If you’ve transversed the mountain trails of Asia, or open plains in any other parts of the world, you know the kind of windy we’re talking about. The kind that feels like its gonna knock you off your two wheeler! Like riding through a wind tunnel? Yeah… we know the feeling. Firstly, there are two aspects to riding in the wind:
The wind effect
When riding through the wind at high speeds, rain, stones, dust and even insects can sting you bad! The best way to counter them is to wear a full-face helmet and visor to protect your face; especially your eyes, wear gloves going till your jacket sleeves and your leggings over your boots. Finally, a scarf over your neck helps in case some insect decides to fly down your neck in search of shelter. Ouch!
Some turbulence is normal while riding. Some people try to cancel it out by getting fairings or wind-screens for their bikes. These work well when it comes to frontal winds but end up acting like sails if you get hit by a side gust, causing possible toppling over. If you want protection from the wind on all sides, better stick to a car. That’s all we can say. If it’s windy and you’re out on your motorbike, the wind’s going to hit you from some direction. The trick is to relax, grip the bike lightly and counter-balance the bike’s movement just like a rodeo rider.
Our tips for riding in high winds
Here are some tips and insight into how best to balance and maneuver your motorcycle through harsh windy conditions:
Preparation is the key
High winds are typically found in open plains, valleys, mountain tops and along large bodies of water. So if you know you’re going to these kind of places, be mentally and physically prepared. You don’t need your sixth sense to feel a wind coming on.. just pay attention to how grass, the tops of trees, flags, and birds behave. If they are blowing in one direction, you can set yourself up but if they are blowing back and forth, then decide whether you wish to continue or wait for a while.
A lot of depends on the weight of your vehicle so heavier bikes are definitely safer as they provide better centre of gravity. If you don’t have a heavy bike, then choose one with no bodywork, panniers, top box or a windscreen, if you know you’re going to be riding in windy conditions often.
Heads or tails
Here’s the right windy day pose: Duck down and pin your arms and legs against the bike. Dropping a gear down will also help you accelerate smoothly with more control. You can try a bit of rear brake in case of a tail wind. It works!
Trick those Crosswinds
As crosswinds are much trickier to handle, don’t try to wrest control but rather try moving forward in the seat and raise your elbows, motocross style. This will give you more control with your steering. Also, look for protection such as buildings, bushes, lines of trees, culverts and moving protection such as vans and trucks. But for goodness sake, keep a safe distance from these…
Hang the knee
If the wind is blowing from one direction, try and hang the corresponding knee out. The wind will push your leg instead of your motorbike so be prepared for that!
As blustery conditions are quite unpredictable, don’t take risks. Ride loose and slow with your elbows out. Be prepared to accelerate, lean, and steer suddenly to get back in control.
Margin for error
A sudden gust of wind may blow you into oncoming traffic or off the side of the road so make sure that you keep some margin for error and ride in the middle of the lane.
Riding in the wind is a more strenuous workout than riding in normal weather. Since you’ll be concentrating so much on balancing, swerving and staying in control, you may not realise how tired you are. So if it’s a long stretch, take frequent breaks. You’ll know then how physically and mentally drained you are. The best advice is to avoid extreme windy conditions altogether. It is of course best to be safe than sorry. But if you must, then we hope these tips will help you to tackle the conditions effectively. Ride smart and stay safe, GoBikerz!