14 November 2010

Why Riding in Gale Force Winds Should Be Avoided

Right, I'm out of here. The Luas is out and I need to somehow make it all the way to Stillorgan in an hour.

The silence of the workplace was suddenly broken by my colleague's announcement that afternoon. I knew the weather that Thursday wasn't that great but I hadn't noticed how bad it got. Until I heard the news about the Luas that is. Seemingly the wind that evening was so bad, there were fears that the Luas' electrical cables could be effected.

Not being able to gauge the weather from my desk at work, I decided to pop out and have a look for myself. It didn't seem that bad but I was still advised to ditch my Vespa and find some other way home. I had two alternatives none of which appealed to me. I popped out again and the gale force wind that was threatening to cripple Dublin's streets appeared to have disappeared. The decision was made for me then.

The journey home seemed fine until I left the safety of taller buildings in the city centre and got to the quays when the gusts of wind suddenly got stronger. My guess is that it was some sort of funnel effect but it was still within my control. Well, it almost got out of control when I was going through Phoenix Park that evening.

Noticing a strong wind hitting me on the left, I consciously stayed closer to the kerb  instead of staying right in the middle of the lane. I honestly don't know whether this was the most suitable solution to my predicament but there must have been some good to what I was doing as one particularly strong gust almost blew me off course. That extra space that I allowed must've helped as I recall being pushed to about an inch from the white line but, before I got the Vespa under control, a car on the other side of the road swerved in anticipation of a head-on collision with me.

Scary stuff.

It didn't end there though. Being in a park full of old oak trees didn't help either. The wind snapped branches and twigs of the trees and hurled them across the road that evening. I had one or two near-misses but that was one too many. It was like playing a game of Russian Roulette and I was the only player, every single turn being mine.

I definitely won't be doing that again anytime soon as I now realise that what I did could only be defined in one word: Stupid.

Ride safely people.

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