MAYFLIES ATTACK SMALL TOWN ON HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR (Area Cyclist Rides Anyway)

Hi, I’m the area cyclist who ventured out into the mayfly swarm and the heat in order to present the other side of MY State’s crazy weather.  I’ve written extensively about my biking exploits in the snowstorms and frigid temperatures of Minnesota’s winter.  Some might even call it bragging.  They’re right.  Now I’m going to give equal bragging time to the heat and humidity of Minnesota’s summer.

I turned on my television this morning for a weather report and I got exactly what I was looking for:  A legitimate excuse to write about one of my rides for a Cycle365 post.

 

Apparently there is some kind of scientific calculation that combines temperature with humidity to come up with a “heat index.” In this case, 98-degree temperature + 84% humidity = 110-degree heat index.

 

Channel 9’s “excessive heat warning,” combined with the 10-25 m.p.h. winds, provided just the kind of challenge I was hoping for.  I actually like hot and humid weather, but I could easily see where I might change my tune if I lived in a place where 100-degree temperatures were the norm for several consecutive months.  But I DON’T live there, and this is MY story.

I waited and waited, and finally I rode out into the afternoon sun.  It felt good.  I had a flashback to December of 2016 when I rode my mountain bike into 20-below-zero temperatures and wrote a blog post about it.

 

That was then . . .

 

. . . and this is now. I guess it’s so hot that the Walgreens sign can’t even calculate the temperature.

 

I had an icicle in my hand then . . .

 

. . . I carried a popsicle now.

 

Here’s an interesting fact:  In a matter of two minutes, that popsicle went from a state of frozen solidity, to a state of drippy mush.  I ate it in record time.  Then I proceed on for a sweaty ride of about 20 miles.  That’s the thing about humidity–it produces impressive streams of sweat all over one’s body, but mostly on one’s head and face.  The salty perspiration drips in one’s eyes.  The salt sting’s the eyes.  The stinging reminds you that you are accomplishing something.

I have to admit that I didn’t know about this year’s mayfly hatch until I crossed the Mississippi River bridge.  It happens every year.  Some years it is more dramatic than others.  If you’ve never seen a mayfly hatch, let me tell you, it is quite a phenomenon of nature.  These bugs rise from the river by the billions for just a few hours, they mate, then they die.  What a life!

 

Mayflies on the Highway 61 bridge.

 

That’s not dirt along the curb. The 10-25 mile-per-hour breeze has blown the dead mayflies there.

 

Some years the mayflies are so thick that they grease up the bridge and cause automobiles to spin out resulting in crashes that close the bridge down.  City snowplows have been called out to remove the accumulation of dead mayflies from the bridge.

 

 

I sympathized with any animal that had to wear a wool coat in this weather.

 

I’m glad I was wearing my sunglasses as I screamed back down Highway 61 toward the end of my ride.  A few lingering mayflies were in the air and they splatted my face.

The heat and humidity aren’t so bad while riding.  It’s when you stop that the sweat starts pouring.  There is only one way to remedy that.

 

 

 

 

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

17 response to "MAYFLIES ATTACK SMALL TOWN ON HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR (Area Cyclist Rides Anyway)"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: June 29, 2018

    Good heavens, I think I’m having heat index PTSD from Blue Mound Township summertime flashbacks. “Yep, it hit 100 today, but thank goodness for the humidity.” Sometimes I am SO glad I moved away from the Midwest! Perhaps you and Rich can compete against each other in some kind of “sweat and turn red in the cornfields” cycling tournament. Oh, wait a minute. That’s RAGBRAI at the end of July.

    PS: If you turn on your television in the morning and it says “hot, steamy, and breezy,” that probably means your dog Diggity stayed up late watching the “adults only” channel.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 29, 2018

      I don’t think I’d win a heat index contest against Rich, but I think Minnesota might have a slight edge over Illinois in a contest of temperature extremes over the course of a year.

      Sad to say, Diggity has been taken care of in such a way that he no longer has any interest in hot and steamy after-hours TV.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 30, 2018

    Well, actually, Greg, you had us beat by 2 degrees — ‘just’ 108 around here. As Bill said, we are just SO grateful for the humidity to go along with it.

