Monday, March 21, 2011

Motorcycle Riding Daylight Savings Time...

It is generally acknowledged by the multitudes who do not live their lives by timeless good advice that Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the stove, conscience of the first Continental Congress, the US government’s first representative to the soon to be disenfranchised Royal Court of France, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence was a meddling old pain in the ass. Having exhausted all the immediate means of annoying everyone around him with statements like, “Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today,” Franklin wrote an essay called, “An Economical Experiment.” This is the earliest recorded argument in favor of “Daylight Savings Time,” a plan to get the most out of natural light by advancing the clock one hour.

I get great satisfaction from the realization that Franklin would have been burned at the stake if he had tried to perpetrate this nonsense 300 years earlier.

Above: Ben Franklin, US patriot and general pain in the ass when it came to clever sayings. He thought Daylight Savings Time was a great idea. Portrait from Wikipedia.

Yet on the second Sunday of March, most of the states in the US deprived me of an hour’s rest, or an hour’s drinking, or an hour’s reading, or an hour of doing anything, by advancing the clock 60 minutes ahead. According to Franklin, and legions of behavioral experts, most people would rather do stuff later in the day, utilizing natural light, as opposed to gradually easing into the day as we head toward summer. I have since heard other claims that Dickensian factories banged away a few extra hours in the day, for which immigrant labor went largely unpaid, making the best of natural light filtering in through dirty skylights. And farmers could easily rake hay, muck horse shit, or sing to the pigs, also making the best out of existing light.

And this doesn’t even touch Franklin’s claim that advancing the clock conserves whale oil, which is now the primary lubricant for most Ducati’s.

But I have found damn little to benefit me in the daylight savings scheme. Some claim you get the “hour” back in the fall, but that’s just bullshit. Suppose I’m doing something important at 1am, on the second Saturday of March — like knocking off a piece? Am I going to get that particular hour back in the fall? Does the gentle Twisted Roads reader know how many times I have scheduled an hour of creative sexual gymnastics for that Saturday night, only to be cheated out of it by an “atomic” alarm clock that immediately jumps ahead one hour? And what about getting the hour back in the fall? I’m usually cleaning the garage, working in the garden, or trying to get the damn harvest in when I discover I’ve been awarded my free hour. Who the hell wants a free hour of that stuff?

I first began to combat daylight savings time 23 years ago. I would dutifully turn the clock ahead one hour every spring as required... But opted not to turn it back in the fall. Year after year, I would willing lose an hour, without expecting, nor getting, a damn thing in return... Until this year. This year, I opted to take all of the 24 hours I had coming to me in one lump sum, giving me a whole day frozen in time. The plan did not work as well as I thought it would. Though working with a 24-year payoff in mind, each year would bring me an hour closer to another time zone. By this March, I was on Beijing time, an entire day ahead of my clients in the US. Then, in one fell swoop, I was on Riepe time... A full day behind the world, in a dimension of my own.

I thought I could spend day the doing exactly what I would have used all those hours for — getting my horn honked. That was my first misconception. Fat chance. My next shot was for being out on my bike, but it rained that day and I since I was the only person using this unique approach, I couldn’t switch days.

And then the solution hit me — just as lightening must have hit Franklin in the ass at one time or another. I would create: MRDST, Motorcycle Riding Daylight Savings Time.

This is an amazing process. Utilizing MRDST, there is no need to get up early in the morning to get in a full day’s ride. The new system will give you all the riding time you need. For example, sleep until 10am and wake up gently, at your special pace, to enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee. When mounting the bike, set the clock back 3 hours to 7 am. This will be the new MRDST factor. When do you advance the clock forward an equal amount of time? When confronted with something really unpleasant — like the Monday morning office meeting with the boss. Just go in at the usual (unadjusted time), and turn the clock ahead the missing three hours, sparing yourself three hours of scalding hot air from someone least qualified to tell you how to do your job.

Now the concept of MRDST is neither entirely new, nor entirely mine. It has been thoroughly tested by millions of unknown and unnamed riding pioneers, who have responded to sensitive domestic inquires, such as “when do you intend to come home,” with, “When I’m done riding.” That is the essence of the MRDST program.

Now there are some drawbacks to this approach. For example, it works best when limited to a single 3- to 6-hour extension per week. Some riders find the MRDST approach so comforting and personally satisfying, that they attempt to turn the clock back a week or so at a time. Things get confusing at that point, and the difference between a week and a month becomes blurred. One Harley rider of my acquaintance, Jesse Kissmyass (not his real name) starting turning the clock back a season at a time. His intent was to eliminate the winter of his life on an annual basis. A BMW rider, Clyde Douchely (his real name) attempted to keep himself young by extending his riding months, and eliminating those months in which his in-laws visited.

