Absolute Worst Riding Conditions You Have Endured.

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Sleepyc, Nov 2, 2017.

  1. Sleepyc

    Sleepyc I have a Moto Boner!

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2017
    Oddometer:
    1,087
    Location:
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    So last night I picked up a new to me S10 and rode 6+ hours back home. The weather guesser had said "Southern Ohio should see the weather clear around 3pm and leave a chilly but clear night". So I headed down from Cleveland to an hour past Dayton to pick up my new to me bike.

    As we arrived around 4pm, the "clear" weather was nowhere in sight. I Did the bike transaction, (great guy, the seller) geared up and headed for home at around 5:10pm. As soon as I clicked into first gear the deluge started. And I don't mean rain, I mean buckets pouring on your head rain. Within two minutes my eyeglasses fogged and had to be jettisoned. I'm now 25% more blind and looking through a face shield that is constantly being bombarded with buckets of water...

    Hour an half later and the temps dropped to around 33 deg. Heading into Columbus, around 25 miles out night fell hard and my pin-lock shield failed and fogged bad. (almost like the fog got trapped inside) Now with the face shield cracked about a 1/2 inch I could kind of see, so I continued on. All the while ice cold water was pouring in and smacking me in the mouth. At this time, light reflections and the spray from trucks started to really become an issue, but I had no way to stop as this was the only day for this to happen and I had to be at work at 7am today,So I had to get the bike home that night.

    We hit Columbus around 8pm. Dark as hell, raining even harder. My Klim "water proof" Goretex snowmobile gloves started to feel a bit wet and my hands started to get cold. The rain, believe it or not worsened and it was like driving through a guy holding a hose on full blast to my face...
    We crossed through Columbus and hit I71. Traffic slowed a bit and gave me a bit of relief from the spray and the cold, but the pounding of the rain on my helmet reminded me that it was still pouring.

    As we hit Mansfield my face shield started to freeze up when I'd pass a semi from the tire spray. It was starting to become insane. And I wondered "Do other morons drive motorcycles in this stuff?!?!"

    At this time I also needed to get gas, so I blinkered my escort-bring-the-car-back-driver and we stopped at a BP. I fueled up and warmed up a bit. (A piping hot cup of coffee never felt better in my hands) At this point, Bob my "return my wife's car home" driver pointed a radar shot on his phone and I joking said "Let me guess, it's going to be two times worse?" He replied.. "NOPE! (pause) Probably four times worse and he showed me a NASTY radar scan showing that the storm had followed us and we were smack dab in the middle of the "RED". I shook my head, added a pair of surgical gloves to go inside my other gloves and we headed headed back out.

    Now the cross wind was blowing making the rain come from the front and the side pushing water up my cracked shield and into my face and eyes. And it was pushing the S10 and me around a bit. At this point the face shield and windshield started have icing form on them and I was watching (what I could see of it) the tarmac for any signs of ice. Add to this passing double long semi's through a fog bubble of a fogged face sheild and the constant water pounding my face and I almost called it quits... I was basically driving into a blur watching the dotted and solid lines right in front of me making sure I stayed in-between them.

    But as I said there was no option. I'm leaving on a business trip today (later) and the next few weeks are work busy. After that I'm pretty sure winter will hit Ohio and riding will be done... So I kept on, just saying to myself, "10 more miles."

    When I saw "Cleveland 40 miles" I knew I was in the home stretch and muscled on...

    Arrived home at 11:40pm... Hands and feet Soaked and frozen. (it's amazing how much you over steer when you can't feel your hands) and have never been happier to end a ride. In 30 years of riding that was the absolute worst conditions I have faced. I've been soaked before and I've been frozen before, but never both at the same time as much as last night...

    This morning at 6am leaving for work, all my "waterproof" gear was still damp and the KLIM gloves were still dripping. Todays ride to work in my car was the first time I was not mad about driving instead of riding (asking for 1 day pass, I'd still rather ride 99.9% of the time)

    SO.. who's seen worse, who's battled the elements and won (or lost?) break out the stories!

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    #1
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  2. Bultaco206

    Bultaco206 Back-to-back motos suck

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,204
    Location:
    Mineral Point, WI
    In August one year (2009?) I left a hotel one morning north of SLC on my way home to NW Illinois from a business meeting in Boise. Bike was frosted-up pretty well. Forecast called for rain until about noon for points east. Got going, cleared SLC morning rush, and was hammer-down east on I-80 when the rain started. Climbed into western WY and noticed the wheel spray of the vehicles in front of me had disappeared. That was Red Flag #1. Red Flag #2 was the sleet pellets that gave way into snow. Red Flag #3 was when the snow started accumulating at a pretty rapid rate on the ground, roadway, bike, and me.

