Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dealing with the weather

I don't set out in the rain.

But that doesn't mean I don't ride in the rain.

This week is a case in point.

The forecast on my Iphone weather app showed solid rain every day this week.  Monday and Tuesday bore out that prediction.  Wednesday, the weather was not nice by any means, and it did rain a bit, but there was even a brief sunny break in the afternoon, and the roads were, for the most part dry although when I left for work in the morning there was very light precipitation.

The rain that was falling is what I refer to as "spitting" rain.  I'm not sure how many people use that term.  My mother used to say that.  I did find a definition online: "To rain or snow in light, scattered drops or flakes".

So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were driving days, not riding days.

Today, Thursday, there was rain in the forecast, but this morning, while the skies were cloudy, it wasn't raining and the roads were mostly dry.

If I didn't ride whenever rain might possibly fall, I would miss out on many excellent riding opportunities.  So today was a scoot commute.

Halfway to work light intermittent rain began to fall.  I pulled over on St-Patrick street where Autoroute 15 crosses way overhead (like five to six stories up) and got my rain jacket out of the pet carrier.  Now that I ride with waterproof armored pants, all I need to do is don the Teknic rain jacket.

With the jacket on I was on my way in just a few minutes.  Simple.  More importantly, I was comfortable and dry.

With the right gear, rain isn't an issue.  I moderate my speed and remain vigilant for road hazards like painted traffic signs on the roadway, metal plates, railroad tracks and debris.  With those simple precautions riding in wet weather is not a problem at all.

Before I began my scooter commuter adventure, I would always see motorcyclists riding in the rain and think they must be having a terrible sodden time.

I no longer think that.

And what about the commute home?  Well that was perfect.  Instead of thundershowers that my wife heard about on the radio this morning, I got blue skies, sunshine and the warmest temperatures so far in 2011.

So if you plan to commute, even if you don't plan to ride in the rain, make sure that you always have good rain gear on board.  Because as I often hear said, all prediction is difficult, but predicting the future is particularly difficult.

It's days like today that convince me that I must be an optimist.


Dar said...

I live on the West Coast and am a year round scooter commuter. Many a commute has been done in the rain. My jacket is great keeps me dry, I bought some rain over pants and now all is golden. I have to drive across a metal decked bridge and it can be a hair raising experience on days with the best weather conditions, add rain to it and it's downright scary. If I don't scoot then I have to bus - which I hate doing. It's definitely all about the gear and I am slowly adding to it. Armored pants are next on the to buy list.

David Masse said...

Thanks for the comment, Dar.

I have Tourmaster Caliber waterproof armored pants that work really well. At first they take some getting used to having to do with the bulkiness. But I remember feeling the same way when I started wearing my Corazzo 5.0 armored jacket. Eventually I'll get used to the pants too. One of my objectives this summer is the Victoria bridge across the St-Lawrence which has a metal grid deck. Once I have tried that I will be sure to post about it.

Dar said...

I know what you mean about getting used to the bulkiness, but after wearing my Joe Rocket ballistic 10.0 jacket for awhile I got used to it. It was pretty heavy feeling too.

The metal bridge thing is a little unnerving, just don't over steer and stay loose, its worse when you fight the handlebars. For the first couple of times I think I held my breath the whole way across, thank goodness it is a little bridge. Good luck with that and let me know how it went.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.