    Ill leave the 20 mile rides in heat like this to our Minnesota compatriot!
    10 miles this morning before it really got bad was enough for me!

    We experienced a mayfly explosion at Fort Madison, Iowa — it truly is unbelievable!
    We were told they got so thick on the railroad tracks on the bridge over the Mississippi the locomotives lost traction.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

      Rich, according to the weather maps, it looks like you might be getting it even worse tomorrow.
      Another thing about the mayflies that I forgot to mention is that after a couple of days of decomposing, they stink as bad as anything I’ve ever smelled.

      • By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 30, 2018

        110 Heat Index possible they are saying.
        Yes, those flies do stink!
        Nice Trek!

  3. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: June 30, 2018

    I think you’ve now taken the ‘fly capital’ status off us down here although ours are much more annoying. Nerd mode…It’s because you are so far from the ocean and land heats up and cools quicker combined with the influences of the warm humid gulf stream and dry polar air. You really do get the variety.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

      True, the mayflies aren’t nearly as annoying as the flies you get. In fact they aren’t really annoying at all except for the smell and the crunching sound you hear when you ride your bike over them. But the infestation only lasts one or two days a year.

  4. By: Tony Cullimore Posted: June 30, 2018

    Humidity, high temperature and sweat and yet more sweat. I will continue to enjoy our winter I reckon!

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

      I try to enjoy whatever weather we get, or, if not enjoy it, at least TRY to make the best of it. But I must say, your winter looks pretty nice right now.

  5. By: Scooter Posted: June 30, 2018

    That’s incredible, bringing out the snowplows to scoop up the mayfly mush. Makes me think of all the smashed baby frogs on the road in Albania (Em, if you’re reading this cover poor Kermit’s eyes!).

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

      Smashed baby frogs is much more sad than a swarm of bugs who have died of natural causes after living a long and fruitful mayfly lifespan. As you may already know, I hate bugs. In my response to “Lednar’s” message, I forgot to mention one other annoyance caused by mayflies: I used to work downtown along the river, and the day after a major mayfly hatch we’d have to go out and brush a half-inch thick coat of mayflies off of our delivery vehicles. Then when we started them up, dead mayflies would come streaming out of the air-conditioner. Gross.

      Anyway, I don’t think the city had to use the snow plows this year. This was a mild swarm.

  6. By: Bikerdockeith Posted: June 30, 2018

    Hi Greg,
    Hot weather: something else about the Gopher state I don’t miss. Mayflies, on the other hand, well the Hatch on the Kinnikinik river was something we anglers waited all year for. Trout fishing heaven!

    But speaking of riding, hasn’t the head bolt on your Trek gotten rusty since last winter? Or is the brownish tint due to dead mayfly grump? Just askin’.

    Cheers,

    Keith

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

      I heard about the mayfly hatch being great for trout fishermen before. I was canoeing the Brule River up in Wisconsin a few years back, and was told that by an entomologist who specializes in mayflies. Being a non-fisherman, that doesn’t make sense to me. It would seem that the trout would have very little interest in your bait when you’re competing with a gigantic feast of mayflies.

      Oh yes, the bolt. It’s been rusty for years. Not sure why as I don’t ride that bike in the winter.

  7. By: The Navigator Posted: June 30, 2018

    Well, Greg, I think you can officially call your never-ending winter over!

    I haven’t had one of those kinds of popsicles since I was a kid – nice memories of carefree summers, but I certainly have never missed the humidity after moving away from from IN at 18.

  8. By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

    I hadn’t had one of those popsicles since I was a kid either. I have to fess up: I only bought it for the before-and-after photo opportunity. It was the closest thing to an icicle that I could find at the gas station. But I must say, it was delicious. I might have to buy a whole package of them.

  9. By: Seasidejanet Posted: June 30, 2018

    Look at you….. bugs, popsicles and garden hose dousing!! Aren’t we lucky we still ride our bicycles and act like kids!!

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 30, 2018

      AMEN to that, sister!

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