Cycling in Sydney Australia
The last five days have brought thunder and lightning, hail and torrential rain in the afternoons. I'm not saying that this is a sign of climate change or anything (maybe it is). Cycling in this kind of weather can be exciting of course, but there are a few dangers involved: wind gusts, tree branches flying around, flash floods, poor visibility and lightning strikes. So far, all my life I've been riding through these things, even enjoying it sometimes. It hasn't been happening very often however. It may be that we are heading for more frequent extreme weather.
What are your thoughts and approaches for commuter cycling through thunder storms and weather extremes?
Thanks Bob. I think that's very wise. I have tended to be a little more stubborn and have possibly, in my mind, classified the the storms in the same category of opposition as the drivers and the poor infrastructure etc. Not healthy, I know. Taking care is a good thing.
I enjoy riding in wild weather but it is probably wiser to wait until the worst of it is over if that's possible.
I enjoy it too, and if it were only for the weather, my bike, the road and me, I'd not worry too much about it, although a large gum tree branch in the head can be disconcerting. My worry is adding traffic to the mix. Of course, there are several roads around northern beaches/northern Sydney where I usually ride that have drain grills facing the wrong way so that road cycle wheels can fit in. That makes it interesting to ride through water deep and muddy enough to block vision of the ground. I have been known to walk through some of those flooded bits and carrying the bike.
Last week on my way home one day, I was dodging lightning, hail, torrential rain, bits of trees and the traffic. A really nice thing happened on that ride. It was along Mona Vale Road. A van towing a horse trailer slowed down next to me during the heavy hail segment. I thought I was going to receive some abuse or possibly ridicule, but instead a lovely lady stuck her head out the window and offered me a lift. I cheerfully declined but expressed my gratitude. I was actually enjoying the storm at the time.
Take a mountain bike.
Last year I quite enjoyed chucking hill repeats in the rain on the MTB, but riding in heavy rain on the road bike is just stressful, especially in areas with a lot of paint on the roads. Whereas an MTB just eats it up. Disc brakes and fat tires FTW.
What else? Champion Systems rain jacket. small enough to roll into a jersey pocket, breathable, windproof and waterproof. pretty damn good, though if it's warm and rainy I'll often go without.
Good lights too, even in the day time - visibility in rainy conditions is crappy, so you need all the help you can get.
Also, this just popped into my FB feed
About a decade ago I was caught in a freak storm ... http://s225.photobucket.com/user/WildWassa/media/Untitled-Scanned-0...
I went back the following day to try to find the 1/3rd of my helmet, that was missing ... blasted off my head.
About a decade? Ten years plus one day, according to the date on that form!
Bloody hell, what a nasty experience.
That would have been a scary moment for you. I'm glad you apparently got away with only minor physical injuries. Has it affected your riding (or other ) behavior significantly?
Interestingly, there were a fair few ambulance calls to lightning strikes in NSW last week.
Henning and Neil, G'day.
I was caught in a deluge when I was riding under the canopy in an avenue of trees. The tree beside me was hit and I was hit by what's known as splash lightning. The bolt after hitting the tree splashed to my helmet and removed a third of my helmet.
What saved me, it was suggested, was that being completely drenched at the time was good fortune. The water formed a Faraday Cage and the lightning followed the least resistance and went over me not through me but it did exit via my knuckles on both hands. Both hands were burnt.
One surprising thing that did happen, and this is common to lightning survivors, is that it sent/turned my hair white, instantly. It took several years to return to my normal hair colour.
Has it affected your riding (or other ) behavior significantly?
I no longer commute, I'm retired. I didn't stop me riding.
Apparently, people who are struck by lightning, and survive the strike, immediately after the happening, repeatedly say, I've been struck by lightning, I've been struck by lightning, repeatedly. My wife reminds me that this happened to me too. Something that I have little recollection of.
I still like to ride my bike around my neck of the bush and I like to photograph the weather, frequently. Both are my hobbies ... but I'm not interested in photographing lightning. I doubt that I ever will be.
PS, Good bike riding weather on the Bicentennial National Trail and close by home ... http://s225.photobucket.com/?postlogin=true
Hmmm! 2 brushes with death - lightning strike and brown snake bite - I hope you've got a cat's 9 lives and not the 3 strikes you're out type!
Dabba, it feels like I'm on borrowed time ... well into it in fact.
PS, Have a most enjoyable Christmas.