    Putted along for a few miles covered in snow with no real visibility until I found an exit. It was like one big trials section on a V-Strom. By now there was a good 5-6 inches piled up. Hung out at a gas station for about an hour until the visibility improved enough that I could continue on and descend into just rain for a while. Temps the rest of the day across I-80 into western NE never made it above 50 with off and on showers. I never really got wet, or had any gear issues. But traction was an issue for a while, as well as being able to see.

    I'm one of the weirdos that actually likes riding in the rain as long as I can see. But that August Snowmageddon express trip home from Idaho that year was one of the worst riding days in general I've experienced.
    #2
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  3. rebake

    rebake Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,099
    Location:
    NewHampshire
    I have done rain,sleet, snow and a really close lightning strike.The thing I hate the most is high crosswinds.
    #3
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  4. sleazy rider

    sleazy rider Retired

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,420
    Location:
    Just far enough to the left of Pontiac, Michigan
    Left Detroit for a weeklong work trip to Alpena, about 240 miles away. It was April 1984 and warm, so the GoldWing and trailer got loaded up with all my camping gear. Five lazy hours later, I'm in the campground setting up. The week goes by and it's sunny and warm while we work. Packed most of my stuff up Friday night into the cargo trailer leaving just camp to break in the morning.

    I woke to 3" of snow on the ground and frigid temps. Not good. Had some coffee and endured my co-workers chuckles. Got camp packed up about 9 and geared up with all the layers I could stand and still move. Fired up, headed out to the first sporting goods store I could find for heat packs. I bought a dozen and should have gotten twice that many. The roads were mostly clear, but the snow was still blowing around. I rode for an hour, stopped at a gas station for coffee and warmth. Rinse and repeat to Grayling. At the stop in Grayling, there was an inch of ice coating the forks and lower fairings. This was getting even more stupid.

    Mom lived in Houghton Lake. I called her and said I'm coming over on the bike. "WHATTT???" Told her I'd share the whole story when I got there and to put a pot of coffee on. Three hours from Alpena to Houghton Lake was about all I could take without heated gear. I spent the night at her house and woke to sunshine and snow melting. It was all gone by noon and I was outta there by 2, home by 5 for dinner. My wife just shook her head and giggled at me.
    #4
  5. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,086
    Location:
    Omicron Persei 8
    When I was a young lad I had entered a "poker run" enduro style event in the Northern Mojave in January. My bike was a Honda "S" 90 with all the street stuff taken off, my riding gear was helmet, goggles, leather work gloves, Levis and work boots. Soon after the start it started to rain and then it swapped over to sleet & freezing rain. The course was marked with bright colored crate paper which soon lost all of it's color and then dissolved & disappeared completely. We followed tracks from riders ahead of us into a check point, where the guy working the check was actually standing in the little fire he had built trying desperately to keep warm. So after warming up for a couple of min. we asked which way to go. His answer was; "well some guys are going this way (pointing to the north), and some guys are going this way (pointing to the west). More people are coming back after going that way (pointing north) than this way (pointing to the west)!!! So west we went, soon afterwards my bike died from ice building on the carb! Now I had to be towed with freezing wet gloves in the sleet. When we got back to the truck our friends had burned the tires we had put between the bikes in order to keep warm!
    #5
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  6. Gallowbraid

    Gallowbraid Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    868
    Location:
    Clarkesville, GA
    I spent several years commuting 130 miles round trip 5 days a week to work. I rode everyday unless there was ice on the road. I don't mind rain, even heavy downpours never caused a problem once I found some good waterproof boots. Cold, however, was my nemesis. Georgia doesn't get too bad until you get into mid January when the temps can fall into the teens overnight. My hour and a half commute saw me leaving the house at 5 in the morning most days and the mercury in the thermometer was often sitting solidly below 20 degrees. My worst ride was a morning it was 16F. That was an hour and a half at roughly 65 mph for a windchill factor of -11F. Despite layers and heated gear I have never been more cold in all my life. I shook for hours after arriving at work where my employees let me know I was an idiot.
    #6
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  7. flei

    flei cycletherapist

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    7,819
    Location:
    Western Mass.
    Absolute Worst Riding Conditions You Have Endured

    1. Last year because of my surgery in the Fall and my bike then getting snowed-in in my storage shed, i wasn't able to ride for 5 months.

