The temperature hit 102 degrees, (38.8 Celsius) this last week in North Georgia and people were talking.
“It’s so hot chickens are laying boiled eggs.” “That’s nothing,” another person said, “I saw a line of tall women at the courthouse and men were marrying them just for the shade.” Gives you an idea of how hot it felt.
You’ve never really experienced heat until you’ve ridden an air cooled motorcycle on a hot day and stopped at a traffic light or been stuck in traffic. Along with the heat from the asphalt, the engine heat rises and attacks you. The worst heat I’ve ridden in was in Baker, California in 2016. I was coming back from another cross country trip, stuck in a traffic jam on I-15 and it was 113 degrees. (see https://2cyclepaths.com/2016/06/19/day-27-continued-horrible-ride-motorcycles-do-not-have-air-conditioning-113-degrees45-celsius-having-an-ice-cream-now/). So many cars and trucks were stopped along the interstate with overheated radiators or cracked ones.
Remembering that day made 102 degrees a bit more tolerable. Still, even at that temperature, stopping at a traffic light can cause the motorcycle engine to overheat and if you don’t do something quickly the engine can be destroyed. The amount of damage that can happen from overheating can range from a little to a lot. You might get some pings and knocks and sluggishness or you could banjax the pistons or warp the head or the cylinders. Nothing you can fix by the side of the road with a bit of duct tape or juicy fruit gum. So, be patient with bikes trying to get out of the heat.
After work one day I rode Big Red over to this place I sometimes volunteer at. I ran into a former student who showed me a bunch of kids who were running laps in a hall, practicing for their soccer team. He explained about how the organization had paid their fees and had uniforms donated so the kids could play. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to afford to play in a league. He told me that he needed to get some water for them and asked me to watch them. As soon as he left, they started slowing down. I yelled at them to keep going and then, to my surprise, I started to run laps with them saying things like: “Here I am, an old man and I’m about to pass this guy!” The kid would look at me, smile, and take off running. So, I joked with them, thinking my bad knee might blow any minute. About five minutes later the coach returned. As I started to leave, I told the kids goodbye, that they looked great and to keep practicing. They waved and one of them came over to me and said: “Thank you for coming to watch us.’
Something struck me deeply about what this kid had said, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet, other than to feel deeply touched, moved and honored. I know there’s a lesson for me in there somewhere. I’ll keep thinking about it. Anyway, thanks for coming here to read this.