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Thread: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

  1. #1
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    The weather is lousy, wind and rain, rain and wind. The bike is sitting in its shed, cleaned, polished, checked, fully fuelled and ready to go as soon as the sun shines ................................. started me thinking.

    If I am out on the bike and it starts to rain, no matter how heavy, it doesn't really bother me at all. I've ridden in rain that had cars parked up because their screen wipers couldn't cope - one of my best club rides was like that, absolutely torrential yet the whole club rode the full distance. When we got back to the pub (Club meeting place) everyone was soaked through and the publican gave out a large box of T-shirts so people could put something dry on. It was hilarious watching guys and gals taking their boots off and going out to the entrance to empty the water out.

    So, the big question is - Why, if it is even just drizzling, or even looking like rain, does my bike stay in the shed and my leathers stay in the wardrobe? I don't mind riding in the rain, it doesn't bother me or worry me. I've done track days in the rain and, in fact, would recommend it as a good thing, it can come as quite a shock to realise just how good modern tyres are and just how hard you can brake and corner in the wet. (On both wet track days I did actually ride in the rain to the track.) Strange, normally I just don't get the bike out when it rains or looks like rain, if I'm already out on the bike and it rains I don't give a damn. I ride supersports, would I be any different if I rode a cruiser or a scoot with more weather protection? don't ask me, I don't know.

    What about the rest of you? how do you react to rain, or the threat of rain, if you are thinking of riding and how does it affect you if you are already out and it starts to rain.

    Ken.



    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  2. #2
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Around here, the mountain bike trails are closed during rain and for the following few days for them to dry out.


    I don't like riding in the rain anyway, because while most of the mountain bike is aluminum (frame, shocks, fork), all the expensive parts are unpainted steel (chain, cassette, brake discs, shifters, etc) and would quickly rust.

    The guy in the photo is not me, but I've done that: :-[
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    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    The weather is lousy, wind and rain, rain and wind. The bike is sitting in its shed, cleaned, polished, checked, fully fuelled and ready to go as soon as the sun shines ................................. started me thinking.

    If I am out on the bike and it starts to rain, no matter how heavy, it doesn't really bother me at all. I've ridden in rain that had cars parked up because their screen wipers couldn't cope - one of my best club rides was like that, absolutely torrential yet the whole club rode the full distance. When we got back to the pub (Club meeting place) everyone was soaked through and the publican gave out a large box of T-shirts so people could put something dry on. It was hilarious watching guys and gals taking their boots off and going out to the entrance to empty the water out.

    So, the big question is - Why, if it is even just drizzling, or even looking like rain, does my bike stay in the shed and my leathers stay in the wardrobe? I don't mind riding in the rain, it doesn't bother me or worry me. I've done track days in the rain and, in fact, would recommend it as a good thing, it can come as quite a shock to realise just how good modern tyres are and just how hard you can brake and corner in the wet. (On both wet track days I did actually ride in the rain to the track.) Strange, normally I just don't get the bike out when it rains or looks like rain, if I'm already out on the bike and it rains I don't give a damn. I ride supersports, would I be any different if I rode a cruiser or a scoot with more weather protection? don't ask me, I don't know.

    What about the rest of you? how do you react to rain, or the threat of rain, if you are thinking of riding and how does it affect you if you are already out and it starts to rain.

    Ken.


    I just don't enjoy it. Being out in the sun, on a clear day, is a big part of the experience for me. I also don't like getting my bikes wet. I admit to being seriously anal about keeping them looking like museum pieces, or as close to that as possible. ;D

    Rainy weather means I stay in a cage - or otherwise indoors.

    If it looks like it may rain when I'm already out, I am for home - and try to get there ASAP!




  4. #4
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    Me? I ride.

    Y'all,

    One of my "jobs" is a columnist for our local edition of the regional newspaper. This appeared last week, interestingly on this subject.

