Common Tread

Zero motorcycle, zero gas, below-zero commute

Feb 12, 2016

I'm a sucker for stories about riders doing stuff "normal" people would never consider and using utterly inappropriate motorcycles to do it.

That's why I've happily published stories here about endurance racing Honda Cubs in Japan or racing a pizza trike and a Ducati Panigale on a dirt track. Personally, one of my most memorable rides was participating in a non-stop charity race ride around Lake Erie on a Suzuki GN125.

Which brings us to Duluth, Minn. Wait, how did we get to Duluth? Never mind. Just know these basic facts. It's cold in Duluth, even in the summer, especially when the wind is coming off that huge ice bowl called Lake Superior. If you ride a motorcycle, you have to be a little crazy to live there. But since that's where Aerostich gear is made, some crazy and seriously dedicated motorcyclists do live there, and this year they decided to collectively commute to work on an electric Zero FX dual-sport bike with studded tires.

This particular ill-advised plan is being fitfully recorded in the Zero Below Zero Blog at Aerostich. (I say "fitfully" because entries have trailed off as the soul-crushing realities of February set in. Can I blame them? Not really. I feel their pain and I live quite a bit further south.) The video below captures one 20-minute commute through a light northern Minnesota snowfall.

A tweet this week noted that the temperatures made the Zero Below Zero name literal. It was -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

I've ridden in some cold temperatures. A short ride to work at seven degrees was my personal record, set many years ago. I have also ridden on the street in the snow a few times, but never intentionally. I'll leave that to the hardier folks at Aerostich — and follow their progress via their blog, at a safe distance, and through a nice, warm computer. I wish them the best. I hope they get some spring weather by June.