But the truth is that a motorcycle is a time machine in itself... No other mechanical contrivance is so effective in making you feel like a kid. Twisting the throttle turns a middle-aged rider into a predatory cat (not like a leopard but more like a saber-toothed tiger). And have you ever noticed that you’re ready to mate like a mink on steroids after a sizzling ride? Fooling around with the clock might buy you some time or cost you an hour every now and again... But a motorcycle renews your soul, and that’s the best way to get the most out of the hours you have on earth.

Spring officially arrived yesterday, in West Chester, Pa, but it was here a week ago when the peepers came out in all the streams and damp meadows. (It went down to 36ยบ two nights later, and I’m afraid thousands of those wonderful little frogs might have frozen their little brown asses off.) The daffodils are blooming out front, and two crocus blossoms are in the garden. My de facto grandson dropped a couple of gummy worms out in the yard, and I watched a fat-assed robin walking around with a red and green one sticking out of his beak.

Above: Thousands of "Spring Peepers" sound off with a soothing note of annual renewal, as we get a few days with temperatures in the 50's (F). And then we get a frost again, and they're sorry they said anything. Photo from Wikipedia.

My local BMW riding club, the Mac-Pac, had their first breakfast of spring on Sunday morning (yesterday, March 20, 2011), and I humiliated myself by arriving in the Subaru. We get our own private room at the diner because watching the Siegfried boys eat en masse is not a pretty thing. My appearance was unexpected and the only sound you could hear when I stepped in was coming from my hips and knees. I could barely walk. But I am stretching my joints a couple of times a day, and doing what I can to improve the range of motion. Saturday, April 2nd, is gassing day and we are converging on the Qurentin Haus Restaurant,in Quentin, Pa, at 1pm.

I have no idea when I’m going to get there, as I’ll be on Motorcycle Riding Daylight Savings Time.

I am coming out of the far end of the asthmatic bronchial thing, and it looks like I may have dodged the really annoying bullet. The wheeze deprived me of sleep for nearly two weeks, and I have been off my oats for a long time. Today’s post will see a resumption of the Monday/Thursday publication dates for Twisted Roads.

I have accrued a ton of letters from readers, next Thursday’s post will be “Dispatches From The Front.”

All Points Bulletin:
Do you have a BMW K75 with the "rare " Sprint Fairing (generally around 1986)? If so, contact me at I want to do a special story on these bikes for my monthly column in the BMW MOA magazine — Owner's News. I am very interested in a copper-colored one up in Oregon or Washington State (US).

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011
All rights reserved


BeemerGirl said...

I would love to see Daylight Saving Time done away with. I have some family in that pesky and forward thinking state of Arizona out there that doesn't given in to peer pressure. So my mother is always asking "Are we two hours different or three?"

MRDST is an interesting concept. But I find it might wind up like Kick the Can (Twilight Zone). We will wind the clocks back all the way...

-Steel Cupcake

Unknown said...

Jack rIEPE:

I wished we had double daylight savings time all year round. I like more light at the end of the day.

At least you are mobile, 4 wheels work if 2 wheels don't. Glad you got to attend the breakfast meeting

Riding the Wet Coast

Rhonda said...

Jack, have you ever thought of a career as a philosopher? I truly think you are a Renaissance man! On luxury weekends, I also use the MRDST (although never given an official name). Mostly because we never leave on our original scheduled plan so I just pretend that we are and end up extending our day well into our night. It all works out in the end, doesn't it?

RichardM said...

I agree that DST needs to be done away with. It no longer serves any purpose except cause confusion. Alaska used to have four time zones. Some idiot politician thought it would be a good idea to have the whole state in one time zone. They picked the one furthest east. The way this messes up your day is really evident in the winter. If you are in the western part of the state, you could have sunrise at 1 pm and sunset at 4 pm. Bobskoot, if you want double DST, come up to AK. That is essentially what we have now that the politicians had their way....


Bluekat said...

I love daylight savings time! Gotta agree with Bobskoot on this one - DST all year long! Periodically it gets expanded by a week or so - Yay, one step closer to the goal.

ADK said...

You may well have been laying around pretending to have cat flu or something, but you are obviously not answering your email.
So is that, I-don't-give-a-shit-what-fucking-time-it-is, you're on now?

