Dodging thunderstorms: It’s getting harder

Sam and Sarah, in white jerseys and bike helmets, standing by their bikes. Bright skies but ominous clouds.
Sam and Sarah riding outside London, bright skies but ominous clouds

Sarah and I got out for a ride last Sunday and stayed dry. That doesn’t sound remarkable except it’s been a rainy and stormy month. We waited around, we consulted the radar, and we planned our route carefully. When we stopped for coffee at the 40 km mark things were starting to look ominous. We drank quickly and took the speedier, less scenic route home.

And we just made it. I went straight for the driveway and the front porch. But there are Pokemon to be caught across the street from my house apparently and Sarah stopped to catch them.

Boom! Crash! And the sky opened and down and came a lot of rain.

While we were happy to get a ride in, note we only rode 55 km total and we had the whole day. We were completely flexible in terms of time. Lately the unstable weather has made road cycling challenging in my part of the world. There’s a Thursday afternoon ride I like to do with a local cycling coach and a group of women. It’s been weather cursed. Most Thursday afternoons have been called off due to weather.

Now, I’m not a total fair weather rider. I ride in the rain. See Let it rain, and ride anyway, because sometimes you have to .  Catherine also made the case for riding in the rain.

When Sarah and I rented bikes in Scotland (see Not rain, just a wee Scottish mist: Edinburgh adventures on rental road bikes), there was no option but to ride in the rain. It rained every day we were there. And yet there were lots of road cyclists out doing what we do, riding and training.

This is different. I don’t like to ride in weather I think of as stormy. High winds, hail, lightning. And we’ve had that a lot lately. I’m not sure how much of the weather wildness is climate change related but it’s making road cycling challenging, especially getting long rides in.

Cate, Sarah, David and I were aiming for 150 km on Canada Day  but we got stopped (some of us anyway) by rain and hail after 120 km. Cate and I took refuge from the hail for awhile at a local truck stop/service station and then went on. But I stopped too when I got a flat. Hate fixing flats in the rain and my experience is you often get more. I called home to be rescued. 

Here’s Sam in her Canada Day Jersey, wet from the rain hiding out from the hail

Another Sam bike helmet selfie featuring her “I’ve got a flat in the rain” face

Cate persisted. She’s like that.

Sarah and I have been training for the Friends for Life Bike Rally and it’s been tricky getting out enough. (Sponsor Sarah here and me here.)

I’m also worried about weather on the ride.  Certainly there have been some rainy day rides on the rally. See Bike Rally Day 2: Photos #F4LBR.

And I’m really hoping the weather becomes less unstable.


3 thoughts on “Dodging thunderstorms: It’s getting harder

  1. If it’s thundering, lightning or there is a real thunder threat or hail, I don’t cycle. It’s proving nothing. We have on bike tours where we barely escaped the summer lightning and sheets of rain.

    Same for hail. We get serious hail size of small golf balls, at least once a year here in Calgary area. It’s enough to dent cars and some roofs. Have you ever seen a pockmarked car all over its body? Quite something.

    Some local cyclists have slipped and fallen on hail. Hail also hurts when it’s pelting down..unless you’re wearing a padded jacket.

    I cycle in rain if I must…usually it’s in the middle of a trip or going home. Yes, we have cycled for several hrs. on several self-loaded bike tours from city/town and city/town , in British Columbia, Seattle area and Ontario. I’m ok if it’s gentle to steady rain…and not a lot of cars around me for latter. It’s a bit scary cycling on a highway with many transport cars or logging trucks (Quebec) in the rain for several hrs. I have done all this and probably wouldn’t want to repeat the experience if I could avoid it.

    When I lived in Vancouver …I did cycle frequently in the rain. It’s part of being cyclist there, especially in fall and winter.

  2. I sympathize! I’m in south Florida, where thunderstorms are a daily occurrence and always seem to begin in late afternoon/evening, exactly when I want to get outside! :/ It does make me appreciative of the nice days though.

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