Just thought it might be appropriate to bring this up for any late season riders in light of two threads currently running. We lost Wolfey in the interior quite possibly due to a hypothermia related accident and one of our new riders here talks in his thread about his first ride and being SO cold during his ride back home on the S2S.
Hypothermia is a very real enemy. It can kill you as certainly as the ignorant SUV driver that pulls out at the last second. The worst part is that unlike the SUV driver many of us welcome and encourage hypothermia by our own poorly based decisions. I know because I've been there and fortunetly lived to shake my head at my own stupidity. But the outcome was a happy one more due to good luck than to good planning.
PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! We don't need the story material here that badly...
If you find yourself out riding without adequite gear to stay warm PLEASE be wary of signs of hypothermia. The first sign that you are going over the edge is continuous shivering. As you get cold and start shivering your ability to deal with the needs of riding quickly degrade. And going out for a quick ride and coming out to find cold rain coming down is a very real option these days. Add to the onset of hypthermia the lack of viz in the rain and you have a great recipe for the posting of yet another "Rider down" or "RIP" thread. If the shivering is not too violent and does not get worse you can carry on but you should be aware that you are operating at less than 50% capacity to deal with stuff. Give yourself a lot of extra room and SLOW THE F*$& DOWN a lot. Just cruise home. It's no time for the usual heroics.
If it increases to the point that all you can feel is shivering and it feels like it's going to vibrate you off the bike then pull into a Timmies, 7-11 or any gas station and warm up for 5 or 10 minutes minutes. Uncontrolable shivering means that you are well on your way into serious hypothermia and your ability to deal with decisions is now down to about a 6 beer level or worse. And if it's raining to boot then your attention zone is about all of 12 inches in front of your nose. Not a good situation at all.
If you're in the middle of nowhere pull over at any cover (an overpass is a good spot if it's raining) and let your thin gear and body warm you up for a few mintues until the shivering stops. Walking or jogging up and down the road a few hundred yards will burn some calories that will help you return to a warmer state even if you're in the wet. You may have to do stops like this every 5 to 10 minutes until you get home because once you are into a hypothermia state the recovery is hard and the return of the shivering will happen that much sooner. But it is far better to take the time during your ride and get there than to have the time to think about it in the hospital bed.
The trick is that once you feel the first shivers you really need to pay some attention to your decision making ability and the conditions around you. And this is tough because the first thing to go is the ability to deal with multiple issues.
Be careful out there.