One benefit of MRDST is that it might allow you time to catch up with the rest of the riding party.

It's snowing here, and will barely get above 35 degrees for the next week or more. So forgive Cantwell and I as we bed down for another month of virtual MRDST.

Anonymous said...

upon completing the MRDST analysis a few years back, the solution revealed itself to be counterintuitive. by remanding one's self (and steed) to a lower latitude, the days become more uniform - less daylight in the summer, more in the winter (in equal amounts, no less). The benefit comes outside of the two weeks northern mainlanders call summer where one may ride to heart's content on days ending in the letter Y.

An added benefit are the plethora of barren and pristine wilderness areas just off the main road where it is possible to sate one's revitalized libido by shagging in the manner of a Bahama bunny, with the only risk being a sunburned behind.

Making the most of the lower latitudes,

Chuck on Fleming.

John's a doofus, Ihor said...

Rhonda take note!

John your damaged brain is showing and the dogs want a taste! This flight of foundless hope reminds one of our hike up Mt. Jo with KO; when you longed to be back in the parking lot at the Loj. Keep working on it, but don't neglect other pressing matters of research (under something in the garage or back at the storage unit) such as cold fusion, human organ cloning and perfecting your steam powered genuflecting leg brace.

Allen Madding said...

Daylight Savings Time has outlived its usefulness. But I am afraid MRDST misses the mark too. What I propose is NMRVH, National Motorcycle Riding Variable Holiday. Any day that has clear skies and temps over 50F should be declared a holiday. All motorcycle riders are granted a paid day off to go ride.


Anonymous said...

Dear Captain Obvious,

Why didn't you use MRDST to 'alleviate' your bronchial problem by setting the clock 2 weeks ahead?


General Obvious

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
I love Daylight Savings Time. Going to bed at 7:30PM is like having a warm cup of cocoa and taking a nap in the afternoon when the sun is still shining. Then when I get up at 2AM to take a leak it's like getting up pre-dawn to start an engine rebuild on my bike. Or maybe I'll just go back to sleep and let Betty Jo, the BMW mechanic do the engine rebuild.

Nikos said...

The Romans did it the right way using sun dials, water and the good old orgy.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steel Cupcake (Lori):

I will not notice Daylight Savings Time in the summer, when it is light at 5am and when the rose-colored sky is still above us at 9pm.

Thank you for reading my trip and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

I have big riding plans for the summer, so back to the dieting (like a fiend) and the exercise for me. I am a week away from my first test ride.

Thanks for your kind note of encouragement.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rhonda:

Do philosophers have to get up and go to work? And what does the job pay? I am thrilled that somewhere in this world, a woman sees me as a Renaissance man. I define my schedule by the intensity with which I must concentrate on key issues. If riding requires my concentration on a weekend, everything else is subject to reconsideration.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M.:

Living close to Lancaster, the epic-center of the great Amish Empire, we have two time zones: 2011 and 1890. I'm not sure if conveniences like a washing machine measure up to the joys of getting up at 4am to put your hands around a cows teats. But these folks like it.

As I said, I like daylight at 5am, and throughout the day until 9pm. But I do dread stepping out into the sun at 6am, and sweating like a pig.

Life is one huge compromise after another.

Fondest regards,
Jack • Reep * Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BlueKat:

I love 16 hours of daylight, provided I can step into the air conditioning during the day to really appreciate civilization.

Thanks for reading my blog, and for chiming in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris):

I'm glad it's snowing on you. I hope it is snowing in the house too. And even if I have to hire two people to hoist my dead ass on my bike, I'm going to ride two months before you do.

And when the wind is blowing through my hair, I am going to think of the layer of ice over your boney, British ass, and realize there is justice in the world.

I found yiur e-mail under "spam," and answered it.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chuck On Flemming:

The disadvantage to living on the Tropic of Hell are the months of June, July, and August. I can't imagine trying to get laid on the sand of scorpion-riddled Key West, where the summer heat mummifies anything out in the raw atmosphere.

Neverthe less, you and I are going to ride over to Beattie's house one day, sit on on his porch. drink ourselves into a stupor, and entertain the neighbors by singing all 125 verses of Bsarnicle Bill The Sailor.

Thank you for reading and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

My gentle Twisted Roads readers must think you and I speak in a code from time to time. So I'm going to translate:

Ihor and I once took it upon ourselfs to climb the lowest mountain in the Adirondacks for a lark. Mt. Jo is a nice 1200 foot rise that looms over Heart Lake. It was at a point in my life when my knees were just starting to go. We made it to the top in good time, and spent a few minutes admiring the view.

