Saturday was the December open house at Joe’s Cycle Shop (my preferred Triumph dealer); considering that I will be due for my 42,000 mile service any second now, I planned on stopping by to pick up all of the necessary replacement parts. The weatherman claimed it was going to be around 50 degrees, so I made plans to ride up to Greenville for lunch with a few of my riding buddies. The wife and I also made plans to have breakfast with a couple friends near the dealership downtown (also going to Joe’s for the open house), keeping in mind the somewhat tight schedule I had planned, it was necessary for me to ride separate, no big deal…
At a crisp 24 degrees, I donned my usual winter getup and backed the bike into the driveway. About as soon as I reached up to flip down my visor, I detected the faintest hint of flurries coming down. Caught off guard, I pulled out my phone and checked my “trusty” Weatherbug app; 0% chance of precipitation, no blobs of precipitation on the radar. I shrugged my shoulders, figured it would taper off in an hour once the sun got a little higher in the sky, so I set off to catch up with my wife, about a mile or so ahead of me.
Cruising down the highway toward downtown, I saw a few swirls of flurries scurrying across the tarmac, but the road remained dry. I took it easy on the overpasses, knowing that they would be affected first, but despite the frigid temperatures, everything was “going as planned”. Bobbing along to the radio, just short of my intended exit, my phone rang (I have a Cardo Bluetooth Communicator). My wife called to inform me that the roads up ahead were soaked and there was snow accumulation; perhaps I should turn around. Like a typical man, I dismissed the concern, informed her I was barely a mile behind her, I’d go slow and I’d be at our destination shortly. At this point, I had seen a few damp spots on the freeway, but no real accumulation of water or snow; however the fog was starting to get a bit dense as I crossed over the Miami River.
Almost the moment I crossed the Stanley Avenue bridge, the freeway was soaked, and I noticed the ever ominous “great white death” stuck to tree limbs and grass (while my wife probably won’t read this, she was probably right…). Slowing down, my destination was fortunately the next exit ahead; at this point, the road was wet, but the tires were still hooking up fine (not entirely sure how…). Coming down the off-ramp, water was starting to pool in various places along the roadway. Fortunately I’ve ridden this area quite a bit, including in the rain, so I was somewhat prepared for the less-than-ideal conditions. Turning at the light, the density of the snow accumulation started to concern me; it wasn’t true winter accumulation by any means, but when you’re on two wheels… any amount of frozen water is cause for concern.
With about three blocks to go, I made sure to gently lean through the corners, keeping the bike upright wherever possible, staying calm, and made no rash movements. For the last couple blocks I was still trying to discern how the road was completely soaked, yet unfrozen at well below 30 F. Pulling into the parking lot, the bike was filthy, I was grumpy that the weatherman had gotten the better of me, yet extremely thankful the shiny parts were still shiny. As more flakes started to collect on the tank, I unplugged my heated gear and went inside to meet my (very frustrated) wife.
You know that moment in all the movies when the “stranger” walks into the bar and every set of eyes in the place is staring at them? Yeah, that’s what happens when you walk into a place with a helmet in your hand with snowflakes on the ground.
At any rate, after a few laughs and an admittance of my stubbornness, I unfortunately cancelled my planned meetup with my buddies for lunch (conditions were less than favorable…), and then subsequently waited for the roads to dry out over the next few hours before heading home.
Having lived in Dayton for over 30 years, I had never seen such odd weather conditions. After talking it over with friends, and a little help from Wikipedia, it seemed apparent that frigid temperatures combined with dense fog led to a flash of low altitude snowfall. Elsewhere around the world I imagine this is a common occurrence, but in urban Dayton, Ohio, it was a first for me.
Like as I said, when the plan goes awry, the adventure begins…
So, has the weather ever left you stranded?