I was looking out of the window at the Kustomized Bicycle Magazine offices the other day and watched the mid-afternoon rainstorm. I thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be great to ride one of my bikes through the streets with overcast skies in the light rain storm? I could ride something with a rear slick so I could slide around corners on the wet asphalt. Going downhill it would be a little chilly since the rain had my clothes wet but going up will would be warm since the wet clothes also act like insulation.”
Yeah, I needed a bike ride. No late spring shower could hold me back.
Then there was an explosion of noise and a bright flash came through the windows. By the time my eyes readjusted to the light a full downpour was happening. These are the “gully washers” my dad talked about. Within seconds, the gutters were full and water was coming up over the sidewalk.
Then it sounded like popcorn. Hail had started coming down at rocket speed tearing its way through tree branches. The tree leaves fought with valiant effort but were impaled by the rock hard ice with entire platoons of leaves torn from their branches plummeting towards earth now just wet and starting their slow death. The hail got bigger and bigger. The rhythm the hail was making sped up like going from Luther Vandross to Slayer on the radio. Golf ball sized hail hit the soaked ground and bounced back into the air. What sounded like tapping on piece of hardwood with a drumstick was now a baseball bat at full swing into a car door. Ice rocks bounced off the concrete so hard that it bounced and hit the glass right in front of my face with enough force to make the glass flex. I was mesmerized by natures force but still had enough intelligence to take two steps back. I looked through the window and to the right to see how the grass and trees were holding up when a giant chunk of ice hit the shop window in slow motion and blew the glass into the shop. I could see papers and other items suddenly blow through the shop.
Then it stopped. Within five seconds, there was no noise. The thunderous pounding halted enough to here water rushing through the roof gutters and down the downspout. Everything horizontal to the ear was now covered in hail balls. Corners had them packed at 5”-6” height. Covering much of the hail were leaves and branches, some larger than 1 ½” in diameter laid in the grass.
So what is my point this month? If I would have had the initial “Wouldn’t it be great to ride one of my bikes through the streets with overcast skies in the light rain storm?” thought a half hour before the hail storm it is very possible that I would have been on a green belt somewhere, alone when this disaster started. There is no doubt in my mind that hail this size could have very well killed me or anyone else unable to get under cover within seconds.
Riding bicycles is the love in our life, lets not die doing it. Be careful out there.
(Note: These are actual pictures of the above described event)
There will be many people that are experiencing their first OBC. If you see someone looking confused and not sure where to go, what to bring, or what to have than step up and help them out. Who knows, it may be your new best friend. I’m definitely looking forward to see all of our friends that we have ridden with over the last three OBC parties. It is really cool to think about the friends we have made. I remember chatting with the Joe, the owner of LowTide online. I was just trying to meet someone with the “know” so I knew what to expect. Therefore, I ended up hanging out with him for my first OBC. While doing that I met the Gary of Lowlife, Tim of Michigan Built, Chad of Chop Shop Customz, then John Brain, then…..
I’m not dropping names by any means. I am just saying that you should go out of your way to say “Hi” to someone. They may introduce you to someone else, which leads to someone else, and before you know it, you have a huge group of new friends. Some of the people I talk to most came from that group.
It is the first week of April currently and I am slowly starting to assemble my gear for the trip to OBC 2017. Using last month’s tech article I have packed my riding bag. I have been slowly cleaning out and packing what I need into the KBM camera bag. The truck has been gone over and a gotten a light tune-up and the tires rotated. I am rolling solo this year and dragging some extra bikes and gear for friends.
In the KBM offices, a pile is starting to form. Boxes of swag, canopies for the KBM booth, and needed paperwork is forming something to be tripped over.
I’ll let everyone know how it went when I get back.
Wow, We just made it back and what an extended weekend it was. We didn’t go on every ride but we tried to hit as many as we could. Our photographers shot a ton of bikes and OBCers partying it up. The bike show was awesome even though the Las Vegas wind tried to put a serious stop to our party.
Some of you didn’t read last month’s tech feature. We ended up loaning out tools and handing out a few extra tubes. Luckily we had a few of the sizes needed. In the end, it only matters that everyone is riding down the road and having a blast.
We will publish a few pictures in this month “Rides” section from OBC 2017. We just didn’t have enough time after the event to put together a feature. Next month’s magazine will have a full breakdown of America’s best bicycle party.