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Ready To Ride? things to consider if you ride before the snow is all gone

#1 User is offline   Aprilian Icon

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:37 PM

It may be 50 degrees this week :HappyDance1:

I've been riding enough years that I no longer rush out on the first nice day. I usually wait for the first good rain to wash off the salt. Over the years, I've been lucky to not make a mistake that put me or the bike out of commission. I hope to share my observations so that newer riders can be safe when they ride early this year.

Potholes
They are out there. On concrete I usually see the worst ones at the corners where the slabs come together. On asphalt I usually see more in the wheel tracks.
Don't follow too close, you want to see potholes with enough time to react.
Some open holes look like patched holes, don't trust that they are all the same. Glance quickly, can you see all the unfilled ones on the first look?
Attached File  potholes.jpg (119.02K)
Number of downloads: 25
Between asphalt lanes are edge traps. Asphalt is installed down ane lane at a time, where the next lane starts there is a minute gap that moisture gets into and destroys the pavement. Check before changing lanes.
You can sometimes predict potholes by looking for evidence on shoulder of a lot of snow and ice falling off cars.
Attached File  detrius.jpg (92K)
Number of downloads: 19
Potholes are very hard to see at night - be extra careful
Call in the potholes http://www.dot.state...e/potholes.html
Salt
Salt is damaging to your bike, particularly where dissimilar metals meet. If you get salt on your bike, get it off soon. Salt attracts moisture, so even if your garage is dry your bike may be wet.
White pavement means salt. Sometimes enough to actually leave tire tracks.
Attached File  salt track.jpg (119.16K)
Number of downloads: 14
Wet pavement also means salt. Even the snow piles next to the road have salt in them.
Attached File  snow melt.jpg (120.74K)
Number of downloads: 11
Piles of salt offer no traction.
Strong rain removes most salt and some of the sand.
Plow trucks tend to leave large deposits at intersections, avoid them.
Attached File  salt1.jpg (114.19K)
Number of downloads: 9
Salt robs traction - just like a fine coating of sand on road.
Sand is on the road too, it is often put down for auto traction, but works exactly the opposite for street bikes.
Parking ramps are not cleaned until late in the spring so they will be full of salt. Park away from large deposits of salt.
(added 2/10/12)Bloomington is using liquid treatment on the roads now. When it is dry it is easy to see and has some traction. When it is wet, it may be slippery (I have not come across any fresh stuff to test).
Attached File  salt lines.jpg (331.7K)
Number of downloads: 9
Ice
Melting piles of snow will coat the street with moisture. Be very careful, black ice will form when the temperature gets just above freezing - you will not see it. Black ice is ice without oxygen in it, white ice has trapped air. Is this ice or water? You need to know as that SUV backs out.
Attached File  refreeze.jpg (126.93K)
Number of downloads: 7
Bridges ice first when the temperature drops due to not having the ground to insulate the roadbed. Under the bridges ice can also form. As meltwater falls off the overpass it cools and where it hits the pavement below is often in the shade.
Car condensation at intersections can become ice. Just like avoiding oil in the summer, have a strategy where to place your bike.
Attached File  ice condensation.jpg (114.15K)
Number of downloads: 10
Bike
Suspension oil is stiffer when it is cold. Your bike may ride like it is on wooden tires.
Tire temperatures are cold, plus the pavement is cold which stops the tire from getting into its operating temperature zone. Cold tires are going to have less traction. Consider dropping pressure, but be aware that lower pressure reduces the shock absorption when hitting a pothole.
Others
Don't follow cars too close, you need more visibility for all the reasons above.
Car drivers are not looking for riders, therefore they may miss seeing us (even more than usual).
Remember, your skills are going to be rusty, ride easier.
It is still very cold weather, dress in multiple layers. But remember, those layers make it harder to look over your shoulder before lane changes. Cold air is like cold water. Dress as if you are going out in the rain.
Neighborhood streets were not cleared curb-to-curb this year. Look for narrow streets where oncoming cars will be on your side of the street. And watch out for cars hiding behind the snowbanks.
Turn your insurance back on. You did turn off collision over the winter to save a few bucks, didn't you?
Attached File  narrow street.jpg (120.31K)
Number of downloads: 13

See you out there after the first good rain :HappyDance1:
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#2 User is offline   scotty Icon

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:55 PM

Took a ride today. Not too cold. Didnt lean it over much at all but got her up to good speed on hwy.

In my experience, ice is the biggest thing you cant handle if you encounter it. These days watch the roaad at dusk/dawn until its been above freezing consistently.
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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:56 PM

View PostAprilian, on 13 March 2011 - 07:37 PM, said:

It may be 50 degrees this week :HappyDance1:

I've been riding enough years that I no longer rush out on the first nice day. I usually wait for the first good rain to wash off the salt. Over the years, I've been lucky to not make a mistake that put me or the bike out of commission. My hope is to share my observations so that newer riders can be safe if they ride early this year.