    Michael
    =====================================
    [size=10pt][size=10pt]Heavy rain can't stop some motorcycle enthusiasts[/size][/size]
    New River Journal

    By Michael Abraham

    During the last week of August, Hurricane Fay finally decided to stop pummeling Florida with biblical amounts of rain and turn north to replenish our thirsty watercourses. Weather forecasters were expounding the possibility of a simultaneous drought and flood.

    I am a devoted motorcycle commuter -- it's more fun and more economical than driving a car -- but as I dressed for my daily eight-mile jaunt to the office, I had second thoughts. On the one hand, leaves were flapping wildly in the wind, the rain was pouring down and rivulets of water streamed across the lawn. On the other hand, I had just invested in new rain gear, and I thought this would be the perfect day to try it out. If this gear would keep me dry on a day like this, it would keep me dry on any day.

    I have been riding for so long that the preparation routine has become habitual. I always wear sturdy boots made for motorcycling. I also wear motorcycling pants and a jacket, both of which are equipped with armored pads in the knees, hips, elbows and shoulder areas. And, of course, I always wear a full face helmet and gloves. I threw on my new rain suit, too, and rolled the 1989 Honda Hawk GT out of the garage and into the downpour.

    As I pulled out of the driveway I reminded myself of all the maladies associated with motorcycling in heavy rain. First of all, the brakes don't work well. The Hawk is equipped with disc brakes on both wheels, but they take a moment to dry out once actuated. Second, weeks of accumulated oils on the highway can produce slick spots, eliminating traction with the road. Third, visibility is severely impaired. Motorcycle helmets are not equipped with windshield wipers so the rain that falls on the shield is not brushed away. This is a particular problem when it's dark because all the drops of water reflect oncoming headlights in distracting ways. If this weren't enough, the inside of the shield invariably becomes fogged. Before I had surgery for my eyes it was even worse because my eyeglasses became fogged as well.

    On Main Street in Blacksburg just south of the interchange with U.S. 460 Bypass, I saw another rider on two wheels. Interestingly, this guy was riding a bicycle. In my experience, it is even more difficult to stay dry on a bicycle than it is on a motorcycle. If he thought I was a bit crazy for riding on a day like this, I was certain he was getting even wetter than I.

    With the rising price of gasoline, I often see other riders during my commute. It is common to wave to one another as part of the brotherhood. You can always tell the Harley guys because invariably they wear nothing more than jeans, a T-shirt with a leather vest and a skull-cap helmet. I almost never see these guys wearing either armor or the type of wrap that would allow them to stay warm and dry during outdoor activities such as motorcycling.

    The ride down the bypass toward Christiansburg was not unlike any other day except that all the drainages alongside the road were running swiftly with the deluge of rejuvenating water.

    I exited the bypass at Roanoke Road and stopped at the red light. Beside me was a Chevrolet sedan with a youngster in the back seat. He looked bored until he noticed me. He appeared to be about 7 or 8 years old, and he gave me a tentative wave. His mother, in the driver seat, said something that I took to be an admonishment to him not to pay any attention to such an obvious lunatic as myself.

    The light changed and I gingerly made my way across the intersection, careful not to lean over lest there be any slick spots. Runoff on Roanoke Road near the Motor Mile is inadequate, and huge pools of water typically puddle up during heavy rains. I was into one before I knew it, and my front wheel sprayed sheets of water over my boots. I could feel water seeping through and dousing my socks. As I turned into the industrial park toward my office, the intensity of the rain increased even further, as if just for good measure.

    I tramped into my office, never taking off my helmet, it was raining so hard. As I stripped off all my riding gear, including my soaked gloves, I thought to myself how much fun I had had and how much I was looking forward to the ride home.

  5. #5
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Re: Me? I ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael
    Y'all,

    One of my "jobs" is a columnist for our local edition of the regional newspaper. This appeared last week, interestingly on this subject.

