After a couple months of electric winter riding, Kyle from Aerostich has the Zero Below Zero routine down...and he could get used it.
We ran a story last month about Aerostich's wild plan to test the Zero FX in freezing Duluth, Minnesota. With their permission, we will be sharing the blogged thoughts of their select group of testers. Stay warm and enjoy!
For the 7 years I have worked at Aerostich, winter conversations among riders around the factory always seem to weave their way to talking about motorcycles. From how late you rode into the Fall, to hoping for an early Spring and often concluding with dreams of riding in the Winter. The Zero Below Zero project has made that dream a reality this season for many of us. It’s notable how this went from an idea and dream to an everyday (and practical) reality. The first Winter ride on the Zero for me was filled with excitement, enthusiasm and more than a little nervous anticipation. The more I get to ride it, the easier it gets. Riding a Zero Electric motorcycle in the Winter in Duluth seemed like such an exotic, mysterious and dangerous concept only a few short months ago...but today it feels routine. Temps hovering above zero for the ride home today (6ºF) meant layering up and plugging in electrics, but with mostly dry roads, buzzing along in traffic felt pretty much like any other ride home, any other time of the year. With the right gear, mindset and motorcycle set-up, everyday riding – even in Winter - has become the new normal. I could get used to this.
Just the Eggs - 2/14/16
This was my first weekend to have the Zero and due to personal commitments, Saturday was spent shuttling my kids to soccer and volleyball practices. When my wife mentioned on Sunday morning that we needed to get eggs, I wasted no time to gear up and be out the door and hop on the Zero to run that errand. The local gas station is about a mile away and has the best price on eggs in town, so I stroll up to the counter with eggs in hand, still fully geared up. The clerk looks at me and asks, “Did you have any fuel out there today?”. I smile and tell him “No, I’m riding an electric motorcycle today”, to which he replies “Cool, I guess you don’t need a carwash today then either”. Nope, no carwash today, but this spur of the moment opportunity to ride is not to be squandered. It’s a comfortable 13ºF out, I am wearing my WarmBib and chopper style mittens, combined with the heated grips I’m comfortable and warm. Yes, I think I’ll take the ‘long’ way home.
The eggs are placed into the Aerostich LP Bag I keep in my Roadcrafter cargo pocket, I put on the backpack straps and after a quick photo stop next to the Electric Vehicle Charging area it was time to ride. Light fluffy snowflakes had just started to fall as I pointed the Zero down the hill and toward Lake Superior and Canal Park. Time for a few quick photos in front of Duluth’s iconic lift bridge and then back to the ride. The snow is coming down heavier now and beginning to accumulate in a slushy mix on the roadway, but the bike charges through without incident. The whole trip lasted about an hour start to finish, and the 19.9 miles covered was my furthest personal ride on the Zero to date. The battery indicator had run down to 58%. The cold doesn’t seem to be having too much effect on the overall distances, since the Zero brochure lists the combine range for this FX at 49 miles (82 miles City/35 miles Highway). If the snow hadn’t been coming down heavier and accumulating, I would have tried to squeeze every last mile out of it. Sounds like another challenge for another ride day.
Fresh Snow and Back to Work - 2/15/16
Looking out the window for the Monday morning commute and there is several inches of fresh, fluffy snow that fell overnight. Before gearing up in the Roadcrafter and riding down the hill, it was time to fire up the snowblower and clear the driveway. The snow plow had already made a pass though the neighborhood, so the roadway was mostly clear for the ride to work, with a navigable mix of hardpack, clear and slushy spots. After clearing the snow off the Zero, it was time to navigate the side streets down the hill to the factory. There were a few slushy spots along the way, but the further I rode down the hill, the more the roads just became wet instead of a snow mix. I savored the quiet ride through the back streets, realizing this would be my last ride on the Zero for more than a week. I pull up in front of the building and snap a few photos quick. After parking the bike this morning and turn over the keys to Bruce, it is time for me to pack up my bag and take off for the Aerostich Las Vegas Pop-Up event. At least the weather forecast looks nice for Vegas this coming week, but I’ll miss being able to ride. Looking forward to meeting and greeting lots of riders at the pop-up. I’m sure I’ll swap a few stories about winter riding on the Zero too. Stop on by and visit us in Vegas!
Kyle - Aerostich Marketing and Graphics. Everyday ride is an ‘08 Kawasaki Versys, used to commute about 4500 miles per year.
Rider factoid: Enjoys riding in the rain and the jealous looks of youth soccer players (and a few mom’s) when dropping off his daughter on the bike for soccer practices and games.