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Thread: Riding in Windy Conditions

  1. #1
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    Question Riding in Windy Conditions

    I would like to hear of your experiences and precautions about riding in windy conditions.
    I am a relatively new rider and find that some of my most anxious moments have come while riding in windy conditions, particularly gusty wind from the side! I am reminded of my personal consoling thoughts while flying in planes in "bumpy" conditions, I keep telling myself that I have never heard reports of wings being ripped off planes in these conditions! Could strong winds literally blow you off the road?

  2. #2
    franze
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    Quote Originally Posted by victorlipp View Post
    I would like to hear of your experiences and precautions about riding in windy conditions.
    I am a relatively new rider and find that some of my most anxious moments have come while riding in windy conditions, particularly gusty wind from the side! I am reminded of my personal consoling thoughts while flying in planes in "bumpy" conditions, I keep telling myself that I have never heard reports of wings being ripped off planes in these conditions! Could strong winds literally blow you off the road?



    Yes. A guy posted that this happened to him near Coronado in San Diego. I have ridden in maybe 50- 60mph gusts and although I was moved by the wind (head/shoulders) my R1100RT held a pretty solid line. It is uncomfortable. Better thing to worry about is being on a road with other vehicles that are much more at risk. Pay particular attention to motohomes and tractor trailers. An empty trailer can really move sideways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by victorlipp View Post
    I would like to hear of your experiences and precautions about riding in windy conditions.
    I am a relatively new rider and find that some of my most anxious moments have come while riding in windy conditions, particularly gusty wind from the side! I am reminded of my personal consoling thoughts while flying in planes in "bumpy" conditions, I keep telling myself that I have never heard reports of wings being ripped off planes in these conditions! Could strong winds literally blow you off the road?

    Number One Relax ! Most of the time when riders have problems in windy conditions it is not the wind moving the bike around but the rider causing the bike to twitch and jerk. When the wind and especially gusts start bouncing the rider around they tense up and by doing so cause the bike to change directions. By just relaxing and letting your upper torso to move independently from the bike the bike will generally behave much better in gusts. One of my bikes is a GS and with those big wide handlebars giving me lost of leverage, if I stiffen my arms in gusty conditions the bike bike will be all over the road. Not because it is unstable but because it handles so well that it is taking all the unintentional direction I am giving it. Relax and the GS will go down the road like a freight train on rails.
    Can the wind blow you off the road? Yes I guess it can, but it also turns over 18wheelers and knocks down buildings. In other words if other vehicles are having trouble staying on the road so will you, its time to get off and weight out the storm.

  4. #4
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    crosswinds

    Last year, coming out of Monument Valley, then dropping down to Chinle, AZ, I was riding in winds 50 to 60 mph, then as I crossed the continental divide and dropped down into Gallup ,NM, it was raining horizontally and the temp was plummeting . . . I opted for a motel that night. The TV guy made reference to the winds and mentioned blowing sand as a problem in the Chinle area . . . where I grew up they called that stuff GRAVEL! Yes, it can blow you off the road or cause you to change lanes unintentionally. As has been previously stated, relax that death grip on the bars, but if it's still problematical, it's time to seek shelter from the storm. Let common sense prevail.

    Floyd

    Harboring hate or resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies.

  5. #5
    Loose Cannon flash412's Avatar
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    From: http://www.deathstar.org/~flash/cross.html

    Riding in a Crosswind
    Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 02:48:34 -0400 (EDT)
    From: Flash - DoD #412
    To: bmwmc@world.std.com
    Subject: Crosswinds: THE ANSWER

    There seems to be some general confusion and disagreement about how to ride in crosswinds: go faster, go slower, hold tighter, be looser.

