Monday, October 25, 2010

Ridin' the Storm Out

From the: I am committed... or I should be, files.

I have aschewed riding in the extreme damp but today I had to try. No more being a CANDYA$$!

It was going to be a very warm day for fall here in Chicagoland, and even tho it poured the night before and the ground was still very very WET, I decided that I MUST SCOOTER to work. It was going to be 77 degrees on the way home! Who could resist that?

So I got up early, put on my myriad of layers, until I looked like a sexy Mr. StayPuft, and took off.

First thing I notice: What is this all over my scooter???? A fine pearly DEW! Odd, but it should dry off as I went along. The sun was coming up so I should be good, right?

Second thing: What is this slime all over the road as I roll along? Oh, it is the DEW from our rosy dawn, carassing the streets and highways with natures sparkly goodness...hmm... a bit slippery tho...

Third thing: Why are there no other bikes out on the road. I know it is a bit wet and foggy, but they are usually out here?....I wonder, do they know something I don't?

Fouth thing: What is this stuff spewing off the back of the cars in front of me and spattering all over me as I ride? Oh it is a mix of the lovely jewel-like DEW, polluted chemicals and noxious goop that the wind is blowing off the cars in front of me!

Lastly: Why does everything smell like worms?

Okay - I made it to work. No big deal. But everything stayed WET - the entire 30 miles to work! WET, like 100% humidity but at least no rain. But it would not dry off! It was like Chicagoland had been slimed! And it was COLD, but not terrible. But the damp was penetrating. It took me a few hours to warm up at work.

Lessons Learned from Riding on Wet Pavement:

First thing you need to realize is that riding on wet pavement is NOT supposed to be relaxing. SO WAKE UP!

You really have to be on top of your game and very very careful. I don't know how people do it when it really rains! They haz Skillz that I doz not.

I was very careful in my turns. Leaning as little as possible and hanging far back from the cars in front of me. I have never had any issues braking, so my stops were very smooth and controlled. But I kept my focus very sharp.

Luckily everyone was moving very slow and cautiously. I was actually HAPPY to see a construction zone so we could all slow down and CRAWL ALONG! And I was amazed that grooved pavement when wet is just as annoying and scary as when it is dry. But no worse.

The ride home was much better. The roads were dry, the sky was windy and cloudy, but it was still very nice.

Some day I will get caught in a real rain storm and I will really have to suck it up. I hope that what I learned riding on the wet roads today will help me in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I live in the Pacific Northwest and all it does here is rain during the winter and its cold. This was my first season of riding in the wet stuff. I have come to learn there are different types of rain there is the little misty rain which is ok, then there is a shower which is a little more than a mist. The we come to big fat plumpy rain drops that make it a bitch to drive, because this kind of rain usually has its best friend wind with it. I have also come to learn that rain is just as bad as frost when it comes to slippage. Add to this all of the water that is being thrown up on me from the road and it makes a crappy commute. I commute every day 365 on the scooter ~ I hate buses ~ sorry if you like buses or are a regular rider or driver.

    I have discovered what works for me to stay dry and have been adding to my 'scooter wardrobe' after getting completely soaked and shivering all day at work. The best 2 things I ever got was wind/waterproof gloves & pants.

    The 2 most important things I have learned in scooting in the rain is 1) Go a little slower and take your time. 2) Cagers visibility of you is completely gone in the rain, its as if you have turned completely invisible. When its raining I usually put on an obnoxious hi viz traffic vest just to give me a little 'SEE ME' effect this adds more to my already obnoxious pink helmet and pink riding coat. I have to say I hate riding in the rain, but it is a very bi part of my riding reality to I am learning to deal with it. Good luck with it Bel.