Daily Rider & Ice

It was 28 degrees according to the Time & Temperature clock when I left Kerman this morning. Luckily it was clear and relatively dry. About 6 miles east of town, the temperature had dropped a few degrees and I began to get into some fog. The fog thickened up to about 500 feet visibility and the bike & I were getting wetter & wetter in the fog. I needed to wipe my face shield off every minute or so.

Then came the inevitable results of combining a foggy mist with mid 20s temperatures and a 40-50 mph wind; my faceshield would not wipe off. (A quick look at a NOAA windchill chart later in the day showed the effective temperature to be about 4 degrees.) Some quick and vigorous scraping poked a hole in the ice on my shield big enough to see through. The heated grips on the bike (Wow, do I love the heated grips!) had the palms of my gloves very toasty so rubbing the ice with the palm of the glove got a bit more ice removed. I would imagine that the sight of motorcyclist riding through the fog with one hand covering his face & eyes was a bit strange (and possible memorable) to the drivers going the other way. The way I figure it though, I already couldn't see because of the fog & ice; covering my eyes with my hand wasn't going to make things much worse. (Really, though, this whole scene only lasted 5-10 seconds.) After I got a hole made in the ice, I was able to keep it clear, even though the rest of my visor continued to ice up.

A few more miles up the road and the front of my jacket was white with ice, particularly on my arms, as were my knee caps and the toes of my boots. I had horizontal icicles hanging from the top of my windshield, my handguards, and on the lower crashbars. Thankfully, the fog was not resting on the ground and/or freezing there. Ice & motorcycles do not play well together.

By the time I reached the Fresno City limits, the fog had lifted and it was clear & dry again. Within a few miles, the ice was gone, but it was still cold.


Daily Rider in the Rain

More rain today. I don't mind riding in it. I kind of enjoy it, and I think it makes me a better rider. The roads get very slick when they're wet with the first few rains, so I don't man-handle the bike as much. I'm much more conscious of my throttle & braking, particularly how smooth (or not) it is. If it's smooth, there are no problems, but a jerky thorttle or a quick jab at the brakes gets things unsettled very quickly. I read that somewhere, but experience has made it sink in.


64,000 Miles

I rolled 64,000 miles on the BMW R100GS on the way home tonight. I'm aiming at 100,000.

It was pouring rain for most of my 28 mile trip to work. I managed to get there dry & comfy without any leaks. It rained most of the way home too, but by this time my boots were soaked. It's supposed to rain for the next few days. We'll see how that goes.


62,000 Miles

I rolled 62,000 miles on the BMW R100GS on the way home tonight. I'm aiming at 100,000.


60,000 Miles

I rolled 60,000 miles on the BMW R100GS on the way home tonight. I'm aiming at 100,000.


59,000 Miles

I rolled 59,000 miles on the BMW R100GS on the way home tonight. I'm aiming at 100,000.


Climb to Kaiser

Today was the Fresno Cycling Club's 31st annual Climb to Kaiser. 155 miles. Nearly 14,000 feet of elevation gain, with a beginning altitude of 320 feet and final altitude of 9200 feet at the halfway point. There was a record 330 riders for the event this year. Cool temperatures in the mountains made for some fast course times. (It was in the mid-70s above 4000' for most of the day.) The first two finishers were only 15 minutes off the course record, and they said if they had known they were that close, they would have tried to beat it. As it was, they weren't trying at all; they were just out for a ride.

It was a good day for me. I helped organize the support vehicles - aka SAG vehicles - for the ride. This was my tenth year working the SAG crew. (After competing in the ride in 1996 & 1997, and earning my Finisher's Jersey, I started doing SAG for the Climb to Kaiser in 1998.) Paula Landis, 2006 Fresno Cycling Club President, and the current Fresno BMW Motorcycle Riders Club President stepped up to help with the SAG. She enlisted (for the second year now) the help of the BMW Club. Most of the aid needed by the bicycle riders is simply water and the occasional flat tire. Motorcycles can quickly move over the course and get alongside and around the bicycle riders much easier than a car or van. Cars, trucks and vans are used to move riders down the mountains if the bicycle riders have mechanical problems or if they get to sick or exhausted to continue. I first used a motorcycle in 2000 (I was the only one) and we've used more each year. We've had about 12-14 motorcycle to compliment the 10 other SAG vehicles for the past two years. This year I drove a van and really missed my motorcycle.

From a SAG perspective, the ride was fairly uneventful, which is a good thing. We've had, in years past, forest fires, rain, hail, and lightning strikes. We've had a few broken bones, a lot of road rash, and many, many broken spirits. We've even had a few concussions and, sadly, one fatality in 2003. This year, the worst I'd heard was a few unconfirmed reports of dog bites from a loose Doberman in Burroughs Valley, south of Tollhouse, and a wedding which was scheduled just across the parking lot from our main rest stop in Shaver Lake. There were relatively few riders that needed to be SAGged during the ride or at the end of the day. There were a few, but not as many as in past years. As a matter of fact, this is the first time in my ten years that there were no bicycle riders to be taken down the hill at 7:00 pm from the Shaver rest stop when it closed down. All of the large SAG vehicles headed down the hill unloaded, and all of the last riders made it to the end on their own.

Congrats to all of them.

See all the pics here.