Often times, a biker will begin a trip with a great adventure in mind, and a sudden summer storm will appear, and transition from a happy time to a dangerous one. Biking is a dangerous sport, so weather is often something you can be sure will be part of the probable scary mix. Sudden summer storms come in the way of hail, high winds, heavy rain and winds, and even tornadoes and straight line winds.
Sudden Summer Storms and Minnesota Biking
With the summer beginning in 2014, the rain has been a very common thread for us in Minnesota. Lately, it has been pretty difficult to get out and have a ride without a few rain drops at the beginning or the end. The main problem with sudden summer storms in MN are that they do not always appear at the times of departure of a bike run. The weather appears beautiful, and in the short time of even a half hour, clouds can gather, and the weather can change. For this reason, you must be careful and review your local weather before you leave the house to prepare for sudden summer storms.
If you are caught in a storm, and find that it is just unpredictable and is going to impact you, what can you do? The best thing is to always be prepared with some good tools!
Sudden Summer Storms Require some Planning
Be sure to carry a fully charged phone, and one that has a radio app handy on it. The best defense too, is having a radar app, that can check on your location. However, if you are out of cell phone range, nothing with this plan will work. It may be a good idea to carry a small battery powered radio, so that you can check on warnings or weather alerts. Maps of your trip area are also necessary, so you can plan a shelter route if you have time. Sudden Summer Storms often can’t be out run or out biked, but you can define your escape route by map much easier than just a guess.
If you don’t have a radio, phone access or a map, use this trick, and bike towards the sun in the morning, and away from the sun in the afternoon. Heading east is often the safest way to travel, as most storms travel from west to east. Not always the case, but you can gage a sudden summer storm by wetting your finger and seeing what direction the wind is heading. Ride with the wind, and get yourself to a sheltered location quick.
Any outlying farmer or city business will be happy to help you in a sudden summer storm. Even though some city vehicle drivers have a passionate hate towards city bikers, those same drivers will be compassionate in times of need. This could be one of the only times you may have as a cyclist to outreach to these citizens. Ensuring that you are in a safe area until the sudden summer storm passes, you are not only envisioning a safe place to stay during the weather, but a way to broaden someone’s appreciation for our sport.
Clothing is key during a Sudden Summer Storm
When you are biking in the summer, be sure to carry a lightweight but waterproof jacket for use in heavy rain. It will help too if you get caught in small hail, but large hail can be very dangerous. That is why getting to shelter is a true mission when a sudden summer storm occurs. Good shoes, and a hat are another key clothing piece to carry. It is hard to carry all the items you will need to ride without too much weight, but if you do not prepare for a safe ride, you are not providing yourself a way to ride in the future. It is always about keeping the ride going forward, even when a sudden summer storm hits.