Friday, May 15, 2015

Fog Ride

Someone dropped a cloud on Iowa overnight.  We wore as much reflective clothing as we could stomach and rolled into said cloud.  Mary followed my suggestion of turning off her headlamp and using the handlebar light only.  Having quite a lot of experience in these conditions all headlamps do is reflect the water vapor back to the eyes.  From my handlebar light I could see every water particle in front of the beam.  I made the mistake of sticking my hand in front of the light and nearly blinded myself. 

Rounding the curve from Gray's Lake to the GL Bypass I noted that for the first time I was unable to see the Fleur Viaduct just over 1/2 mile away.  Gone.  Cloaked by the fog.  Everything was obscured by the cloud.

Rolling on into Water Works on the Bill Riley Trail the deer were nearly invisible as well.  I saw one to my left and instinctively turned my head to the right to look for others.  None to be seen.  Great.  Going to get killed by Bambi.

Joe Ayers was not seen but we left late.  To other bikes and a man walking a dog were out but the couple who walk their dogs on the other side of 63rd were missing.  We probably late at that point.  They were out in the rain the day before, umbrellas and leashes.  Then the tall guy with the BRIGHT headlamp rolled past.  At least he said hello while blinding us.

After 8 miles it was time to part ways and take the streets.  I switched the front light to flash since a flashing light attracts more attention than a solid beam.  I was glad to have my eFlare.  The HZ530 with its amber and white strobe mounted on back of the bike may be a bit overkill but it made me feel secure on the streets.  My red flashes were on as well.  I saw another bike at the intersection of 42nd and Westown Pkwy.  We acknowledged each other and I wished him luck.  Daylight was coming and that made the fog seem worse.

I did something I have not done since winter and that was only once.  I took the sidepath at 50th to get over the freeway instead of taking the road.  A small concession to cars but on this day with limited visibility it was the safest option.  I stopped taking the sidepath because it does pose a greater risk of collision.  I have to cut over to the left and get on the sidewalk.  This provides cars two opportunities to right hook me.  And then once over the freeway I have to cross 4 lanes of traffic to get into the driveway of my employer.  I stopped for photos today.

Made it there alive and unscathed.  I imagine there were a few fender benders in Des Moines from idiots who should not be driving.  But they missed me.

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