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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Graupel: When Drizzle Fo' Shizzle Hits the Fan

Sat 10.17 25m
This weekend involved the annual Family Reunion Bike Ride of the Cleary Clan; always a fun time.

Our plan was to ride the Cuyahoga Valley National Park trail from just north of Akron to just south of Lake Erie. Our plan was that on Saturday, the group would park vehicles at the Botzum Trailhead 2730 Riverview Rd, Akron, OH 44313, stop in Peninsula Ohio for lunch, and leave the trail at the Rockside Trailhead
8196 Rockside Rd, Independence, OH 44131. It's 20 miles on the trail, and another mile from the northern trailhead to our hotel.


In an attempt to do logistics, Karen and I started out quite early and drove to the northern trailhead, parked our van, and hopped on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for $3 each (bikes included!) The CVSR ferried us and our bikes to the Botzum Trailhead, where the ride was to start. This park-north, train-south, bike-north was a really terrific way to approach the ride.




The front of the train, which was a half-dozen cars for travelers with reservations, was sold out. The last two cars are kept open for cyclists only. You never need a reservation. You can stand at any of 20 train stations, wave at the train, and it will stop for you and carry you on your way. Absolutely tremendous.

Although the front of the train was Sold Out, there was a lot of room in the bike cars and I indulged in bikespreading, a new variation of manspreading on trains.



They distribute a really great trail map. It's abstracted to the point that it only shows the trail, the trailheads, and train station. I love this map.


This is a video of our karass getting started at BostonStoreStation.


This is a video of our party exiting the trail to transition into Peninsula, Ohio


After lunch, we got back on the trail and the weather turned a bit bitter. I couldn't tell if it was freezing drizzle, or melting sleet. Anyway, it was cold and wet and reduced the visibility a bit. At times it seemed like snow, at times it seemed like lumpy rain. It was Drizzle Fo'Shizzle, although I think the most-correct term is Graupel

Graupel (English /ˈɡraʊpəl/), also called soft hail, snow pellets or 'sago' is precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm ball of rime. The term graupel comes from the German language.

Graupel is distinct from hail, small hail and ice pellets: the World Meteorological Organization defines small hail as snow pellets encapsulated by ice, a precipitation halfway between graupel and hail. The METAR code for graupel is GS.


By the time the group got to the north end, folks were cold and wet and several had enjoyed enough of it, so it was great to have the van pre-positioned and we used it to shuttle some folks up the hill to the hotel.

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