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Friday, July 30, 2010

Weather (or not) To Ride

I mentioned in a previous post that we aborted our race effort last weekend because of the poor weather forecast. The forecast turned out to be completely wrong and caused us to miss a chance to wrap up the class championship. We relied on weather.com and on the weatherbug app on my Droid. Weatherbug is handy as a phone app but I had long ago begun to distrust weather.com. My opinion is that they sensationalize the bad forecasts in an effort to get you to revisit their site thereby building clicks and ad revenue. Conspiracy theory or just bad experience? You be the judge!


Riding a bike means taking the weather very seriously. What gear to wear and what bike to take. Sometimes even to go or not to go. A friend recommended the NOAA site as much more reliable source of weather info. It's run by a government agency who could care less if you check back or not. They don't have to rely on ad revenue, they reach right into your pocket for the tax dollars.

In just the short time I've been checking they've been 100% correct about what was to come. The graphics are clear and concise, in a few seconds I know whether to put on the mesh jacket or the rain gear. I know what to plan for the weekend and have a high confidence the results. Best of all there are no dancing girls trying to get me to refinance my house or fat housewives trying to tell me the secret of their weight loss.

Whenever I use these I've learned to read the weather maps. If there is a southeast wind and there is rain in Albany NY it will probably be here in 4-6 hours. If the front is only 40 miles deep then I know it will pass and I can plan my ride for later in the day. Not too hard to figure out if one takes the time to learn the local patterns.