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Motorcycling Misery

Motorcycling Misery

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 3 KRISTOPHER A. PHILLIPS
B Company, 224th Military Intelligence Battalion
Fort Stewart, Texas

I’m what you’d call a 50-50 rider. If the chance of rain is greater than 50 percent or the temperature is lower than 50 F, I prefer not to ride. The temperatures at Fort Hood, Texas, had been consistently above 50 F for the last few days, so I decided to skip checking the weather and just ride into work. After all, since each day had been a little warmer than the previous one, why bother? Well, wouldn’t you know it, Mother Nature decided to play a trick on me.

I conducted my “accu-window” weather check and confirmed it was clear, blue and 22, so I grabbed my motorcycle personal protective equipment (PPE) and suited up. After telling my wife goodbye, I mounted up and headed for work.

I got to the office and was greeted with a few “good mornings.” When I took off my PPE and turned around, I saw the company rider-mentor looking at me curiously. He asked, “Did you ride in today?” For a moment, I thought of telling him, “Nope, I’m just wore my PPE today so I could break it in.” But after some consideration, I decided to play it safe and answered, “Yep.”

It was at this point he decided it was a good time to inform me of my error of not checking The Weather Channel. Apparently the 55-60 F temperatures of the past few days were not to be today. The forecast was calling for temperatures in the low 30s by 10 or 11 a.m., with rain and a chance of snow afterward.

Instead of immediately heading back home with my tail between my legs to fetch my SUV, I decided to wait until lunch. However, after lunch we were to meet at a theater on the main post for a briefing and then be released. The theater was only about 10 minutes from the hangar and from there it was only another 10 minutes to home. I figured I could ride slowly on post to reduce the effect of the wind chill on my body. Boy, was I about to be surprised!

We headed to lunch a little before 11 a.m. to get a head start on the traffic. The weather was still bearable enough to ride straight home and swap vehicles, but I opted to go out with the guys for lunch. This was my second chance to go home and swap vehicles. Instead, I decided to tough it out.

While we were eating lunch, the sky fell. As we headed for the theater, I was given a third opportunity to avoid riding in the rain and cold, when one of my buddies offered to give me a lift. Since it was only a short distance, I chose to ride. I got to my motorcycle and waved to my buddy as he took off for the briefing. As I mounted my bike, I thought, “Man, it is cold!” However, now I was stuck with my decision.

I’d barely pulled out when I was already drenched, but I kept telling myself, “I can do this.” I got about halfway to the theater when I lost feeling in my hands. The rain had also pooled between the gas tank and my legs and was starting to freeze, which was a very uncomfortable feeling to say the least. At that point I decided to go straight home, change into some dry clothes and get warm before hypothermia set in.

This experience taught me to always check the weather from a respectable source before heading out to ride. After all, I’d never take off on a flight without backing up my “accu-window” forecast with an actual weather briefing. The same thing always goes for riding.

  • 28 November 2021
  • Author: USACRC Editor
  • Number of views: 1232
  • Comments: 0
Categories: Off-DutyPMV-2
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