Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Will Spring ever come?

I think Spring may have finally gained a toehold. Based on the past month, though, who knows? It seems like I've been doomed to commute and teach classes in the snow for months. This shouldn't be happening.

Please don't take this as excessive whining! I know that there are huge floods in some areas and lots of snow still on the ground in others. Places that aren't covered in some form of water have been blown away. What we've been dealing with here is small potatoes in comparison. Even at that, though, we're not supposed to have these kind of adverse weather conditions. Actually, I wouldn't really even care if it weren't for trying to teach motorcycle classes.

According to the weather guy this has been the second coldest March in three decades. My first class of the year got snowed out. I posted that story earlier. We've seen lighter snow showers all along. This last week, Spring Break, no less, saw me taking part in two classes. Both, at the end of March, almost got cancelled out by snow. Can you believe that? Check out this video. This was last Wednesday in Portland. Just a couple of miles East of Interstate 5. It was a midweek class at Portland Community College's Sylvania Campus. The elevation is about four hundred feet. I usually don't include videos here. This one proves my point in spades so I had to put it in. A KGW news person was taking pictures of the snow. They happened to catch a little bit of our class. The video's about two minutes long. Watch for us about halfway through. Click here to see it, but please come back!

Friday afternoon Katie and I left for Medford. I mentioned that before. Between here and there are four passes. The lowest is a little over 1700 feet high. The highest of the four is 2020 feet high. The transportation department report said there was slushy snow on the freeway. One of my friends had come back through there and verified the report. I'm sorry to disappoint those who expected me to be more hard core, but I did have Katie with me, you know. So we drove. I know, what a sissy! All I can say is that I didn't want to blatantly endanger my sweetie. A heavy snow and rain mix fell the entire way down. The temperature hovered at 34 degrees (f). We would have been ok on the bike but Katie would have been pretty darn miserable.

Medford is at an elevation of 1280 feet above sea level. When we went out into the parking lot at 6 AM Saturday the pavement and all the cars were covered in a thin sheet of ice. Fluffy snow flakes, in turn, covered the ice.The temperature was down to 22 degrees. Traction on a bike would have been really dicey.

We almost had to cancel class but managed to get it in. Part of the problem was with trying to keep eye protection on the students. We require either glasses or faceshields be used whenever they're on the bikes. It was so cold and moist that the eye protection would instantly fog up. What a struggle! Eventually we got above freezing. Right about the time to go into the classroom, unfortunately.

Sunday was the last day of March. It snowed all day. Fortunately, the snow melted as soon as it hit the ground. We still froze. I was acting as a mentor to an instructor in his very first class. This meant we were pretty much joined at the hip all morning. All for one, and one for all. All three of us froze. At least the students had warm motors under them! What an eye opener for a brand new instructor. He was awesome despite all the adversity. We also had a few very difficult students on top of everything. There were some interesting stories this weekend. Maybe I'll share some later.

We're known for our rainfall, not snow. I like snow but I hope it ends so we can get on with our training season. Commuting, however, hasn't stopped. I ride all year but I have to admit I like warm better than icy. Things are looking up in that regard. Here's a couple of totally different pictures from today. I stopped in for lunch at the Oregon State University campus.

This is one of the bike only parking spots on campus. There was actually one more cruiser earlier. On the way back to Sophie I snapped this picture with my camera phone. Sorry these pictures aren't totally clear. The sun was so bright I couldn't see my phone's display so I sort of guessed.

Like Krysta said, Sophie cleans up pretty well. I do like trying to keep bikes clean. Sophie's got enough wear everywhere that she looks road worn even when clean. She's pretty spiffy right now.

Today the temperature climbed to a dizzying 50. The weather guessers say we could see lower 60's by Thursday. Maybe Spring is finally gaining the upper hand. I've got several meetings tomorrow. My biggest challenge is to figure out how to get the most miles in between meetings and still be on time!

Miles and smiles,


P.S. Thanks so much for all the comments on the last post. Life gets so hectic that I'm sometimes tempted to let the blogging go by the wayside. Your comments remind me of how many friends I have in the blogging neighborhood. My enthusiasm get rekindles once more!


Sankoobaba said...

a very good post...its better to be safe...than sorry...sometimes we should prefer safety...I have no idea about riding in snow...as I have seen snow only on TV...but I do have an idea of a rainy ride...and it is bit scary at times...keep writing!!!

Doug C said...

Sophie looks great, especially under that incredible blue sky!

Always look forward to your opinions, insights and stories. I've put an AeroStich on my wish list although it might be a while before that wish is granted!

Love the posts!

Stacy said...


You should visit the free bike parking on Monroe Street across from campus sometime!

On nice days, it becomes a veritable showroom of bikes.

On rainy days, my Rebel gets lonely as it rarely has company.

On icy days, even the Rebel stays home.

Bryce said...

The last day of March, the 31st was Monday. Mind in your world the last day of March could well have been
the Sunday, you were about to become a frozen statue!You and time would stand still from that point on.

