Friday, August 19, 2011

Bicycle Commute With Giant Wall of Dust

Rolling home on the commute, look up in the sky behind the Soleri Bridge...uh oh haboob on the way

About three minutes out, put on the goggles, cover nose and mouth with bandana, mount the steel camel...

Almost here, wind picking up, here comes the front of it...


The front about to roll in, looking down the canal

I don't know if they keep track of megatons of dust that falls on Phoenix during each monsoon season from these haboobs, but if they do, this season has to some kind of record. I don't recall another year in which so many large dust storms rolled over the whole valley like they have this summer. Fortunately the wind speeds in this one seemed somewhat more moderate, 30 to 40mph gusts according to the NWS, not the 70mph we had back in early July. But this one lasted for an hour or so, giving me a good opportunity to test my monsoon dust storm gear. The goggles were excellent at protecting my eyes, and my bandana did a good job of filtering most dust out of the air I was breathing. My helmet strap held the bottom of the bandana against my neck quite securely. With those on, the ride was really pretty comfortable. The front insta-cooled the air down from what had been a record high for the date of 112F.

I saw pedestrians leaning into the wind, and drivers struggling to see. Except the few times that I got blown around on the road by the strongest gusts, a bicycle seemed like an excellent method for traveling in a haboob. A camel is probably best of all, but I didn't have access to one this afternoon, so I road my steel camel instead.


  1. These are amazing photos of the front/storm coming thru, what an amazing world we live in. Although I don't commute via bicycle, I'm happy to explore it on a bike.

  2. I do hope the Soleri Bridge shrugs such sandblasting off.

  3. those photo's don't look real! Fantastic shots

  4. Shelly, thanks! All/any manner of cycling is encouraged on this blog.

    limom, making a sequel.

    Dan, nice!

    RANTWICK imagine having a shoving match with Pigpen from Charlie Brown, except he's the size of Paul Bunyon.

    Steve, the pillars shrugged off the dust as if it never happened.

    PaddyAnne, it's true, a giant wall of dust rolling toward you is not a sight easily or quickly accepted by the mind.


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