25 Apr 2000 ajh   » (Master)

At 17:00 EST on April 13th Paul Lahaie and I set off to take a short tour around the Upper Ottawa Valley on our motorcycles. I have a 1996 Honda CBR900RR, and Paul just picked up a brand new Suzuki SV650S he was eagar to bring into the upper valley twisties.

We arrived in Pembroke which is usually about a 1.5 hour ride away from Ottawa about 4 hours later. Several warming up breaks added to our travel time.

Friday morning came all too early and contrary to the weather reports, it was raining. Not just raining but raining at 4C outside. After about 4 hours of procrastination we left Pembroke to head south towards Kingston with the vague hope that the rain would stop and that we would see the high of 10C promised by The Weather Network.

Half an hour later we were wet. I don't mean damp as most of our gear is in fact advertised as waterproof. It is almost funny how even the lightest rain finds its way into every opening at 120kph. Most of our kit was waterproof, unfortunatly neither of us had picked up waterproof boots, or gloves. Had it not been 4C outside, perhaps this would have been a mild inconvenience, at 4C becoming wet makes a serious impact upon your level of comfort.

After 6 hours of riding, stopping, riding, stopping and even having our gear dried in a clothes drier at one restaurant along the way we finally pulled into Kingston. We located lodging and promptly hid from the rain and attempted to dry out our kit.

The next morning we thought we would be smart about the trip back. After a run to Canadian Tire to pick up a wide assortment of items including additional waterproofing materials as well as a number of products intended to prevent our helmet visors from fogging up we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the ride back to Ottawa.

At 3C no anti-fog product on the planet will function. At 3C it doesn't matter if you keep your gloves dry. At 3C and 120Kph there must be a -20C windchill. Imagine going skiing in the rain in -20C weather. For 6 hours.

Needless to say, the ride back into Ottawa was somewhat stressful. It also caused me to take a much more serious look at electric heated riding gear like Widder makes.

Things we learned.

  • Bring rubber overboots
  • Bring waterproof thick insulated gloves
  • Sportbikes do not provide any rain protection
  • Electric socks are not to be mocked
  • Never, EVER, trust a weatherman.
Well back to work. I wish I had photographs to include, it was certainly an interesting experience that neither of us will ever repeat.

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