BBBC #8 – The Weather

8 Feb

When Hubby and I first started riding together 15 or so years ago — has it really been that long!?! — weather had a way of quashing our plans.

We were fair weather riders back then, probably because we also didn’t have proper gear. I’m a bit embarassed now to admit it wasn’t until I experienced a different type of riding during our 2010 trip to Europe that I started wearing real gear. It used to be I’d just insist on heavy jeans, boots, and a long-sleeved shirt. On really hot days, I even used to ride in tank tops. Thank goodness I survived.

image

Wearing full gear really does make a difference. Now I can ride in cooler temperatures, and rain doesn’t really phase me. Sometimes, rain can even be pleasant, given the right environment.

Last years’ jaunt down the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) comes to mind. It was late-afternoon on my first day when thunderstorms started rolling through. The first one looked like a doozy. Since I saw it coming AND just happened to be at a tiny little visitor’s center, I decided to wait that one out. Later, as more storms approached, I just donned the waterproof layer and rode on.

Most other folk had abandoned the Parkway by then, so an already light traffic day morphed into me having the road practically to myself. The 45 mph speed limit is strictly enforced, so I motored casually along. It made it more of an adventure for me in a way.

I’ll admit, the lightning and thunder had me a teeny bit weirded out, but not enough to make me want to stop.

Doozy of a Thunderstorm

Doozy of a Thunderstorm

Okay, had I seen that one coming, I might have stopped. If there’d been a place to shelter (there wasn’t). But, if I remember correctly, it just seemed like more rain showers until I rounded a corner and found myself in the middle of a hefty storm. I just slowed down a plodded along. The alternative was stopping and just sitting in the rain. In my mind, it made just as much sense to keep moving.

I took the picture above shortly after driving through that mess.

Riding in the rain does sound scary. Once you’ve done it a few times, you realize it’s not so bad. Granted, I wouldn’t want to do it on city streets in heavy traffic. But the BRP is a great place for foul-weather riding practice.

I’ve been told it can get quite foggy up there at times. That would freak me out more. There are enough critters living in those woods — deer and bears are the big ones — that I’d much rather have a clear line of sight. If I’m going to hit one of those suckers, I’d really rather see it coming, I think.

I’d love to ride in snow. I love snow! But it’s slippery stuff.

I don’t mind the cold as much as I used to and now, since Hubby got me a heated jacket liner and gloves for Christmas, I’m even more prepared than I used to be. Unfortunately, thanks to the recent blizzard that dumped 30-36″ (76-91 cm) of snow on my region, with more at higher elevations, there’s still quite a bit of loose sand and gravel on the roads. Even after some torrential rain we experienced during the past week.

I’m anxious to try the new heated gear. Alas, there’s more snow in the forecast for the overnight. Not much. Maybe about 10% of the amount we saw during the blizzard. But they’ll still spread a new layer of salt on the streets.

I can wait, I guess. My bike isn’t going anywhere without me.


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8 Replies to “BBBC #8 – The Weather

  1. You’re right about rain and gear. On my first long trip, I had regular gear, mesh gear and rain gear. I think all of the varied riding gear took more space than camping gear. On my last trip, just the one piece Roadcrafter. Worked great for all weather conditions and less stuff to haul around. I enjoy riding in the rain though the Ural tends to ingest water soaking the air filter.

  2. Its all about the gear, it makes everything so much more comfortable. It rains so much here that you have to get rain gear or you would end up leaving your bike parked for most of the spring, fall, and winter and would probably only give 4 to 4 1/2 months of fair weather riding. When I first started riding I would ride in anything, but now for the most part I usually ride in dry weather, but rain doesn’t really phase me much.

    • Dar, it used to be that we’d never set out on rides if it was raining. We don’t usually ride in the rain just for fun, as in little loop rides, but we don’t let it ruin our plans any more.

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  4. Gear makes all the difference. Weather is so ever changing I think it has one of the greatest impacts on our lives and to a large extent even just our moods.

    • Amen to the weather affecting our moods comment. As much as I love the Pacific Northwest, I’m not sure I would ever get used to so many days with gray skies. But then, your clear weather days are REALLY beautiful. It would be an interesting experiment.

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