Thursday, August 28, 2008

Flirting with Fay: notes after riding wet

I have not been inspired to write since arriving home at about 11 PM Monday night. I even asked Ann to send out the "I arrived OK" email to interested family and friends. I did drink a beer, which I had been desiring since hot, sweaty Florida and called ahead to make sure Ann would bring one home. We usually do not have beer in our fridge, but she was faithful to find some and make it cold for me. And everyone knows that ice cream and berries goes good with beer, so I had a dish of that as well.

Far from the hot, sweaty Florida weather, the majority of my trip back home was a continuation of my flirting with Fay. I got wet and dry and wet and dry and wet on this leg of the trip. My gear did fine, but this was real rain. So, when I missed closing up the vent zippers (used to keep me cool and help dry out during those sunny interludes) the water came in and soaked my t-shirt, which feels good when it is hot, but not when the temp goes below 70 degrees.

Near Boone, NC I stopped for dinner and to change into dry and warmer clothes. I met a couple and a woman who had just bought her husband a nice used BMW bike. The couple were trailering it home and were to hid it until his birthday so he would be surprised. I am sure he will be, it was a nice one! Anyway, just another chance encounter along the road. They had driven about 75 miles to get the bike, and could not believe anyone would ride 800 miles in a day. If they only knew!

A dry t-shirt and putting in the jacket liner (in August?) got me home feeling pretty comfortably. Constantly trying to learn something, here is what I (re)learned about wet riding. First of all, once you are wet, not much advantage to putting on raingear. Therefore, all my riding gear is designed to be worn in the rain using breathable (Gortex or such) membranes inside. However, one must remember to close the vents mentioned above if the rain is going to be heavy and/or prolonged. I could tell from the black sky that it was likely to be heavy and prolonged, I just didn't pull over and tug on the zipper tabs.

Second thing is once the rain is coming down and you are riding on a highway with traffic, it is not really possible to stop safely. Limited visibility makes it hard for cars to see you and you might get hit while parked. Also, for many rain systems if you keep going you ride out of them in a few minutes. This was the case several times on the way home.

Third thing is that interstate highways do get you over lots of miles in short time, but the experience is not very good. There are exceptions, but in general, I am not a fan of Eisenhower's invention. Of course they keep a lot of cars and trucks off the good roads, so Thanks Ike! And this summer was loaded with interstate travel for me. Not next year, I'll remember this lesson learned.

Forth thing is that for me, it is easier to ride long distances on the bike compared to a car. I am sure that I cannot drive for 20 hours at a shot even in the Audi's which were very comfortable and sensory vehicles. I think the vastly increased mental operations per unit of time required to ride a bike actually keep me awake as opposed to putting me to sleep. And this same requirement tells me immediately when I am tired. Not only can't I maintain a steady speed, keeping the bike going in a straight line becomes a chore. Time to stop at the next motel!

So I am home and back to work. Fay is still making my world wet. I drove the truck to work the last two days. Ironically, after walking from the parking lot to my office my pants were wet from shoes to knee and if I had ridden the bike, I would have been dry!

The bike is still filthy in the garage, but I will clean it up this weekend. Next ride? Don't know yet, but I am teaching the last weekend of September, so I'll be riding to that gig about 100 miles from home. Summer is about over and the fall riding season, really the best riding, is upon us.

Consider this picture: Looking at the number of people turning around, they are obeying the sign. But what is the message? Is it a help to finding the U.U. Church or a message from fundies warning the U.U.'s to repent?

1 comment:

erica said...

AWESOME sign picture.