    2. Last month i had a nice day of riding planned and then my wife informed me that we had already committed to attending a family function.

    Now those are some bad riding "conditions". :photog
    #7
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  8. kneeslider

    kneeslider Insufficient privileges!

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,106
    Location:
    Southeastern Xenophobia
    Rain, wind (high), sleet & snow flurries, & reindeer on the road to NordKapp!
    #8
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  9. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,451
    Location:
    Idaho
    2006 I left Idaho and rode down to Florida to visit my mom.

    North of Sweetwater, Tx. I left a restaurant/gas station after a pee break heading south on a state hwy. Windy and lightly raining, I thought "no biggie".

    Little did I know that I was heading into a tornado warning area and VERY HEAVY RAIN. It became so bad that semi trucks were pulling over to the roadside to wait it out. Except I had no idea of any of this (other than the rain). Roadway began to flood bad enough that I took an exit into a small town (name unknown), where I encountered more flooded streets.

    Fortunately, I hit "Main St." and the sidewalks fronting the buildings were elevated. I detoured up a handicap ramp and parked under a store awning. The whole of the town was deserted due to the storm, with every store and business closed. The street was like a running river.

    When the rain began to let up a bit I rode on into Sweetwater and grabbed the first motel room I could find. That's when I got the bad news, twice over. I had ridden into a severe storm warning area with tornados, AND this was a dry town.
    #9
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  10. randyo

    randyo Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,563
    Location:
    Northern NewEngland
    everybody's definition of "worse riding conditions" is different, I live for cold weather and winter storm conditions, but I do prepare my bike for those conditions, studded knobby up front, winter car tire in back, a slathering of ACF50

    worse day for me was probably a prefered day for others, I knew I was in trouble when I woke up at 5:00am and it was already 98°, later in day, temps were near 110°. I knew better than take my helmet and gear off, I've had a sunburn on my bald spot, I know better.

    Best I could do was jump in a brook to soak myself for evaporative cooling
    #10
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  11. Stoshu

    Stoshu Carnivorous Moronius

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    Oddometer:
    942
    Location:
    Northeastern - PA
    Glad I'm not the only fool with a story like these! :lol3

    Spring of 2016, Mrs. Stoshu and I planned a nice 4 day ride through the 4 corners area after visiting her sister outside of Albuquerque. Day #1 was uneventful with an awesome ride through NM and up into Southern Colorado. I should have taken heed to the comment that the waiter in Silverton made when we stopped for lunch. It was early April and he noticed the GS outside. He asks "Is that your bike?" Me - "Yup". "Where you from?" Me - "Pennsylvania". "Wow, you're really rolling the dice up here at this time of year...Well, at least you have the right bike for it." Me - "Thanks...I guess".

    After an awesome ride through the mountains and overnight stay at the Box Canyon Lodge in Ouray, we get set to leave for day #2. I should have put two and two together when the second omen showed up with the GS not wanting to start in the crisp morning Colorado high altitude air. But no, not me, we're soldiering on to Moab come hell or high water! The day was uneventful after the bike fired up, and we head out on some beautiful roads from Ouray heading northwest toward Utah.

    Temps were mild in the 50's, people were out in jeans and T-shirts, sun was shining, a glorious day. Got on 90 heading west toward the Utah border and started gaining elevation. Hit a few flurries, but nothing big. The sky continues to darken as we gain more altitude and by the time we hit the Utah border, I look like a one armed wall paper hanger trying to keep my face shield free of snow and ice. Now keep in mind, we haven't passed another vehicle in about 45 minutes. I pull off momentarily and clear the face shield. Mrs. Stoshu and I decide to ride on a few more miles to see if there's a place to stop for a while and ride the storm out.

    We start out again and it is almost white out conditions. By this time we're putting along in 2nd or 3rd gear, just trying to stay upright as there's now an inch or two on the road. There's absolutely nothing in sight to pull into, no gas station, restaurant, nothing. We crest the highest point on the road and there's got to be 3" or 4" down on the road. As soon as we begin descending the mountain I roll out of the throttle and the engine braking forces get the rear end all squirrely (I had clearly exceeded the capability of the Tourances at this point), pull in the clutch and try to save the tail wag, but it was too late. Down we go sliding into a low side skipping across the snow covered road. We come to a stop and I ask if she is okay. "Yep, just banged my elbow off the road". We are both ATGATT, and right at that moment, I am happy for all the times I questioned wearing all that stuff and chose to put it on anyway. Damage is minimal, right side pannier is busted off the rack, but the bike is no worse for the wear.

    I look around and there isn't much but a steel building near by. As luck would have it, I see a Utah state plow truck approaching from the west. Driver stops and gets out. Super nice guy named Todd. He helps me stand the bike up, which is no easy task loaded up with gear and 4 inches of snow on the ground. Todd offers to let Mrs. Stoshu climb in the passenger's side of the truck while he turns it around 2 miles up the road. I wait patiently for their return. Todd returns with my bride and says "She can ride with me down the mountain. Just stay right on the rear bumper. I'll drop the plow and run the salt spreader. We'll take it slow." So I follow him down the mountain in low gear with my feet acting as outriggers, in order to maintain an upright position. After a couple hundred Hail Mary's and Our Fathers, we reach a pull off down by Hole in the Rock. Todd offers me a bungee to help strap the pannier back on the rack while Mrs. Stoshu goes off to find a spot to pee. He asks "Think she's gonna get back on that horse?" Me - "Good question". So I ask her when she returns. Mrs. Stoshu replies "Just get me to Moab. Hopefully they'll have a bar, a hotel, and a place that sells tire studs!" Big nervous chuckle by all and she hops back on with me.
    After a couple of beers and dinner, she was fine. I think that 30 mile stretch of road took 20 years off my life! :rofl

    I know, I know...TLDR
    #11
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  12. CajunRider

    CajunRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    509
    I once hit a rain storm so bad that water splashed up into the air intake under the seat. Two of the three cylinders (Triumph tripple) shut down for about 20 miles.

    This happened twice in the same day, mid 950 mile run to get home from vacation.

    Not fun.

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
    #12
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  13. Turbocat

    Turbocat The roamin' Oklahoman

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    On a road bike in HARD freezing rain and 33 degrees in a wide-open part of Colorado. Temps were dropping and there was no clear weather or town anywhere close by ..... eventually rode out of it before roads started freezing, thank goodness.
    #13
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  14. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,857
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    Headed back to uni on the 'ol TS-185, hit Athur's Pass and yeah, quite a bit of snow around. No worries, Chen Shin trials tires handle ice and snow just fine (about the only thing they did handle just fine BTW), head up through the pass and there's a LOT of snow, more than the usual 'axle deep and that's me 'ucked' but I got away with that because it was all loose packed. It's still snowing up high which doesn't exactly help with visibility but no traffic helps my chances a lot. Finally make it down the other side and get shouted at by a cop. Pass is closed, WTF was I doing riding up there.

    *I* stay calm, point out that I didn't ride up from this side, I came all the way through and there was no signage there. Also point out that I'm damned cold, so I suggest I go to the local pub, have a hot meal and a cup of coffee while he finds out what happened at the other side, if I went through when it was signed closed he's welcome to book me. Not being unreasonable he agrees to that, I head in while he starts making calls, get off the bike and a slab of frozen snow falls off the front me. O.K. maybe I pushed my luck a bit. Order a meal and a coffee and a few minutes later meal and cop arrives.

    Well, yeah, the road HAD been closed but the snow had covered the barriers and hidden the sign, I'd ridden through the middle of the barriers without noticing, the people on the other side confirmed that the tracks just nailed it without any pissing around. I offer to buy him a coffee and we sit there talking about this and that carefully avoiding anything contentious, and I head off home.

    In hindsight that's probably the closest I'd ever come to being found dead somewhere. Conditions were foul and the roads really icy under the snow if I'd crashed, likely game over.
    #14
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  15. BkerChuck

    BkerChuck Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    337
    Slightly more than a year ago doing the Void Rally. Columbus Day weekend of 2016 wife and I are riding in a 31 hour LD rally for our 4th year. The rally started at 08:00 on Friday morning and things have been screwed up for us from the very start. I'd broken our route into 5 legs and our plan called for just shy of 1000 miles with a 6 hour rest bonus that I'd prebooked a room for in Beckley, WV. Traffic Friday afternoon and higher than expected temps had already caused us to drop several bonuses and reevaluate our planned route. We made some adjustments and continued on as it started to get dark. Shortly before nightfall somewhere near Fredricksburg, VA it starts to rain. So far every year we've done this event it has rained so this should come as no surprise. The shear amount of rain we start to experience is. Nighttime combined with driving rain and high winds are taking all of the fun right out of this whole event. Wife asks over the Sena headset, "How far are we from home?"

