Heat, cold, rain, lightning, hail, and other weather affects both motorcyclists and cyclists. Observing the daily increase and decrease of the numbers of motorcycles parked in their designated area outside my building, it occurred to me that the motorcycle count might be useful as a measure of how pleasant it'll be for cycling on the trip home. And so "The Motorcycle Meter," or MM was born. Conveniently, a really nice day at my building results in 10 or maybe a couple more motorcyles. 10 or more thus gives me a "Ten" on the MM. A really NASTY day may drop the motorcycle population down to 1 or 2. What's really cool is that the daily MM reading is not purely a weather measure, but also includes how much motorcyclists have been missing their rides, and it is tailored to this locale. Just as in the case of cyclists, a motorcyclist's definition of "too cold to ride" is different in Manitoba than in San Diego. Certainly the MM is not a perfect predictor for cyclists. For example, short days and wind affect cyclists more than motorcyclists, whereas gas price spikes increase the MM reading more than a cycling equivalent. Still it's pretty good.

This means we can move beyond crude descriptions of commute cyclists as "hard core" or "just a fair weather cyclist." Tracy, when he finds out where the motorcyles park at his office, can pat himself on the back, if he drove his Jeep in on a motorycle-free day, for his excellent and prudent judgment. On the OTHER hand, if he rode in and those motorcycles are all absent, he ought to check the weather report to find out what he missed. My own threshold is a two or three. Rantwick is definitely no higher than a one.

Yesterday, at my building, the MM stood at 1. I felt immensely pleased at having driven into work. I DID feel sorry for the poor, benighted motorcyclist who had to ride home on that cold, wet, freezing thing. One might wonder if our first warning of Armageddon will be that all the motorcycles disappear?

6 comments:

Keri said...

I like it!

I would definitely prefer to be on a bicycle in the rain than a motorcycle. But, yeah, wind is a whole other thing.

Tracy Wilkins said...

Ha! Nice observations!

Steve A said...

First we fix Tracy's problem about regretting not riding when he doesn't get snow dumped all over him and then we deal with that fixation about not getting on a bike without going 20 miles. Anyway, start watching those motorcycles at work.

Chandra said...

Using the "P Word" (Predictor), eh? Now, you are talking moi language. Good going, my main man! A predictor or you might even call it a proxy. As you duly noted, it can be kinda biased in its prediction of the # of cyclists. It's all good!

Peace :)

Velouria said...

Funny : )
This reminds me of how my grandmother - with whom I occasionally lived when I was a young child - determined how cold it was outside: She would look out of the window at the kindergarten playground down the street and see what the other children were wearing.

Steve A said...

Smart grandmother!

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