Touring - lightning
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04-20-06, 12:20 PM
I got chased off the hiking trail by lightning a couple of times recently, which got me thinking about lightning and biking. What do y'all do when the lightning starts coming down around your ears? Find someplace to hide, or just keep going? What if you're cycling through the middle Nebraska 20 miles from a town and the lightning starts hitting within a mile or two, basically overhead?
Good questions! Riding near lightning is dangerous.
http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.htm has the information you need and specifically adresses appropriate shelter and what to do when no shelter is available. With spring thunderstorm season upon us, everyone should be familiar with this information.
04-20-06, 02:08 PM
Last summer I was caught in thunderstorms 4 times in a single day. Since there was nowhere to hide when the three first storms passed over me, I felt i had to ride through it... I was very afraid so I covered an awesome distance in no time ;). The last one began around 9PM; I was at less than 10km from home but decided to seek shelter that time... I did so under a wooden structure in a park. That storm was huge, there was a lightening strike every few seconds, the sound was deafening... but I felt safe. The problem is that this storm didn't stop for the whole night... after waiting for well over two hours, I decided to ride back home... that was probably the most frightening ride of my life.
I'm not sure it is that dangerous... in fact I have no idea how safe/dangerous it is to ride in a thunderstorm... but it is still really frightening!
04-20-06, 03:34 PM
On my bike tour I camped about 300 yards from Cape Hatteras lighthouse. That night a storm came up which was completely unbelievable-- easily the scariest thing I have ever experienced. Lighting striking around the tent, the smell of burning air and the concussions were deafening. The winds completely flattened my free-standing tent (in other words, the wind was of such force and duration that the tent was smashed against me for several hours).
I laid facedown in the tent with my arms over my head and the lighting strikes were so bright my eyes were dazzled. I was really concerned that a storm surge would come up and inundate the tent but that never happened. I'm getting chills just recounting it here. :eek:
04-20-06, 10:44 PM
When the lightning comes, I keep pedalling and enjoy the show.
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