Always happens, without fail, we get a cold snap about this time of year. It heralds oncoming winter, and what some people call “Indian Summer.” Technically, Indian Summer is a period of warmer days following the first killing frost of the season.
Last night, such a freeze was predicted. Lots of media hype about protecting outdoor plants was blasted all over the news and public alert systems.
As an avid daily motorcyclist, what did I do?
I prepared. Because my garage is not heated, and the security system on my Harley places a constant drain on the battery, I connected my Battery Tender (trickle charger) to keep my bike’s battery fully charged.
I zipped in the lining in my favourite heavyweight motorcycle jacket.
I made sure that my long underwear was clean and ready to wear. Yep, many layers work best when riding in cold(er) weather to fight off the wind chill, which can make the air feel as if it is well below freezing.
I checked the tire pressure, too. Tires seem to lose air when it is cold, and the tire pressure needs to be adjusted when the tires get cold as they do not have the usual summer heat keeping the pressure up.
I also checked the oil, but did not anticipate any problems since I had the bike serviced just a couple months ago. I completed the maintenance check by making sure cables were tight, lights and signals worked, and the windscreen was clean and free of road crap and bug bodies.
Finally, I got my full-face helmet out of its protective storage and replaced the shield with a new one that I ordered a few weeks ago. The old shield was scratched. While checking out my helmet, I realized that the inside pads had been compressed, so I replaced those pads with new pads that I picked up for just a few dollars the last time I was at my local motorcycle shop. Now the helmet fits better and prevents wind from chilling my head — especially the top of my head where most heat is lost in cold weather.
Other cold-weather preparations at home were done by my spouse while I was at work yesterday. He pulled annuals from the garden that would die in the frost anyway. He also put the first layer of protection over our pond to protect his frog. He brought some sensitive perennial plants that needed protection into the greenhouse that I had built for him.
Weeks ago, I had recaulked all of our windows to keep cold air out and I also checked our furnace to make sure the cut-over from air conditioning to heat would perform flawlessly. That included changing the air filters (we have three… don’t ask why.)
Okay, we’re all set.
I then went into my usual “check on my senior pals” mode and made my daily calls to friends who have no others who check on them. One of them did not answer her phone. After trying for two hours, I became concerned because I knew that she was supposed to be home. I drove (my truck) to her house and found her shivering uncontrollably in her back yard! She was wearing a light sweater and a house dress. While it was still in the 50s (10C), she was suffering from hypothermia!
I called for an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, she had not been out there too long, but long enough for the effects of cold to cause her to lose the ability to think clearly. Older people suffer effects of hypothermia faster than a young healthy adult because they just cannot feel the cold, and also sometimes due to effects of medications that they take.
Fortunately, my friend was okay. She was frightened, but thankful that nothing worse had happened. Man, I don’t know how I would have felt had she suffered … well, let’s not go there.
I brought her to our house when she was released from the hospital and fed her my all-curing hot home-made chicken soup. She stayed with us for several hours, but wanted to go home. I drove her back, turned her heat on, and she was fine — but I made sure that she understood that she had to dress in layers and more warmly from now on!
Well, this is a glimpse in the life of an average biker in the ‘burbs with senior friends.
Life is short: be prepared and be safe!