Wednesday, April 7

Rain Riding and the BMW Mileage Contest Results!

The weather has been ride-perfect for the last week or so. This week, the week I'm taking off from one of my jobs, the weather has been cold(er), rainy and quite windy. I couldn't care less! I've taken to the road as much as time allows! Riding in the cold rain is better than no riding at all.

My Easter Sunday ride promised to be a nice one but ended up mostly in the rain. I left the house so optimistic that the weather would clear up, I failed to pack the rain gear, which really is optional when wearing my preferred jacket. My Fieldsheer Adventure jacket is water proof and kept my body dry, but when the exterior got drenched it led to feeling chilled, which never really went away--my fault for not taking the time to put the wind/rain liner in the jacket. Thank goodness for heated grips.

Stopped at a gas station to put air into the tires and accidentally overinflated the tires. It was a crappy air system and it registered amounts that were inconsistent with my old fashion air gauge. When I tried to take some of the air out, it was always too much and then I'd inflate again and go over. Ugh! Eventually, I just left it several pounds over-inflated. I learned that this is not good. For those of you out there who know more about this sort of thing than I do, tell me if my logic makes sense.

I'm assuming that an overinflated tired can be pretty dang bad on wet pavement. It seems to me that over inflation means that there is less rubber on the road, that the contact patch will be smaller, which could lead to less grip and even more slippage than one would encounter if the tires were inflated properly. This all makes sense to me but I'm going strictly on feel. When the rain came and it came fast and furiously at first, there was no shoulder on which to pull off so I continued on. I've ridden in many rain storms, some that produced a religious re-awakening in me--if you know what I mean.

The Easter rain was heavy and as I rode down two lane roads, with speed limits of 45-55 mph, I experienced a lot of slippage of the back tire--at least that's where I felt it most. This sliding around was definitely over and above the normal slippery feeling that is common in the early stages of riding on wet roads. It was a bit spooky at first but when I adjusted my riding accordingly, I was able to ride until I found a pull off place. Throughout the rest of the ride I experienced many breath-taking moments on the road.

So, is my theory correct about the over-inflated tires, smaller contact patch, etc.? (Yes, now home, the correction has been implemented).

I road most of the day and night in on and off again rain. In the dark of night, the lightening flashes forced me to take refuge at my mother's house. She put my jacket and gloves in the dryer and that warmth was pure joy. The rain didn't stop so after an hour of visiting, I headed out again when the rain seemed lighter. Within 5 minutes on the road, the dark skies opened again. It was after 10pm; I made it home around 11pm, chilled to the bone with prayers answered. Other than being a tad cold, I ended the day with no complaints about my wet day on two wheels.


Well, guess who made it among the top 25 women mileage contest winners?! I think I was 19th. And, guess who did extremely well among the 89 Illinois finishers! I think I was 15ish? I say "think" because once again I didn't receive my April issue of the BMW MOA magazine! So, I'm writing the place positions from what I recall reading in Dave's magazine.

In print, I am short of my mileage goals because I rode two other motorcycles during ride season and couldn't count the miles on those bikes. This time, I'm adding the BMW F650GS to the contest since I'm going to be babysitting it until June. I have bigger mileage goals this year. Still, the ultimate goal is lots of long, safe miles of smile.

I'm a sucker for contests of this sort because you compete against yourself. You have no idea what others are doing. It's about doing your own thing. Setting goals and figuring out how to accomplish it. I like that it's no fuss, no muss. Just enter, ride and report your certified miles.

Today is dark, dreary, rainy and cold.

They say it might clear up. I'm waiting...