    Michael
    =====================================
    [size=10pt][size=10pt]Heavy rain can't stop some motorcycle enthusiasts[/size][/size]
    New River Journal

    By Michael Abraham

    During the last week of August, Hurricane Fay finally decided to stop pummeling Florida with biblical amounts of rain and turn north to replenish our thirsty watercourses. Weather forecasters were expounding the possibility of a simultaneous drought and flood.

    I am a devoted motorcycle commuter -- it's more fun and more economical than driving a car -- but as I dressed for my daily eight-mile jaunt to the office, I had second thoughts. On the one hand, leaves were flapping wildly in the wind, the rain was pouring down and rivulets of water streamed across the lawn. On the other hand, I had just invested in new rain gear, and I thought this would be the perfect day to try it out. If this gear would keep me dry on a day like this, it would keep me dry on any day.

    I have been riding for so long that the preparation routine has become habitual. I always wear sturdy boots made for motorcycling. I also wear motorcycling pants and a jacket, both of which are equipped with armored pads in the knees, hips, elbows and shoulder areas. And, of course, I always wear a full face helmet and gloves. I threw on my new rain suit, too, and rolled the 1989 Honda Hawk GT out of the garage and into the downpour.

    As I pulled out of the driveway I reminded myself of all the maladies associated with motorcycling in heavy rain. First of all, the brakes don't work well. The Hawk is equipped with disc brakes on both wheels, but they take a moment to dry out once actuated. Second, weeks of accumulated oils on the highway can produce slick spots, eliminating traction with the road. Third, visibility is severely impaired. Motorcycle helmets are not equipped with windshield wipers so the rain that falls on the shield is not brushed away. This is a particular problem when it's dark because all the drops of water reflect oncoming headlights in distracting ways. If this weren't enough, the inside of the shield invariably becomes fogged. Before I had surgery for my eyes it was even worse because my eyeglasses became fogged as well.

    On Main Street in Blacksburg just south of the interchange with U.S. 460 Bypass, I saw another rider on two wheels. Interestingly, this guy was riding a bicycle. In my experience, it is even more difficult to stay dry on a bicycle than it is on a motorcycle. If he thought I was a bit crazy for riding on a day like this, I was certain he was getting even wetter than I.

    With the rising price of gasoline, I often see other riders during my commute. It is common to wave to one another as part of the brotherhood. You can always tell the Harley guys because invariably they wear nothing more than jeans, a T-shirt with a leather vest and a skull-cap helmet. I almost never see these guys wearing either armor or the type of wrap that would allow them to stay warm and dry during outdoor activities such as motorcycling.

    The ride down the bypass toward Christiansburg was not unlike any other day except that all the drainages alongside the road were running swiftly with the deluge of rejuvenating water.

    I exited the bypass at Roanoke Road and stopped at the red light. Beside me was a Chevrolet sedan with a youngster in the back seat. He looked bored until he noticed me. He appeared to be about 7 or 8 years old, and he gave me a tentative wave. His mother, in the driver seat, said something that I took to be an admonishment to him not to pay any attention to such an obvious lunatic as myself.

    The light changed and I gingerly made my way across the intersection, careful not to lean over lest there be any slick spots. Runoff on Roanoke Road near the Motor Mile is inadequate, and huge pools of water typically puddle up during heavy rains. I was into one before I knew it, and my front wheel sprayed sheets of water over my boots. I could feel water seeping through and dousing my socks. As I turned into the industrial park toward my office, the intensity of the rain increased even further, as if just for good measure.

    I tramped into my office, never taking off my helmet, it was raining so hard. As I stripped off all my riding gear, including my soaked gloves, I thought to myself how much fun I had had and how much I was looking forward to the ride home.
    Now that was a good exposition of what motorcycling is about. It brought back memories of my late teens to early thirties when the only transport I had was one of my trusty bikes. In those days no matter what the weather it was a case of 'dress for the day' get on the bike and go, rain, snow, hail, fog, it made no difference, to get anywhere one rode. So I wonder, why is it that now, if it is raining I don't go out on the bike - age?, could be, getting soft?, quite likely, maybe it is part of getting old (74 rising 75). Many thanks for posting that article Michael, that rider is the sort of person I would like to see posting on this forum, as it stands at the moment, although there are plenty of 'lookers' there are far too few 'posters'. Come on bikers, liven things up a bit.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  6. #6
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.



