Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cold Commute Week

This cold snap we're currently experiencing in the western part of the country is making this week's morning AND evening commutes quite brisk in terms of wind chill factors.

I'd written that Monday had been my coldest commute at 6°F with the windchill at 55mph (the fastest I rode my 1996 Ural Sportsman Natasha at) causing me to "enjoy" a windchill factor of -23°F. The ride home was worse, even though the temperature had "soared" to 9°F. You see, I'd left the dang heated grips on all morning and depleted my "spare" battery. I simply must get it wired up so it does not turn on without the engine being on as well! So the ride home was without heated grips. Quite chilly, no frostbite though.

Well, today the temperature was 5°F during the morning commute so it was a windchill of almost -25°F. They're forecasting more cold and snow, with a high of only 10°F. However, I've a recharged spare battery....main battery is at 11volts so I should be good to go in terms of batteries. The only problem was the road spray from the magnesium-chloride covered E-470 toll way which I use during bad weather days. It dries very fast on one's visor, making it difficult to see and even more difficult to see! Had to ride with the visor open the last couple of miles, not bad but must find a way to clean the visor on the move.

Oh yeah, I triple-checked today, the heated grips were definitely off as I covered the motorcycle to keep snow from melting then freezing on the controls.

For those who are curious, Natasha seems to love cold weather. You do have to warm her up for 3-5 minutes though, with chokes on, after she sits in the cold all day. She's a bit "farty" in terms of low key backfiring until she warms up too.

Update: 4:55pm: Left work at 3:oo PM since I've some night work to do from home. The temperature was a balmy 2°F so I've managed to beat my own riding in low temperature record twice in the same day. Figure with the windchill at 50mph, I was riding in -27°F. Again, it was my fingertips that were starting to get chilly by the end of the ride, otherwise, no problems staying warm. Natasha ran great, we even did a couple of donuts in my cul-de-sac in front of my loving wife. I think she smiled.

Update: 07:15AM 09DEC09. Brrrrr. Started off from the house in -7°F, not too bad really since I was not going real fast, 40 mph tops till I got to the E-470 Gartrell Rd Entrance. Then the windchill made itself felt as I ramped up to 60mph. Woof. Shortly before the Peoria Street exit, my visor had frozen enough(bad placement of my balaclava I think, it drove moisture upwards from my mouth) to interfere with vision. Once on the exit, it was visor up the last mile or so to work. Thermometer here says -10°F, so with windchill at max speed during commute, my new low temperature riding record is -47.5! Holy Crap! I am not ashamed to say I am glad that temperatures will rise starting today.....heck, the expected high of 22°F will feel positively balmy!

Update: 07:08 AM 10DEC09. The temperature was 10°F as I left the house, things felt positively balmy as I motored on surface roads to work. The roads were 99% clear and dry so the commute was without incident. The windchill calculator tells me that at 50mph it was a windchill of -16.9, after yesterday, it felt quite alright. A high of 29 today for the commute home, I may have to shed layers. ;)

15 comments:

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

As far as I am aware, you have achieved the lowest temperature ride of any of the guys I know. I'm afraid there reaches a time when my riding hits the point of diminishing returns. I got the first dose of this yesterday, when we had the first snow of the season, which was also the first snowfall to stick to the road.

The temperature here today is in the low 40's (F), but they are predicting heavy rain for tomorrow. This should get the snow off the road and I may get a ride in next week.

Another glorious post.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Sojourner rides said...

I am amazed and impressed with you cold weather riding! I the coldest I've ridden is low 30s, including some pretty fierce winds. I'm trying to wrap my brain around the temps you've posted here. Still trying...

Richard Machida said...

Are there outlets in the parking lot? It sounds like time for a silicone pan heater and battery blanket to keep things warm during the day. The borough here requires the parking lot outlets to start cycling when temps drop below 20F and "on" as soon as it goes below 0F. It'll definitely help with the battery's ability to keep a charge plus you could always top off the battery while working.

Charlie6 said...

Jack....surely there's riders in the mac-pac who've ridden in colder temperatures? Good to see you back online.

Charlie6 said...

Sojourner....three wheels and layers make all the difference. The only spots that get cold now are my finger tips.....and for my 12 mile one way commute, it's not bad. It was colder on the way home today....I'll update the posting with that.

Charlie6 said...

Richard, nope, no electrical outlets in the parking lot that I can find....it'd be nice to plug into one to recharge batteries....I'd even buy an oil sump heater...but Natasha seems to deal with the cold ok so far. She sat in temperatures ranging from 2-7 degrees farenheit all day, and still fired up after a couple of cranks of the starter. Took me five minutes of just idling to get her to run steady but eventually, she was ready to go.

cpa3485 said...

We are now getting that cold blast you had. Tonight supposed to be down to 3 degrees and very windy.
Multiply 3 drgrees by 40 mph winds by 40mph bike speed and the result is........... Hell, who cares.
Conch just does not understand the joy.

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Cpa3485 for your update, I added an update entry to the blog posting for this morning's ride....it was a new low for me.

Diamond Dave said...

Crazy old man.

bobskoot said...

Charlie6:

I think we are lucky to be in the KW of Canada, but even we are below 0c for the next few days, nothing like you have where you are. The problem up here is our dew point usually means ice on the roads starting around 32f.

We should change your name to: Crazy6

enjoy the snow while you can. One day it is going to melt

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Charlie6 said...

Bobskoot....thanks for the compliment....it's echoed by my officemates....

the snow is already melting apparently, temps have soared to 18 degrees fahrenheit as I type this and I can actually see portions of the pavement in the parking lot. Colorado sunshine, good stuff. -45 with windchill is low enough for me, bring on some warmer weather....say around freezing or so just so there's some snow left to play on this weekend.

irondad said...

I totally get you, dude! I'm just sorry that the lowest temp we've had here is 14 degrees ( f ). I'm praying for more Artic Air to catch up to you. You are The Man!

irondad said...

P.S. Don't know if you are familiar with Baron's Life blog. Here is a post on sidecars.

http://baronsview.blogspot.com/2009/12/amazing-side-cars.html

Allen Madding said...

I tip my helmet to you, you have beaten my personal record, and I have no intention of trying to best you :)

-Peace

Charlie6 said...

Irondad, thanks for the link and the enablement words. Now that I've ridden in -47.5 Fahrenheit (with windchill), I'm ready for more reasonable cold weather....

Allen, thanks for reading this stuff, it's "interesting" riding in really cold weather eh?