Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lesson Learned: Strong Winds create unexpected snow mounds

Temperatures in high teens-low twenties. Partly Sunny.

So I was putting on my riding gear at my motorcycle and my loving wife asked me: "you're going to check out the escape path, right?". To which I replied, "I am sure it'll be fine". This was to come back to haunt me, I should have listened to the voice of reason.

The escape path, is neighborhood sidewalks that I've kept clear after snow storms since my 600lb+ motorcycle really does not do well on loose snow/ice. Loose snow and ice is what the neighborhood streets here are like usually after a good snow fall.

Well, I started off on the escape path, and all was well till I neared South Ireland Street. I spotted snow about 6-8 inches deep sloping down to about an inch thick as it neared the edge of the sidewalk and the street. There was maybe six inches of sidewalk that was not covered by windblown snow from the lawn next to the sidewalk. Damn.

I tried to ride as close to the right as possible, nearest to the edge where it drops off a few inches to the street but the snow grabbed my front wheel and down we went.

Luckily, I was going really slow and Maria settled softly onto the piled up snow which the winds last night had accumulated on the sidewalk. I was unhurt, still standing in fact. I got off the motorcycle, and picked up Maria with no undue effort and pushed her clear of the snow mound (about ten ft) and onto a clear portion of the sidewalk.

No damage evident to the motorcycle, I walked back to the house for a shovel, cleared off the 20 ft or so of snow mounds on the sidewalk, returned the shovel and got back to Maria and we escaped the neighborhood with no further issues.

So yeah, always check the escape path! Strong winds are more than just wind, specially when there's lots of snow bordering the escape path!

Followup thoughts:
It's just dawned on me what my frame of mind was during this morning's slow speed fall onto the snow bank. Unlike my other falls, I was not experiencing "a higher heartbeat rate", breathing hard or finding myself embarassed. It was kind of a matter of fact moment, with me saying to myself "well, that didn't work, pick it up and move it off the snow".

Perhaps it was because there was no damage thanks to the snow cushioning the motorcycle's fall, the fact I was not tossed off as before, or perhaps the confirmation that things like this will happen when one chooses to be "the local designated wack job on a motorcycle" and riding in sometimes suboptimal conditions.

Heck, I now remember whistling softly to myself as I walked back and forth to the house for the shovel to clear away the snow mounds in preparation for when I return home from work!

It must have been, upon further reflection, quite the amusing picture to people watching this; a guy wearing full riding gear and helmet, carrying a shovel and clearing snow with his motorcycle parked nearby. : )


irondad said...

Interesting. How amazing that you can get away with riding on sidewalks there. The neighbors must be pretty tolerant. The good news is that it would ( or should ) keep your speed down.

Sorry the bike fell over. At least you let her go. I know a few people who got hurt by trying to catch it and keep it from going over. Too much weight with too much leverage.

Of course, like you say, better not to fall in the first place if you can prevent it! Admire your honesty in sharing.

redlegsrides said...


I don't think the neighbors mind, been doing it since last winter. I think they like my keeping their portions of the sidewalks cleared of snow/ice!

I also make sure to yield to any pedestrians I encounter, which is rare.

re sharing my mishaps, the blog is a record primarily for me to look back on, if someone benefits from some lesson I learned (usually the hard way) then even better.