    I don't leave the house if it's raining before I get on. The reason being, I don't know how the roads are. Has all the oil and grease gotten washed away yet? If I'm out and it starts, I don't have much choice in the matter. Now, other than that, I'll ride if the bike will start. My Connie doesn't like to start below freezing (it might be the 15W-50 oil in it) but if it will start, I'll ride. I bought electric gloves so I can ride in the 30's. One exception is if there is ice on the roads or heavy salt. Ice of course because bikes don't slide, they fall down. Salt can corrode a bike just like a car. Lot's of cars and trucks around here sort of dissolve after several years.
    Honk if you love Jesus.

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  7. #7
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by grouch


    I don't leave the house if it's raining before I get on. The reason being, I don't know how the roads are. Has all the oil and grease gotten washed away yet? If I'm out and it starts, I don't have much choice in the matter. Now, other than that, I'll ride if the bike will start. My Connie doesn't like to start below freezing (it might be the 15W-50 oil in it) but if it will start, I'll ride. I bought electric gloves so I can ride in the 30's. One exception is if there is ice on the roads or heavy salt. Ice of course because bikes don't slide, they fall down. Salt can corrode a bike just like a car. Lot's of cars and trucks around here sort of dissolve after several years.
    I'm with you on the first part, Grouch - if it is raining I don't go. Oil and grease are not too much of a problem on our country roads although the farm vehicles can drop a lot of mud. The main diesel problem is on our major roads, especially at roundabouts, overfull tanks and loose fitting or non-existent ful caps can allow litres of fuel to spill out - lethal to a bike although it is often possible to smell it in the air if it has been down for a few minutes. Ice, especially black ice is a definite no-no now, although when I was a young man it made no odds, to get to work one had to ride. The salt they use here now can disolve a bike overnight if left on - the owner of this bike will wash it next time. Any winter ride and the bike is washed and polished before it is put away.

    Ken.

    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    With my present job...I have to ride rain or shine. If I start DRY and can get through most of the day dry I am happy.
    ;D
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  9. #9
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    With my present job...I have to ride rain or shine. If I start DRY and can get through most of the day dry I am happy.
    ;D
    That is the key, Rex. To start the ride in the dry, after that I don't mind. But I thought the Sunshine State and the Sunshine Coast had wall to wall sunshine 24/7/52? ;D

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kwozzie1's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken


    That is the key, Rex. To start the ride in the dry, after that I don't mind. But I thought the Sunshine State and the Sunshine Coast had wall to wall sunshine 24/7/52? ;D

    Ken.

    Well that is a theory only...we have this damn wet season in the summer!! Heavy thundersorms in the aftenoons.
    But its spring here and 27C here today..
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  11. #11
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken


    That is the key, Rex. To start the ride in the dry, after that I don't mind. But I thought the Sunshine State and the Sunshine Coast had wall to wall sunshine 24/7/52? ;D

    Ken.

    Well that is a theory only...we have this damn wet season in the summer!! Heavy thundersorms in the aftenoons.
    But its spring here and 27C here today..
    LOL - That is our summer, Rex. Spring in the air and 27oC, now that does sound good!

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  12. #12
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwozzie1
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken


    That is the key, Rex. To start the ride in the dry, after that I don't mind. But I thought the Sunshine State and the Sunshine Coast had wall to wall sunshine 24/7/52? ;D

    Ken.
    Well that is a theory only...we have this damn wet season in the summer!! Heavy thundersorms in the aftenoons.
    But its spring here and 27C here today..
    LOL - That is our summer, Rex. Spring in the air and 27oC, now that does sound good!