    Years ago, I found THE ANSWER. It worked for me when I had an R75/5 with a full Avon fairing and Enduro bags, with a backpack strapped upright to the short sissy bar, with a passenger. (Maximum crosswind profile.) And it worked for me when I had a nekkid R80G/S, solo. (Minimum crosswind profile.) I have posted it occasionally on rec.motorcycles and gotten many favorable responses. Though, some folks, with some bikes, claim it doesn't work. YMMV. (It works on an F650, too.)

    When riding in a crosswind, particularly a gusting one, all you need to do is stick your knee on the upwind side out as far as you can. The drawback is that if it is cold or rainy, you tend to scoop all the weather into your crotch. The reason it works, I *think*, is that with your knee out, you are putting your bike aerodynamically off-center and must compensate to get it to go straight. Now, when a gust comes along, your knee scoops up a bunch of the breeze, pulling you INTO the wind at the same time the wind is pushing the bike away. In any case, the effect of the gust is reduced by 90% or so.

    Try it. It's free. If you don't like it, or it doesn't work, stop doing it. (Disclaimer: The suggestion assumes you are a licensed motorcyclist with enough sense not to fall off. If you try this and fall off, it is your own damn fault.)
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "A really good imagination is almost as good as... hmmm I dunno."- E.Foote
    David Braun - F650 - DoD - BMWMOA - VBMW
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You got this from http://www.deathstar.org/~flash.

  6. #6
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    Interestingly enough also, going slower in crosswinds makes it worse. Simple physics really. When you have higher forward velocity, any angular or side force component of that velocity is also greater. Recall good ol' Newton said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    If the crosswind is blowing hard into you at an angle, a higher speed produces a greater force to counter that, thus making the bike less reactive and more stable.

    Seems every time I have ridden down to the Springfield Mile races from Wisconsin that all the wind from Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa has converged in central Illinois. Relax a bit on the bike, don't tense up and over-react the bike. Touring bikes, unless you have one large flat side (like the new K1200GT) of fairing, re very stable even if the wind is pushing it around.

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    The poke your knee out trick does work, for me more on an unfaired bike that fully faired.
    Each bike is different, a while back I was burning some slab on my R100RS and got to trying different locations around big trucks to see how it would act in the bad turbulence from them. For the life of me I could not find a location any where around or behind the trucks that would upset the rock solid stability of that bike. But I knew the turbulence was there because it was bouncing my head all over the place.

    Also, I grew up riding & racing all over Illinois. I know about wind. I also left as soon as I had a chance.
    Its great riding this time of year in Texas! Come on down!
    Last edited by hairsmith; 12-13-2007 at 12:03 AM. Reason: cant spell or type

  8. #8
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    As a 20+ year resident of Kansas who has ridden across the plains states more times than I can count - 19 times in 2005 alone - I claim to be an expert on wind. One time I had to bail in under an underpass when construction zone barrels were blowing across the road. I scraped my footpeg twice making corrections for gusts before my bike and 11 cars wound up sheltered by that underpass and embankment. The radio said 82 mph in Abiline and 102 at the Salina airport and I was about halfway in between. And one day in the Texas panhandle we (Voni and I) rode a whole 44 miles from one town to the next town before stopping at a motel about 10:00 in the morning.

    Andy is right about the physics. But not the reaction time issue. If you are, as correctly suggested a bit relaxed and don't have a death grip on the bars, the bike will move around the lane a bit. You need to balance the physics with the reaction time to best control the bike.

    I try to position myself on the upwind wheel track in my lane. This provides some space cushion downwind. Of course, when the wind is from the left and I am meeting trucks I do just the opposite while meeting traffic to minimize the wind blast.

    Finally, nothing beats practice. Lots of practice.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 12-13-2007 at 02:07 AM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Finally, nothing beats practice. Lots of practice.
    +1 After a half hour of using the whole lane, you get better at pushing on those grips to stay inside the lines.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, AND LOOKING FORWARD TO 2014!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  10. #10
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Dang

    We get a little wind up here as well.
    that storm two weeks ago broke some trees. I did not go for a ride.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    BMW uber alles! Zagando's Avatar
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    Exclamation Gusty winds? No thanks!

