Well riding season is now upon us. Time to remove the cover, polish up the chrome and check the levels. Riding during the spring has its advantages, along with some disadvantages. The temperature generally falls above the 60 degree mark; the sun is warming; there are more bikers on the road; and people may be looking for you.  On the other hand a disadvantage would be the unpredictable nature of weather. We are all fully aware that the weather men have a little difficulty accurately predicting the weather to some degree. Overall, they do a decent job and generally run close to what the actually weather. As a rider, you’re hoping for more accuracy in the prediction verses guessing. You don’t want to be riding on the highway when a heavy shower decides to break loose. If you’ve been riding for any time at all, then you’ve at one time or another been caught in a mid-day shower that forced you to hide underneath a bridge or just suck it up and ride out the weather. In either case, you would like to avoid those as much as possible. Unless you are going to school to become a meteorologist, then you are forced to gather your information from their prediction….or are you? I say nah, nah. Similar to what pilots do, you can gather as much information about the current weather patterns and make assumptions based on that information. There are plenty of web sites and resources available, many for free, that you can use to help you make the best riding decision you can.

In the past, I would look at one or two weather reports and if the chance for precipitation was 30% or lower, I would ride, anything higher would keep my bike parked in the garage. Today was one of those days that caught me off. Instead of doing my own research, I relied on the weather from TV and since the chance of rain was lower then 30%, it was 20%, I decided today was a decent day to ride. Well about 30 minutes into my drive to work, it started to rain. Not a hard blinding rain, but enough to be a pain in the butt. I pulled over, donned my balaclava and headed back out on the road. Fortunately, it was a light rain, but still enough to generate spray from cars in front of me, and slow traffic to a crawl. Never again, I will take a few minutes from my morning, and gather as much information before I make the decision to pull the bike out. You should do the same, unless you don’t care what the weather will do. Just to share, I’ve included a couple of site I prefer while gathering my information.

Weather Channel: http://www.weather.com/

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: http://www.noaa.gov/wx.html

Forecast: http://forecast.io/#/f/39.1619,-77.2793

AOPA: (Must be a member) http://www.aopa.org/

I take the day’s outlook with a grain of salt, and pull in as much raw data to make my own weather prediction. There are enough maps, animation, and advisories that should help you narrow down your conclusion. Understanding what you are viewing and being able to translate that into a clear picture of the weather prediction won’t come all at once. It may take a few days to get a feel for what you are doing, so don’t give up the first time it looks challenging, remember you doing this to make sure you stay dry and enjoy your ride completely.

Well, that’s all I have to say. As always, ride safe and see you on the road.