Tuesday, October 9, 2007


There is a sense of vulnerability that is compounded by bad conditions. The morning fog here comes with a milky light and the promise of the unknown. It's all very mysterious and most mornings I find it a welcome site. But this day I was on the bike and I rolled into the fog before I realized how thick it was. Cold and dense, it clung to me, to the bike, and everything else. My visor wouldn't clear and droplets were forming on my sunglasses (which oddly enough were a necessity not two minutes before). I slowed to a crawl, 10 miles-per-hour. The road became slick, and visibility dropped to about 30 feet. I found a gas station, pulled off, grabbed a cup of coffee, and waited for the conditions to change and my body to warm up. Once the fog lifted I hit the road north and put in a good 40 ride.

I didn't give the experience much thought until I walked to work on Monday morning. The same fog had settled in and as I was admiring its beauty (and promising myself I wouldn't ride through this mess again) at about the same time one of my coworkers, a life-long rider and a fellow airhead, was making the morning commute. Somewhere on one of the low roads a garbage truck pulled out in front of him in a fog bank. He went down. Hard. Fortunately, he made it through, but his injuries are many and severe.

Riding is inherently risky, even on good days. Excellent conditions seem to invite a harder twist of the throttle. A clear line of sight adds confidence when skill isn't there. If an experienced rider like my friend can be taken down so quickly, how does a beginner stand a chance? I was out early on a Saturday and there wasn't much traffic. I was fortunate enough to find a place to wait out the conditions. I'm not sure what to make of the whole thing. There is so much to learn.

1 comment:

Steve Williams said...

It's always a good idea to pull off the road when conditions get bad. At least long enough to reorient yourself to what is going on and switch mental gears to the new environment. Being able to wait until it passes is even better.

The relative risk to motorcycle riders is one of those elusive matters. Statistically it is not the most dangerous form of transportation. The odds of dying in a year in an automobile is much greater than on a motorcycle. But like all statistics it is how you interpret them that matters. I'm working on another post myself on these numbers.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks