Since I took public transportation instead of riding my bike during the two-day windstorm, I bring this story from my intrepid reporter/friend E A. If there’s ever a day when I don’t ride due to weather conditions, I can be 95% sure that E A rode anyway.
With the gusty weather predictions for the Midwest and Chicago on Tuesday, I debated the safety of venturing out on two wheels for my morning commute. A high wind advisory and tornado watches had been alerting me all Monday evening and Tuesday morning about the potential dangerous weather that is plaguing many areas of the U.S. as October nears its end.
At 7am Tuesday rain was pouring down and traffic reports showed the results of jack-knifed semis and cars in ditches. Luckily the worst of the storms moved over Chicago quickly and I found myself staring out into an eery calm after the storm by 8:30am. Shortly after 9am I was on the road with a light wind breaker for a dry commute into strong (but not gale force) southerly winds. Along my route, I bike down Wells Street – which to me is always ridden with cyclonic type winds – and my commute on Tuesday (or Wednesday) did not disappoint.
So… from my commute, I offer you some cautionary advice for dealing with such gusty wind storms:
* Keep both hands firmly gripped on your handlebars
* Tuck your upper body down more so less of you is exposed to the brunt of the wind
* Forge ahead
* Don’t be ashamed to bail out to use public transportation if the conditions are not safe – put your own safety first
Especially when the cross-winds come, I find it particularly challenging to keep my line and not be blown into parked cars or traffic speeding by. But I know my route well and that high level of familiarity helps me know just when and where I’m most exposed and where I can seek shelter or alternate transportation if need be.
I rode both ways Tuesday and Wednesday despite the high wind advisory. Going home both days the winds should have be at my back, but some of those gusts whipped at me from every direction… The best part was when the wind literally did PUSH me home – “Look Ma – No pedaling!”
At least the these are the warm winds. It’s when these winds turn blustery that I start to shudder.
Stay upright out there! And please share your stormy/windy commuting adventures and tips.