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Thread: Bob Dylan "Ridin' in the Wind" :)

  1. #1
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    Bob Dylan "Ridin' in the Wind" :)

    Riding in the wind


    Informal and experience based

    Here’s one for all you regular or aspiring “all year rounders” and especially for this time of year. Just ridden home in a 40mph+ Shetland blow and rising so I thought I would list out some bits of advice from 20+ winters riding in various parts of the country...

    Obviously anyone who knows anything about Shetland might have an idea of how windy it is at 60N and we experience regular gale forces with prolonged gales/stormy weather around this time. It’s more a case of surprise at still days rather than the other way round. Down in the SW where we were for 15+ years it was known to blow a bit as well!

    The main thing is not to ride once it gets too wild. Early in my riding career I had a midnight ride along the A38 to Plymouth in a near hurricane and only just kept it off the Armco on 3 lanes. Perhaps not wise but work beckoned...

    Shetland has no obstacles to stop the wind so it is relentless and can literally blow you off the road and half way across the scenery if you get too brave. “Sooth” it’s more a case of mixing it with traffic and also the gaps in the scenery that cause the problems!

    So...

    1. Is it safe to get the bike out? I usually stop at force 7/8+ as standing up is difficult enough

    2. Plan your ride. Know where the exposed places are and where to expect the wind from (not as easy in sheltered bits with twists and turns).

    3. Relax... Especially for newer riders you can get the arse/hand/teeth death grip of fear but this makes it 10x worse. The bike will move and you counter it with smooth countersteer and give yourself room by keeping across the lane closer to the wind so when it does move you, you don’t run out of road. Pivot round your hips and let the bike do its thing... (similar to slip sliding over things in the wet).

    4. Keep in a gear or so lower as it keeps the bike dynamically “tighter” by making the bike work harder at keeping straight. Too high a gear and you will wander much more.

    5. Don’t go too slow! If you are on an open road and slow to a crawl then the bike will be all over the place... Forward momentum keeps it straighter, upright and more predictable. Also it’s fine to go in a straight line leaning over!

    6. Judge your bike... A light scooter will be affected far worse than a big heavy bike. A fully faired tourer will potentially be a bigger sail. A high faired-in bike is a bigger obstacle to cross winds. My best bike in a gale... K1200RS company bike with shit loads of weight and a steering damper... I was nearly blown off the bike but it remained straight and true. One of the worst... My old CBR600 with its solid bodywork and a short wheelbase. It could change lanes in a strong gust! Present 1000 V-Strom is surprisingly good GS’s etc do pretty well

    7. Watch other traffic especially oncoming. A big Artic will project a sudden turbulence/headwind significantly wider so catching you full in the face. On the motorway/dual carriageway a big vehicle can give you a wild ride as you pass it to leeward so going turbulence/low pressure vortex (sucks you in)/sudden smack in the chops as you hit the wind again. Be ready for it!

    8. Watch the weather forecast so you know if you are about to give yourself the ride from hell and can take the car/van/bus instead As with my A38 hurricane above, if I had known, I would have been late for work

    9. Watch for contradictory wind directions such as passing through cuttings etc as the wind funnels and reflects so giving you several different directions in a few hundred metres...

    10. Watch for gaps such as street ends and gates, and places that have signs saying “Vent Lateral” in France!

    11. Errant wheelie bins, bits of tree, all manner of detritus not tied down can be out to get you so pay attention to the road surface. The f’ing wheelie bin is a council appointed menace.

    12. The day after will leave roads littered with crap such as twigs/branches/ next doors kids toys/shop signs/the odd roof, so keep a look out.

    There are loads of other bits but I am sure anyone can add their favourites... but the main thing is, use your brain, enjoy it and ride safe... It’s all part of the experience!

    PS It’s now 50mph+ and rising... I know several people on a ferry in the North Sea travelling 200 miles “sooth” danight... Bike in garage for “peerie start”...

  2. #2
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    Some good points raised there

    As an all year rider I can confirm (for me anyway) the worst weather is high winds, downright dangerous and scary at times. Closely followed by snow and ice.

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    Strong cross winds I have encountered and can deal with, snow and ice has me quivering with fear. The wind directions above are great, but has anyone any advice on how to do 300 odd miles in a day, plus a days work, in snow an dice? I struggled last year, not with the cold, but with keeping the bike upright and being able to slow on steep downhills. Gritted roads are OK, it is the white ones that frighten me! Sheet ice, where the gritted, cleared roads have frozen ses me pull the covers back over my ears!

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    Just be aware!

    When its windy I sit in the middle of the road so I have a bit of manouvering room when I get buffeted by wind.

    Best idea is to emigrate to somewhere where you don't get wind. Problem solved.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wrigsby1 View Post

    3. Relax... Especially for newer riders you can get the arse/hand/teeth death grip of fear but this makes it 10x worse. The bike will move and you counter it with smooth countersteer and give yourself room by keeping across the lane closer to the wind so when it does move you, you don’t run out of road. Pivot round your hips and let the bike do its thing... (similar to slip sliding over things in the wet).

    Yup .... best bit o' advice there Wrigsby

    Relax, don't fight it. Let the bike do it's thing, let it move about. From the rear you'll look like George Formby 'On The Limit' but what the 'eck

    Was up on Shetland last week

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

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    Quote Originally Posted by B4ndit View Post
    Just be aware!

    When its windy I sit in the middle of the road so I have a bit of manouvering room when I get buffeted by wind.

    Best idea is to emigrate to somewhere where you don't get wind. Problem solved.
    Workin' on it... Shetland usually has a month or two where you can't ride. Everywhere else I have lived it was a week or two where you shouldn't ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Yup .... best bit o' advice there Wrigsby

    Relax, don't fight it. Let the bike do it's thing, let it move about. From the rear you'll look like George Formby 'On The Limit' but what the 'eck

    Was up on Shetland last week

    Aye... back to the wild North this week but should be just the right side of possible next...

  8. #8
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    Interesting thread this Since fitting a GSA screen and whilst fully loaded with panniers etc my steed seems to catch the wind a bit like a sail board so that with a side wind in open country it's necessary to lean over merely to go straight so is it the panniers or the screen ?
    Regards bisbee

    Courage isn't having the strength to go on - it is going on when you don't have strength.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bisbee View Post
    Interesting thread this Since fitting a GSA screen and whilst fully loaded with panniers etc my steed seems to catch the wind a bit like a sail board so that with a side wind in open country it's necessary to lean over merely to go straight so is it the panniers or the screen ?
    Probably a little bit of both... Bigger screens do catch the wind more and the weight may make the front lighter. Also tankbags, rear bags/top boxes will make you a bigger, higher wind target.

    Leaning over going straight is going to be more pronounced if you are loaded as you probably will notice the countersteer more as you lean the extra weight into the wind... if you deck the pegs you know its probably too windy

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