Then we started down. The rise is steep, but nothing serious. (There are places in the Adirondackls where trails lead to ladders drilled into the rock wall faces. ) My knees wrre acting like air brakes on a 747. We hit a level stretch, and the exercise felt good. I said to Ihor, "Too bad it isn't all like this."

Ihor looked at me like I was a total dope, and he said, "Well you can't just walk over this level stretch 17 times, earn a credit, and suddenly be in the parking lot by the car."

It was such a preposterously funny thing to say, or even think, that I laughed all the way down.

Thanks for calling that episode to mind, Ihor.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

You know, if my knees and hips were arthritis-free, I'd be going through a set of tires on this bike every three months. I can't think of anything I like to do more than ride. If it were up to me, I'd make a special, lockable PVC carrier for my Kermit chair — and for a small ultra-light fishing rig. Then I would kill a few hours each week fishing in the streams around here. I'd get nothing dome, regrdless of the time.

Thanks for readng my tripe, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

Did you resd the fine print? You should only do one 3 to 6-hour period per week. That wouldn't help with a cold nor the clap.

Thank you for reading my blog and for making me your role model for life.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dickie:

The day is coming when the red phoenix will again ridse from the ashes of winter. I'm fooling around with gear and stuff in the garage ever day now. I want to start riding next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Officially, I want to roll the beast out of the garage for Gassing Day on April 2nd.

I checked the map, and RT. 322 out of Downingtown will bring us nearly to the diner, but I think we should get underway around 10am. The Turnpike doe the same thing but with less elan.

Let's chat.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

When in Rome, oe even when just thinking about it... Looking forward to July.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Anonymous said...

Jack -

Au contrare on the heat thing; one becomes encased in a thin film of perspiration which makes a great lubricant under the right conditions.

That - and given the height and physique of one's partner, it is possible to shag on one's feet - a tree trunk serves as a head steady.

And yes - defiling the Limey Italian's porch would be the order of the day. The tainted snail mail you sent him turned the trick, he's hacking up a lung as you read this.

Chuck on Fleming.

ADK said...

Dear Jack,

Thank you for reading my blog and leaving such a kind and sensitive comment.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK:

You don't have a blog.You have a rotating Tibetan Denial Wheel that you spin each time before mounting your collection of discount motorcycles.

Fondest regards and fuck you,
Jacl • reep • Toad

Ken said...

We share opinions on DST, it stinks. Great post!

ADK said...


Steve Williams said...

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Before I comment first I want to say, "Don't diss Ben. Just don't do it." Without him you wouldn't be sitting in your throne all happy and witty.

So don't diss Ben. Besides, he was all about time and wouldn't want you losing that event in bed. Didn't he say, "
Lost time is never found again."

Anyways, I just hate hearing you complain even though it's always done in a masterful manner. But I can't help but think Mr. Hunter Thompson, had he heard you talking like this, would have told you to shut up and ride.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK:

"Ouch" is the best you can do? Are you still sick? The last time I saw you you said "good morning" by calling me a "stupid Irish bastard."

I'll call you tonight. I want to pick your brain about something.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve (Scooter in the Sticks):

I never complain. I rave. By the way, my vision of Ben Franklin is best summed up by the way actor Frank DiSilva portrayed him in the movie version of 1776. My friend Ihor most closely fits the characterization of Samual Adams.

Admitedly, this wasn't one of my better blog episodes. I'll try harder. The trouble is the winter is over and I have not yet begun to ride. My official surfacing date is April 2, 2011. And I have neve had joint stiffness like I have now. I am concerned about holding this red bastard steady at stop lights.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken:

Franklin said, "What can't be cured must be endured."

Fondest rtegards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

I have long been trying to advance a simpler system as well. When the sun comes up it is time to ride. When the sun goes down it is time to find a marguerita and a senorita.


ADK said...

Hey Taft, still waiting for your phone call.

My feelings were hurt.

The Armed Christian said...

Old Ben also advocated a steady diet of oatmeal (not just for breakfast) but also for lunch and dinner. He wasn't an evil man just very tricky. He spouted all this crap on the public side but was a womanizing, drunkard on the private side. Kind of like a lot of RUBs I have met.

Me? I just try not to scare the normals too much.

I have considered moving to Arizona just to get away from DST. But, I am a son of the Gulf Coast. My gills would dry out and I would die a slow and agonizing death like a fish on the dock.


P.S. This wad another Egan-esque post and I loved it.