Wind

Wind is a normal part of riding. Riding a motorcycle is like being in a wind tunnel. With the right preparation, this isnt a problem at all. In fact, I quite like the wind.

Wind effects

At speed, rain hit your face like mini-hail stones. Stones can cut and even dust can sting. Non of this is a problem with the right gear. For example, a full-face helmet and visor keeps your face safe, especially your eyes. .

Wind wobble

Wind is part of riding, and turbulence is part of wind

When you ride, some turbulence is normal. Some think riding should have no turbulence, and get farings or wind-screens. However while these work well for front winds, they can act like sails if hit by side winds, and blow the bike over. Can a motorcycle be like a car, separate from outside conditions, like winds? A motorcycle is not like a car. If we created a motorcycle with wind protection around it, it wouldnt be a motorcycle any more. It would be a car. So wind is part of riding, and turbulence is part of wind.

Dont over-react to windiness, as wobble when riding is perfectly normal

Wind makes the bike wobble, but even normal riding has a wobble. The rider just naturally compensate for it. In windy conditions, it is the same, but the wobble is bigger. The more stable you are in riding, the better you handle wind. The principle is the same as rodeo riders use with a bucking bronco. Relax, don’t grip tightly, and counter-balance the bike’s movement. You continually re-adjust the center. Dont over-react to windiness, as wobble when riding is perfectly normal.

Gusting side winds

Gusting side winds are very unsettling

Front winds are not a problem. Constant winds are not a problem - if they come from the side you just lean into them. However gusting side winds are a problem. Gusting side winds suddenly push the bike sideways, then just as suddently stop. They can happen when you cross a river bridge, or pass a large truck. Gusting side winds are very unsettling. Here are my tactics for these conditions:

  • Lower your profile . Crouching lowers your wind profile, and the power of the wind. Lowering your profile means dropping your body to the tank, to reduce a side wind’s tipping leverage.
  • Slow down. I dont know if this is correct, but at slower speeds the bike seems more stable.
  • Knee tank grip. Grip the bike with knees, feet and hands to keep a vertical tension. Gripping the bike means pushing inwards with your knees, feet and hands.
  • Don’t panic. Worse than the wind is if you over-react to it. The main response to gusting winds is stay calm. Go with the flow.

Riding in the wind can be very tiring, as you are continually working to balance the bike. The wind is one case where it really helps to have a heavier bike.

Insects

The amazing thing about insects is there are so many of them. Apparently they, and bacteria, rule the world. Anyway, sooner or later you will meet one on a motorcycle. They dont want to fly into you, but the wind makes them. Really you hit them. Little bugs on your visor creates a vision problem. Bugs in your helmet is a major safety issue. If insects hit you outside they bounce off, but you don’t want one inside your clothing. Make sure your gloves cover your jacket sleeves, and your leggings go over your boots. A point of entry often forgotten is the neck, so I wear a scarf to keep my neck sealed. There is nothing worse than a stinging insect flying down your neck.