Let’s face it, riding anything (including a riding lawn mower) in the northwest has been a chilling and damp experience! And we still have many cold, wet days ahead even though spring is supposedly here.
Portland (OR) normally receives an average of 3.71 inches of rain during March, but at the end of the month we had received 6.49 inches (5th highest on record) and there were 29 days of measurable rain breaking the old record of 27 days. And on the very last day of month was the first time we witnessed the temperature gauge hitting 60 degrees… the latest date in recorded history to reach that mark. Yep, a lot of records were broken and not necessarily in a good way.
But, no worries if you like the drizzle it’s going to be another soggy week throughout the area with high temperatures reaching all the way up to the mid- 50s.
My point is that I’m trying to sketch out my spring and summer riding entertainment and the weather is making it difficult to visualize. What with all the boating, hiking, photography, local festivals and drinking of refreshments over the BBQ I’m not sure if I can fit it all in which is largely dependent on when the rain will subside. Last year I laid a plan out HERE and was fortunate to have the budget to complete three (Laughlin, 70th Sturgis, Street Vibrations) of the five trips as well as the Hells Canyon rally. It was a lot of miles and a good riding year in my book!
One which will be difficult to repeat as the Zac Brown Band song, “Toes” rolls around in my head…
“I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today, life is good today…”
It got me to thinking about all those miles last year and the first surprise to me is how much better motorcycle clothing has become. It use to be a worn out leather jacket to carry you through summer and winter riding, augmented with a vest or long sleeve shirt or two. Now days there are heated hand grips, heated clothing and a variety of wind blocking jackets with reflective piping. In addition there are all these Gore-Tex waterproof pullovers, neckerchiefs and face masks that do exactly what they were meant too.
Let’s see, if drizzle falls at about 3-4mph and big rain drops fall at about 7-8mph… then the difference of a walk in the rain vs. a motorcycle ride in the rain is about ten times the speed. Ten times as much water hits you per second. I won’t go into the mathematical proof here, but think about that and the fact that rain is hitting the rider horizontally, not just vertically. First the air gets cold, then the rider is hit with a wall of spray from trucks that is mixed with oil residue all the while the face shield accumulates condensation … Is there any wonder why so many motorcyclists try and limit their riding in the rain?! But, I’ve really digressed.
Time to hit “repeat” on the iPod and sketch out my riding plans…for when there is less rain!
Photo courtesy of The Guardian.