Weather in Colorado can be unpredictable, and storm clouds can build quickly in the afternoon heat. Getting chased by lightning can really take the joy out of a ride — I’ve been there a couple of times, and it is not fun! So while you may have blue skies overhead, you could be at risk if there’s a storm cloud in the distance. You may be riding into it or away from it, but when the weather becomes threatening, take action, take shelter.
Lightning can strike as far as 20 miles from a storm cloud. In fact, lightning “out of the blue” can strike between 120-130 miles from a storm cloud (this is called anvil lightning). At the first sound of thunder — even if you do not see the lightning — that’s your cue that you are within striking distance, and it’s time to cut the ride short for your safety and the safety of the group. Do not take lightning lightly … ever.
So what should you do if there’s a chance of threatening weather while out on a ride?
- Safety is always our first concern for Club rides. We will always check the weather report before heading out on a Club ride.
- If you’re riding solo or riding in an event, check the hourly weather report, so you know what’s coming and can be prepared.
- Postpone your ride or adjust your route or mileage to finish before a storm rolls in. Descending with wet wheels can be dangerous.
- If you’re participating in a ride event, know your options, be prepared, and have a plan.
- Bring the right stuff: a rain jacket or water-repellent windbreaker in your back pocket, a helmet cover (a large shower cap will do the trick), and plastic bags to cover your feet and hands.
- Communicate with family or a friend and call them to pick you up if necessary.
Hypothermia can set in quickly if you get wet in a storm. Signs of hypothermia include confusion, drowsiness, and lack of motor control leading to poor decisions or inability to control your bike safely.
If you find yourself in a storm, look for shelter. If there is lightning and you’re unable to find shelter, crouch with your feet as close together as possible in the lowest area you can find. If you’re with others, spread out to avoid electrical current traveling between group members. Do not resume your ride for at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
As our Club rides get longer and the temperature warmer, being aware and prepared is important to your safety and the safety of the group.
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