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It was supposed to be a warm and sunny day. I had a long ride ahead of me from Pennsylvania through New York to Connecticut on Interstate 84. The temperature barely got above 55, and there was no blue sky or sun to be seen. A slight drizzle was in the air, although fortunately, I did not encounter the scattered showers. Riding a motorcycle in 55 degree weather may not sound unreasonably cold until you consider the wind chill I have always been curious about exactly what wind chill means, so I did a bit of research on it. Basically, it has to do with how cold a person feels due to the effect of wind. Not a big revelation. The calculations are based on a formula, which was arrived at through empirical means. The literature consistently makes the point that the calculation of wind chill is just an approximation but you would not think so based on the following formula.
T = temperature
S = wind speed
Wind chill = 91.4 + ( T – 91.4 ) x ( .474 + .304 x sqrt(S) – .0203 S )
I actually found a number of different formulas. The one above is the one I was actually able to replicate in an Excel model and get the same results as the published table. Apparently the calculations are not as accurate at higher temperatures and wind speeds because most of the tables only go up to forty degrees and the wind range in the tables typically goes up to 20 or 30 miles per hour. My interest was different, however. When riding a motorcycle, in effect, you create your own wind, and on the Interstate, it is 65 miles per hour! My estimate of the chill factor at 55 degrees and 65 miles per hour was that it felt like freezing. The formula above yielded 33 degrees. A lot of work to confirm what I had guessed but I feel better knowing.
I didn’t expect to be using my electric gloves and vest this time of year – fortunately, I had them with me. Recently, I’ve had some difficulty in using the electric heated clothing. For some reason, connecting the clothing has often resulted in blowing the motorcycle’s accessory fuse. Once I rode 20 miles to meet Chris Forbes, the CEO of Knovel Corporation, for lunch on a very cold day. The heating worked just fine getting there, but the fuse blew when I reconnected for the trip home. It was one of the most uncomfortable days I have experienced. The wind chill on that occasion was well below freezing. Fortunately, it was only 20 miles.
I got curious about hat was causing the fuse to blow so I used an ohmmeter to measure the resistance of the gloves and vest. A quick calculation showed that the current drawn should be about 6 amps. The fuse was 15 amps, so for some reason, a surge must occur when connecting. The solution turned out to be to replace the fuse with a circuit breaker. I was not aware that there was such a thing as a circuit breaker that has the form factor of a fuse. My friend Bob Carey, Service Manager at Harley-Davidson in Danbury, told me about it. I’ve had no problems since introducing this new technology. It was no piece of cake to install the circuit breaker though — see pictures.
Speaking of motorcycle riding, the weather was spectacular a couple of Sundays ago that the choice between writing in the weblog or riding a motorcycle was easy to make. I started out through Ridgefield and headed through the back roads to Marcus Dairy. The dairy was hosting a “Cycle Sunday”. Formerly called “Super Sunday”, the dairy event attracts thousands of people and motorcycles from a wide area. A typical Sunday will find 1,000 bikers there for breakfast or just to hang out. I estimate that the Cycle Sunday crowd was at least 20,000. The ten dollar admission went to support the YMCA. Every imaginable motorcycle accessory (and some unimaginable) was available at the various vendor booths and tents (more than 100). I have never seen so many black leather products in my life.
Departing from the dairy, I headed east on Interstate 84, and then north on Route 7. This took me through Brookfield, New Milford, and on to Sherman. From there, my route took me across the border into New York State, and then across some back roads to Route 22, and then south through Brewster and South Salem and finally onto route 35 back to Ridgefield. This was a very pleasant ride. I stopped along the way to have a Diet Coke and use Copytalk to dictate part of this story on the Samsung i330. More on Copytalk coming up in my next story which will be about On Demand.