    I recently aborted my long-planned Bay Area to La Paz ride on my big beasty GSPD after anxious hours of gusty winds through Interstate 5's Grapevine and later on Mexico's Highway 3 from Tecate to Ensenada.

    The winds scared the friggin' daylights out of me.

    I tried the knee out in the wind trick but it seemed to have little or no effect that I could discern. While I was, indeed, tense I leaned over the tank to give me some leeway in maneuvering and tried not to overreact.

    Some sections of Hwy 3 were way up along mountain ridges with zero shoulder on both sides and those were the most harrowing. I fully expected for me and my high-profile PD (fairly heavily laden on the back rack, unfortunately) to get pushed over the edge at any moment.

    Maybe in retrospect I shouldn't have, but I slowed down to 30-35mph in this scenario. Crazed truckers and all sorts of cars, vans and other vehicles came up on my tail and soon passed (often on blind curves as is the norm anywhere in Mexico). I eventually made it back to Tecate after one great night spent in Ensenada. The next couple of days I took Hwy 101 all the way back to the Bay Area (so as to avoid I-5's treacherous conditions) and parked the Beemer for the winter.

    Caught a plane the next afternoon to Guadalajara where I met up with my wife and we continued our Mexican aventure via four wheels, boats and our own feet until flying home a few weeks later. She was glad that I had aborted the Baja ride (she would have joined me as a passenger for the ride back up from La Paz which also was a factor in my decision to cut Baja short) even though she liked riding the PD very much for the first time a bit earlier in the trip. I wasn't about to jeopardize her safety, either.

    Better safe than sorry, we always say. I know wind can blow over semis so imagine there's been more than a few bikers that have been run off the road by Mother Nature regardless of riding strategies, speed or type of bike.

    No regrets other than not knowing more about the dangers of wind ahead of time (I started riding in 1971) and packing so much gear on the tail end (I should have known better)---it was just a bit too wobbly at driveway speeds.

    I'm glad this question has been brought up and I look forward to many further comments and responses.

    I may eventually put the GSPD up for sale and get another early K-bike; never recall any problems with my K100RS (that was like riding the bullet train at speed)!
    ---Jeff

    ex: K75S Berlina R100GS/PD , K100RS , R75/5 , R60/2

  12. #12
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    In the case of the wind practice does not make perfect.
    Lisa and I encountered two straight days (the 10 hour type) of wind crossing Michigan's UP and WI & MN. I thought I was experienced with wind, but the wind knew better. The gusty cross winds came from the north, came from the south, we hardly ever had a "nice" steady lean into it kind of wind. My neck was killing me. We hunkered down as small as we could on the K75 - boy did that bike seem light then! The only scary part was on the bridge into Deluth. Other wise I just hoped the strap on my helmet would hold, cause it was getting pulled up hard. I was humming Pinball Wizard for days...I imagined we looked like a pinball bouncing between the lines!
    Gail Hatch
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    goob Kev95gs's Avatar
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    This kind of wind??




    Everyone has given good suggestions, loosen up, etc.

    Also be aware of wind blockers while riding in heavy cross winds. Buildings, hillsides, passing trucks.

    The blast seems intensified when you pass them. Wind, calm, wind again.

    Kevin

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev95GS View Post
    This kind of wind??




    Everyone has given good suggestions, loosen up, etc.

    Also be aware of wind blockers while riding in heavy cross winds. Buildings, hillsides, passing trucks.

    The blast seems intensified when you pass them. Wind, calm, wind again.

    Kevin
    Kevin,

    I don't think that photo was shot in Tennessee .....
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  15. #15
    goob Kev95gs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Kevin,

    I don't think that photo was shot in Tennessee .....
    That'd be in your neck of the woods Paul... on the way back from Mexico and Big Bend.

    Heading back to Big Bend for New Years this year. Come see us!

    Kevin

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