    Ar this point we're further from home than from our prepaid hotel rest bonus. Taking bonus photos at night is challenging enough, taking bonus photos at night in pouring rain is impossible! We quickly agree to drop one more bonus that required a several mile ride down a WV paved goat trail they call a road and opt to just try and make it to the hotel. Our plan had us in the hotel around 10:00 Friday night. We roll in and proceed to soak the carpet in the lobby dripping wet closer to 01:00 Saturday morning. At this point we've been riding 6 hours in what we learn is Hurricane Matthew! We sleep for about 5 hours and get up to find it's still pouring. We agree just finishing at this point is an accomplishment and let's just head to the finish. We pick up only 2 bonuses on the way back to Fredricksburg arriving at the rally HQ close to 14:00. Total time riding in a hurricane was almost 14 hours and close to 450 miles. That year saw the highest number of DNS and DNF in Void Rally history.
    #15
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  16. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,221
    Location:
    Louisville, Ky
    Summer 1981, I was living in the Florida Keys and had a brand new Honda CB750F. My aunt lived in Lauderdale so I would head up every weekend I had off to party with her (she was only 15 years older than me). Of course I fell in love with a girl I met during these travels. I had a weekend planned to see this new girl but the forecast called for a pesky tropical storm. No big deal, I'm a 20 year old Coastie that can handle anything! So I head out into a decent storm but it not's bad enough to keep me from riding. Well, I make it to Islamorada and the wind is blowing about 60mph with sideways rain. I can't see 20 feet in front of me. Luckily I spotted a bar just off the road, and when I pulled in there sat about 15 other motorcycles in a row. Looked just like the scene out of Mad Max. I go inside and the crew of bikers looks like drowned swamp rats. Seems like we all had the same idea and this was as far as we got. So the group of us took over that bar until the storm subsided and had one hell of a time.
    #16
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  17. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,838
    Not sure how to answer this one.

    On the one hand, a certain winter ride was notable. Wanted to get home for Christmas and the car was down, so I took the bike. Never mind that it's snowy and all and my bike a street sled. It took me much of the day to make a normally 2 hour ride, and it was basically tobogoning the bike with my feet down. But, I was young so it all seemed worthwhile. Mom was thrilled to see me there that evening.

    The most frightening was racing storms out of the Colorado Rockies, then running south to Texas ahead of the storm. I didn't totally escape it, and it was...harsh.

    As for my body, the worse might have been a gloriously sunny day in Oklahoma. I heat stroked without realizing it. I was able to grasp that something was very wrong, and managed to get taken care of by some very nice folk at some unknown hotel and restaurant.
    #17
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  18. Project84

    Project84 I can haz adventure?

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4,938
    Location:
    Florence Y'all, KY
    Heading out into a rainstorm after packing up camp with gear I thought was waterproof (FirstGear Jaunt T2 jacket with HyperTex waterproofing) only to find after 5 minutes it wasn't at all. Having no available time to wait it out, plugging on to the brink of complete loss of focus due to extreme cold/wet/discomfort. Water puddling up in my crotch under all my gear, effectively giving my sack and ice bath.

    Boots literally filled with water since it was running down my crotch/legs/ankles into them, despite that they are Goretex on the outside.

    Rain is miserable.

    I purposely rode in 18*F weather one winter just because I thought I had something to prove (to myself) about how tough a rider I was. I'd take that any day over rain.
    #18
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  19. bumpedmyhead

    bumpedmyhead Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2017
    Oddometer:
    301
    Hail....on the Dragon, with 2 new female riders.

    2015 TEX, and a ham sandwich.
    #19
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  20. Izzo

    Izzo Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,225
    Location:
    Cleveland Ohio
    Last winter, commuting from east to west side of Cleveland. I'll ride in anything as long as the roads aren't slippery. On this day I had extra incentive because my car was in the shop, and I didn't want to Uber to work. Didn't seem bad when I left, but about halfway there it started snowing and sleeting with a strong gusting wind off the lake.Twice I felt the front tire slip sideways a little when a gust of wind hit. I know I was very close to going down. Swore if I made it I'd never take such a foolish chance again. Haven't, so far.
    #20
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