January 2016 Vol 2 • Issue 1
﷯I knew that day had to come eventually. The storm that is.
On the day I convinced the license gods that I did indeed have the skills and road knowledge to safely project myself down the road on a motorcycle, it rained. It rained hard.
The instructor, as he hooked me up with the walkie talkie vest, made mention of the forecast weather conditions. Forecast? I thought, geez dude, it’s freaking pouring. Even though I could barely see out of the foggy full face and I was soaked to the bone, I passed, and I thought my right of passage was clearly behind me as now, with great confidence, shout to the rafters that “I have mastered riding in the rain”.
How wrong I was.
Weeks, months had gone by and I loved my machine, my new therapist. We became best friends and we rode every day, especially to work. My work was a stress fest. A growing cesspool of downsizing surprises, more work, less staff, no money, no raise. Nothing but the kind of work that makes you not want to get out of bed for and one that makes you crave for the weekend. My therapist fixed all that. I soon couldn’t wait to get out of bed, look out to the clear blue sky and head off to work the “long” way. The feeling of the morning wind in my face, the vibes from my V-Twin and not a care in the world. I just expected every day to be the best riding day ever!
It was a Friday, that special day, the morning started out as usual with a nice cup of coffee, looking out my livingroom window and admiring the cloudy morning while not so happy with what my weather app was showing. 70% chance of thunderstorms with high winds. Stella came into the room. “You’re not riding today are you?” she asked. Six hours later I was wishing I had listened to her.
My office had a north facing window, where the mountains seem to like to hold onto the clouds and get them all ready to party. I could feel it building, getting darker and darker, and windy, oh how it was windy. One after the other, my work mates would pop their head in my office, “looks like it gonna rain” with a concern that I was heading out on a overseas voyage or something. “Ya, no worries” I said, “I can handle the rain, I’ll just go easy”. I silently slipped away from my office to put my seat cover on. The skies kept getting darker, and the wind started to freak me out. So, seeing how our workload on the apocalyptic Friday was not going to send anyone into overtime, I announced my early departure. Everyone agreed that I best get the hell home.
My therapist has a windscreen that I don’t like. It’s needs to be cut down in height so I can see over the top. But, even with that said, and my procrastination issues, I don’t care for the windscreen much at all. I also, don’t ride with a full face. Don’t like them either. So, it’s glasses and a face buff for this biker.
It was 4pm when I started home, zipping up my leather jacket, pulled my gloves on tight and Taking a deep breath as I fired the Deluxe. As we pulled from the parking lot, I couldn’t help but get the feeling every cage around me was becoming a potential death machine. The rain started, of course as soon as I hit the major thoroughfare, and the wind started to push me and my therapist ever so slightly sideways. Sideways enough to take your breath away, sideways enough to wonder “should I be doing this?”
I pressed on because I had been in the rain before, I could handle rain pelting my face, jeans soaked and limited vision. Things were going according to plan on the inside lane with the death cagers passing me furiously on my left, when the intersection ahead turned yellow. As I quickly scanned the intersection I realized this was a situation where one makes the decision to either go for it or hit the brakes. In split seconds I knew I had a blind left side and could not see who might blast through the intersection from my left. I focused on a left hand cage in front of me already in the intersection ready to turn in front of me, should I decide to continue through. My gut knew I needed to stop and not go through this intersection. But with the rain and the oil slick lane I was on, I soon realized I wasn’t getting much braking power and I began to slide. “Oh no”, I thought, “this isn’t good”. In a panic, I hit the rear brake too hard and I began to slide. A common mistake with riders who have spent a good portion of their driving career hitting the brake pedal with their foot. 70% of a motorcycles’ stopping power comes from the front brake and I found out a little too late that I messed up.
I quickly moved my weight toward the tank, sitting in a more upright control position and counter steered in the direction of the skid and my therapist and I came to our resting place inside the pedestrian crossing lines, on a bit of an angle. Once my heart got it’s rhythm back, and the light turned green I continued on like this kind of stuff happens all the time. I felt like Steve McQueen in the Great Escape where he slides back and forth beside the fence. But I wasn’t home just yet, and the wind was bending trees.
Part of my journey home, at the time, was traveling over a bridge. A big bridge that a certain corporation continues to extort money from taxpayers through unfair tolls. I’m sorry, that’s another story, but at any rate, the bridge is high over the mighty Fraser River and I’m heading into gale force winds that literally are pushing me around like a toy. Could I actually get lifted up in the air and tossed over the bridge? At least I wouldn’t have to pay the toll. My therapist and I continued over the bridge, the rain got colder and seemed like it turned into shards of piercing ice blades driving into my forehead and nose. Every intersection became a welcomed moment to wipe off the glasses and take a moment to think what the heck am I doing, and couldn’t help but notice there wasn’t any other motorcycles on the road that day. I began to realize I must be nuts. Just when I thought I was going to manage the rest of the way home, the hail came. Now, as I mentioned, I don’t have a windscreen, and I certainly haven’t invested in rain gear. Ha, who needs that! So I don’t care if I get hit in the face with icy rain, hail of huge bugs. But I can’t have anything hitting my therapist. Too much chrome and cool tins to have my baby getting pummelled by hail, so I turn into the gas station to seek shelter from the now grenade size hail stones. As I sat under the overhang waiting for the coast to clear for the last few blocks home, I could hear my wife say “You’re not riding today are you?”
Hell ya!

"You're not riding today are you?"

by Murd

More Murd

It was just a friendly Pig Roast.

It was on sale, I had to have it!

Click the pic to go to page.

Smart Biker Magazine / All rights reserved / Canadian Built

Ride Safe... Ride Smart!