BTW still cold here in Southern Ontario, temperature on April First was up to an amazing 15 degrees Celsius with a warm wind! A large amount of snow disappeared, now if it will just stay away!

irondad said...

Too bad it wasn't rain you only saw on TV. I hate rain. Thanks for the support!

Doug C,
Isn't it amazing how sun and blue skies make everything so much better? You'll never regret buying a 'Stich.

Where is that exactly? I had lunch on Monroe St. I parked on 14th or 15th, whichever that is, then walked to Ag / Strand. The meters where I parked allow two hours. From Ag / Strand Ray and I walked over to Monroe. There's a mexican eatery near McMenamins. Is this parking spot farther West towards the Oceanagraphic Bldg? I'd love to go check it out.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have just made a mistake, would I? It's been so cold up there in your frozen North that I'm sure it's just a case of your calendars taking an extra day to turn over.

Yes, I forgot Monday was actually the 31st. I hadn't thawed out, yet.

Take care,


Road Captain said...

Dan, come by and visit. We miss you. Check out my review of Ultimate Street Strategies; yes I finally finished reading it. Also check out my Biker Blogs page. Yes, I added your site! Keep up the great work. Also, as you suggested I e-mailed Mike Werner and discussed MBI with him a little bit. I have decided to apply for membership even though I am not 100% into the award program.

Lady Ridesalot said...

I can't imagine riding in a snow/rain combination. I'm fortunate to be in the South, were we should count our Blessings for the year round riding we have. Ride safe! Lady R

Balisada said...


I am sooooo done with the rain and cold weather.

The better weather does bring some friends for my Rebel though. It does get lonely parked by itself in cruddy weather.


Stacy said...

The free parking area is further west than Qdoba (the Mexican place you mentioned.) It's on 23rd and Monroe.

Apparently, satellites have seen it from space:


It's run by the city, so no OSU permit nonsense required. :)

Conchscooter said...

You need to pick up the pace a bit because its starting to look like summer round here with thunderheads, lightning and sporadic rain showers.And 90 degree afternoons. I have no idea how you teach people to ride motorcycles when snow is falling. I think you are all mad.

Anonymous said...

Nice to be able to read your blog about riding in a land far distant from my own. What is most interesting is the simalarities between riding here and there! I have been riding for many years (safely, thankfully)and the aggressivness of the car driver has increased. If I am out riding then extra awareness is needed when following the speed restrictions..... why? Because if you follow the speed limits then you will be overtaken in towns, in swings and blind corners! Just the other day I was overtaken by a lady of 75 years in her 35 year old skoda and I was doing 5km more than I should:-( near a school as well. The trend of older riders going back to mc riding or just realising the dream of boyhood is telling over here. Last year there were 42 motorcycle related deaths in my country (total pop. 6 mill 200.000 registered MC owners)of the 42 over 30 were men over 40 yrs old! I no longer commute on a bike but I would recommend it to anyone wanting to gain experience. Training is important yes but so is practice. My instructor from when I first started out always said" I can teach you how but you really start learning after you have passed your test!"
All the best Martin
PS If you expect the worst then at least you have a chance of avoiding it!

Jeff In NY said...

I'm so jealous every time is see references to motorcycle only parking. There are none in my neck of the woods. Some old timers tell me, yeah, there used to be a bunch at the local university (gone), at the plant (gone), by the civic center (gone).

Now we are left with 1 bike per car spot, or a couple of bikes nervously clustered in an oddly shaped no parking zone. I'm still looking forward to the first time I can slide into a motorcycle only parking spot...just for the fun of it.

mrs road captain said...

We haven't had much (if any) snow in Delaware this winter, but the rain has got to go! Typically, March sees about 3 inches of the wet stuff, we had over 6 this year!!! When will it stop raining???

Jeff, I know what you mean about the MC parking. The only place they have it around here is at the Harley dealerships!

irondad said...

I actually came by and read your review of Ultimate Street Strategies. My plan was to check a couple of places where the book might be available, then post it in your comment section. I didn't find a source.

Lady R,
I can ride almost all year but get mighty wet, sometimes! The snow is almost a relief from the rain. The local Cycle Trader magazine has a lot of ads for bikes that were "never ridden in the rain". You know those are low mileage bikes, for sure.

Are you still dodging the big construction containers to get into the bike parking? It is nice to see other bikes for a change, isn't it?

I'll have to come find your Rebel.
what color is it?

I'm insane from lack of sunshine. It's either do our thing in the snow or not at all! The latter isn't an acceptable option.

Thank you for gracing my blog! You are correct in that passing a class is just the foundation. There is still a house to be built.
Where might your country be?

I'd love to be able to help but I'm not sure how. The thing I will do, though, is be much more appreciative when I use a motorcycle only space! Although, a lot of these spaces seem to be afterthoughts. They are farther away and downright precarious at times.

Mrs. Roadcaptain,
Ditto for you!

Stacy said...

Black is the fastest color. ;)

Though on the Rebel, fast is a matter of opinion!