Potholes
They are out there. On concrete I usually see the worst ones at the corners where the slabs come together. On asphalt I usually see more in the wheel tracks.
Don't follow too close, you want to see them with enough time to react.
Some open holes look like patched holes, don't trust that they are all the same. Glance quickly, can you see all the unfilled ones on the first look?
Attachment potholes.jpg
Between asphalt lanes are edge traps. Asphalt is installed down 1 lane at a time, where the next lane starts, there is a minute gap that moisture gets into and destroys. Check before changing lanes.
You can sometimes predict potholes by looking for evidence on shoulder of a lot of things falling off cars.
Attachment detrius.jpg
Call in the potholes http://www.dot.state...e/potholes.html
Salt
Salt is damaging to your bike, particularly where dissimilar metals meet. If you get salt on your bike, get it off soon. Salt attracts moisture so even if your garage is dry, your bike may be wet.
White pavement means salt. Sometimes enough to actually leave tire tracks.
Attachment salt track.jpg
Wet pavement means salt. Even the snow piles next to the road have salt in them.
Attachment snow melt.jpg
Piles of salt offer no traction.
Strong rain removes most salt and some sand.
Plow trucks tend to leave large deposits at intersections, avoid them.
Attachment salt1.jpg
Salt robs some traction - just like fine coating of dust on road.
Sand is on the road too, it is often put down for auto traction, but works exactly the opposite for street bikes.
Parking ramps are not cleaned until late in the spring so they will be full of salt. Park away from large deposits of salt.
Ice
Melting piles of snow will coat the street with moisture. Be very careful, black ice will form when the temperature gets just above freezing - you will not see it. Black ice is ice without oxygen in it, white ice has trapped air. Is this ice or water? You need to know as that SUV backs out.
Attachment refreeze.jpg
Bridges ice early when the temperature drops due to not having the ground to insulate the roadbed. Under the bridges ice can also form. As meltwater falls off the overpass it cools and where it hits the pavement below it is often in the shade.
Car condensation at intersections can become ice.
Attachment ice condensation.jpg
Bike
Suspension oil is stiffer when it is cold. Your bike may ride like it is on wooden tires.
Tire temperatures are cold, plus the pavement is cold which stops the tire from getting into its operating temperature zone. Cold tires are going to have less traction. Consider dropping pressure, but be aware that lower pressure reduces the shock absorption when hitting a pothole.
Others
Don't follow cars too close, you need more visibility for all the reasons above.
Car drivers are not looking for riders, therefore they may miss seeing us (even more than usual).
Remember, your skills are going to be rusty, ride easier.
It is still very cold weather, dress in multiple layers. But remember, those layers make it harder to look over your shoulder before lane changes. Cold air is like cold water. Dress as if you are going out in the rain.
Neighborhood streets were not cleared curb-to-curb this year. Look for narrow streets where oncoming cars will be on your side of the street.
Attachment narrow street.jpg

See you out there after the first good rain :HappyDance1:


Good info, thanks.
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#4 User is offline   dsmking Icon

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 09:19 PM

Very good info thanks, "sticky"
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#5 User is offline   CBRcole Icon

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 11:10 PM

I dragged some knee last night. I saw a a guy riding a cruiser also.
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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:53 PM

I saw a guy on a gsxr pass a car on the shoulder while on the gas. He spun up the rear pretty good in the sand. Not very smart.
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#7 User is offline   Little Billy Icon

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 07:14 PM

Im going to pull mine out of tristans garage sometime this week. luckiy for me the do it yourself carwash is 200 feet from my driveway
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#8 User is offline   Champ Icon

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 07:52 AM

But Ian it's sooooo tempting!!!
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#9 User is offline   Aprilian Icon

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 10:15 AM

View PostChamp, on 15 March 2011 - 07:52 AM, said:

But Ian it's sooooo tempting!!!

Go for it, you now know what to look out for.

I was talking to a friend and he asked me if I'd be riding this week. I basically said that since I hadn't suffered from cabin fever this year, I was in no rush to fire up the bike. Previous years I haven't even waited this long.
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#10 User is offline   gsxr-DAZ Icon

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 05:09 PM

I was out for a bit yesterday
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#11 User is offline   Champ Icon

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:26 PM

Ian did the rain yesterday count as substantial enough?

;)
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#12 User is offline   Khaos Icon

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 01:58 PM

I rode to work today. No close calls. Seemed not bad. Just gotta drive for the current conditions.
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#13 User is offline   ZZR Joel Icon

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 01:59 PM

Im getting my bike out tonight hopefully so I can ride it tomorrow to work.
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#14 User is offline   Aprilian Icon

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 03:01 PM

I didn't see rain yesterday, so not for me Champ. <_<
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#15 User is offline   RobInBP Icon

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 03:19 PM

Looking at the pothole mine fields on the roads I travel on, I'm not sure the first good rain is going to be my criteria this year. It's going to be the asphalt truck. I have never seen roads this bad before. There's areas that are absolutle disasters.
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