    Ken.
    Woke today to wet patio, puddles aplenty, but with the sun shining from a clear, blue sky. My turn to cook today, decided to have an early lunch. Home made Cottage Pie served with roast potatoes, roasted carrots, roast parsnips and brocolli, then Pannacotta with sliced banana and cream, things were looking good. Outside the breeze was soft, the sun was warm for the time of year, temperature around 12oC and the driveway had dried off nicely. Decision made, bike prepped and warmed up, booted and suited and out I went for a quick sixty miler to Willingham Woods. Not pushing too hard, 75-80 ish as I've been off the bike for about five weeks. Having turned off the main drag onto the twisty windy road to Willingham Woods car drivers coming towards me started flashing their lights - warning noted, there was bear in them thar woods. Sure enough, over the top of the next crest and there he was, 'bike cop sitting in a T-junction radio mike in his hand. By then though I was down to a legal sixty, but, a quick glance in my mirror showed another bike pulling out behind me and holding station - suspicious! For the next ten miles I rode as though I was taking an advanced driving test, every limit on the nose, every double white strictly observed, optimised safety positioning at all bends and junctions, 'lifesaver' glances over the shoulder every five or ten seconds and maximum use of the mirrors - and all the time the bike behind maintained station some twenty yards behind. It was obvoius that it was a cop on an unmarked 'bike and, apart from max acceleration when overtaking, my riding was (I hoped) beyond reproach. I turned into the parking area and so did he, I parked up and so did he about ten feet away. I looked at his 'bike, Oh Dear, no hidden blue lights visible behind the fairing, no radio, no copper he. He nodded and I said, 'I thought you were a 'bike cop', hope I didn't hold you up. He laughed, having seen the parked up police bike and with me riding so very very legally he thought I was an unmarked police bike. On the road home from the woods, by a different route, there was no-one behind me and the twists and bends were inviting me to enjoy them .................................................. ...........

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  13. #13
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Good story, Ken!

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  14. #14
    DonTom
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    What took me a long time to get used to is the fog that's right over South San Francisco often in the summer. I would look outside and think "what a lousy day for a motorcycle ride".

    Later, I realized that if I ride five miles in ANY direction, it will be sunny and clear. I simply have to ignore the fog at my SSF home.

    When I come back home from the sunny south, I can see the thick fog right above SSF. The farther I go from SSF in any direction in mid summer, the warmer it gets. It can be 100F just 20 miles away from where it's 55F.

    When Tom worked in Marin (ten miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge), he often had to run the A/C for the first ten miles home and the car's heater for much of the second half.

    "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it."
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  15. #15
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    [size=12pt][color=blue]What took me a long time to get used to is the fog that's right over South San Francisco often in the summer. I would look outside and think "what a lousy day for a motorcycle ride".

    Later, I realized that if I ride five miles in ANY direction, it will be sunny and clear. I simply have to ignore the fog at my SSF home.

    When I come back home from the sunny south, I can see the thick fog right above SSF. The farther I go from SSF in any direction in mid summer, the warmer it gets. It can be 100F just 20 miles away from where it's 55F.

    When Tom worked in Marin (ten miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge), he often had to run the A/C for the first ten miles home and the car's heater for much of the second half.
    It's strange, Don, how the topography of an area can make so much difference in a very short distance. Where I live, in Woodhall Spa, Lincs, we seem to be in a small 'shelter zone'. We get the same weather predictions e.g 'torrential rain' but often we will just get moderate rain for a while whilst areas four or five mles away will be deluged. We might get light snow when a few mles away the snow is relatively heavy, we just get strong winds when around us, a few miles away trees are being blown down. But, despite all these advantages, when fall comes, all the leaves end up in our porch!! ;D

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  16. #16
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The influence of weather - to ride or not to ride.

    We often get severe fog here - and it doesn't dissipate after 5 miles!

    Hell, I try to avoid driving in it; literally like driving through cotton balls - sometimes visibility is less than 20 yards....

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