Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Last Day Of Fall

Minutes after surviving a squall with stinging rain
The forecast was for steadily falling temperatures and increasing winds. Spotty showers were also in the area. The following days were to get much colder and snow was hinted at. Hmm...... Signs were pointing to this as being the last day of Fall. The calendar may not say so, but the weather- that's what rules. 

So, I kitted up and grabbed the Raleigh Roker LTD to test myself against the gale force Southerly wind. The radar showed a shower headed right at me before I left, but with not a lot of time on my hands, I had to take what was coming. Off I went South down the bike path toward the gravel.

I wasn't but a handful of miles in before I could see it headed toward me. It started in as a sprinkle, but I could see wind driven rain up ahead. When it reached me it intensified to the point where the rain was stinging my face and just seeing where I was headed was very difficult. What's that silly list? "The Rules", is it? I was either spot on Rule #9, if you are a bike freak, or some insane, incredibly stupid, worthy of death or worse fool, if you were any commoner that saw me out there right then. I'm not sure it wasn't the latter there for a minute or two.

The squall eventually passed, it got easier to pedal, and the rain let up. One thing I've noticed about 25+ mile per hour winds, and that is if it is raining, you only get wet where the rain hits you, and the leeward sides stay dry.

The light was getting bent in all sorts of odd ways by this cloud formation. 
The gravel was very wet, as you might imagine. Water was streaming down in little rivulets. The packed road way wasn't muddy, per se', but cleaner, and I didn't get the "concrete" skin effect so often seen when folks ride bicycles on wet gravel around here. I was a bit surprised by that, actually. Eventually I turned out of the wind and was in a cross wind situation. The Roker's stability was much appreciated about this time into the ride.

The barren fields will soon be white with snow.
It wasn't long before I came upon a long patch of fresher, deeper gravel, but with things being so wet, I think the rocks were actually easier to ride than it would have been had it been dry and dusty. Then it was time to turn back with the wind, and of course, I flew back to the city with great ease. A short cruise through the city, then I was back home.

There was one or two things I learned on this ride, but one thing in particular I want to point out. That would be that on very windy days out on the gravel, if you are going against the wind, you won't hear any traffic coming from behind you until it is right beside you. That could be a dangerous situation, so please keep that in mind if you find yourself on a lonely road going against a howling wind.

Fall- It was a grand one here in the Mid-West, and I got a lot of fun rides in, but it is over now. Sometimes Winter is kind and allows for the gravel to be traveled by two wheels, but sometimes it isn't that way. Ice, snow, and especially wicked winds with sub-zero wind chills keep me at bay. That is when I turn to the fat bike and stick close to home here. I don't know what this Winter will be like, but it starts today.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Rule #5 no doubt was in play too.