charity · cycling · fitness · training

Sam’s stormy scary bike ride

As we’re gearing up for friends for life bike rally training this summer, weekends will involve longer back to back bike rides. It’s all in preparation for 6 days of riding, 660 km, Toronto to Montreal.

A reminder, we’re raising money for an excellent charity. You can sponsor us here and here.

This was Saturday’s ride. It started like this. All cherry blossoms, sunshine and smiles.

Happy faces!

We were doing one of our favorite 50 km Guelph rides with coffee after, making it about 60 km total.

As we approached our favorite apple fritters and coffee shop, Sarah broke the bad news.

“Here have a cliff bar. We’ve got just enough time to make it home before this thunderstorm rolls through.” She pointed to her phone displaying the radar.

Reader: we did not have just enough time. The storm was moving very very fast. This was us about ten minutes later, not yet home.

Yes, that’s hail. Videos of the storm rolling through Guelph.

This is what it looked like on the radar.

“Daniel Liota, a meteorologist at Environment Canada’s storm prediction centre, told the Star that Saturday’s storm had wind speeds equivalent to a low-grade tornado. As a result, the agency sent out text message warnings urging Ontarians to seek immediate shelter. It was the first time this had ever been done for a storm in the province, he said.” That’s from the this story Intense storm rolls in from the Toronto Star, we read after it all happened. We also heard the very sad news that at least two people died.

Luckily we did not die.

What we did: When the wind picked up and the hail started we stopped by the side of the road, and then took cover in nearby subdivision. Continuing to ride wasn’t an option. I couldn’t see or stay upright. When things let up we biked to Hasty Mart and took cover under the awning there. When we could see the worst had passed we biked slowly home in bike lanes full of fallen trees, with no traffic lights working.

There were trees down everywhere. Power out everywhere. And sirens wailing as police and ambulances tried to get to those in immediate danger.

We got to hang out in the backyard and clean our bikes. They were covered in mud and grit.

Two bikes upside down in the grass, one orange and one black. A cat approaches and curiously sniffs the orange bike.

I’ve done a lot of bad weather cycling in my day. I’m tough and I can cope with cold and rain. But that thunder and hail and wind was really frightening.

I’m thinking of the cyclists we saw heading out of the city. We’d already ridden 50 km.

I’m also thinking of the biking rally training ride riders in Toronto. They got 10 km into their ride before being called off the road by those in charge of the ride.

Oh and then there’s Elan! She’s been asking Cate questions about touring since this was the weekend of her big ride. Yikes.

Hope everyone is well. If it’s like this again tomorrow, I might see you on Zwift!

3 thoughts on “Sam’s stormy scary bike ride

  1. Yikes!! We had many mature trees and full sized limbs come down in London. Very glad you are ok. Is there a what-to-do-while-hiking/biking in an emergency post? I’d love to see it.

  2. Wow. So glad you are ok! Wind is the scariest thing for me while biking (probably because we have almost no thunderstorms where I live). That combination must have been really frightening. I once was offered shelter in a farm house in North Dakota when a thunderstorm shifted directions & headed for us as we watched. But no awful wind. That was scary enough for me!

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