After reading it recently, I thought it was time to write about a lesser known side....dealing with public restrooms while riding a motorcycle in cold weather. This is written from fact...based upon my solo motorcycle trips over the last couple of years.
Now imagine a cold winter day. Your bladder has reacted in double-time to the one cup of coffee you just HAD to have at the last gas stop, also used to warm your hands as well as your insides, and the vibration of the motorcycle, all combined with the cold.
You spy a gas station, pull in and immediately have to make a decision. Do you pump gas first and then move bike out of the way or is it slow enough that you can head to the bathroom first. Sometimes the decision is made for you, you KNOW that you can't take the time to get gas first.
So you head inside, praying that this isn't one of the 10% of places that still have outside bathrooms. Depending on how cold you are and how much function is left in your fingers, you may or may not take off your helmet.
Ah, you spot the sign! It's inside and available. If you took off your helmet you now have to find a place for it, preferably not the floor. If you're real lucky you get a handicapped stall with a Koala baby seat, pull it down and start stacking up the gear. Next best case is the Koala seat outside the stall where you can at least drop the helmet and maybe your jacket.
Now remember, it's COLD. This isn't just a matter of unzipping your jeans. Oh no, that would be too easy. First you have to unzip your jacket because it's 3/4 length. Of course this is only done after taking off gloves & glove liners. Then you have to unzip the polar fleece under that. Since it's really cold you now have to negotiate the textile riding pants (zipper number 3), the zipper on your jeans, and then a layer of either polar fleece, long underwear or at a minimum tights. Finally down to the last layer, undies. And don't forget, with each layer peeled off, the stack of material above your knees grows higher,so now one last push to be sure you can clear the cloth. At least you have no purse to worry about, everything critical is in the various pockets of your riding jacket.
Now you go into the stance, having done your best to follow the "wipe or cover" the seat procedure outlined in the email message. At least you have your Kleenex handy if needed. Um, well, you do if you didn't leave your jacket outside with your helmet.
Finally.....ahhhhhh, there is no better feeling.
Done, you stand up. Now, remember that helmet you left on because you were in a hurry? Well you are quickly reminded it's there when your bent stance slams it into the back of the door (unless, again, you were lucky enough to get an oversized handicapped stall). Hoping you haven't permanently damaged it so that you have no protection in a crash, you start pulling up and re-zipping all the layers .
This is when you hope there is no line waiting for a stall, ask any woman out there about restroom lines. It takes time and a lot of it to pull everything back together. When several women are riding together, we find ourselves stumbling out of the stall with layers pulled up but unzipped, finishing that process outside so the next lady can enter and start her own trip of joy.
So the next time you head into a bathroom stall, remember, it could be winter and you could be wearing riding gear!
|Touring in 2005|