You should not trust the wind conditions. They’re one of the greatest enemies for bikers. It’s strength and direction changes can give you quite the scare, and in the worst case, cause an accident. In this article, we will cover some advice that will help you in reacting to side wind and preventing loss of balance while riding.
When riding a motorcycle all of our senses get activated at 100%, it is an innate protection mechanism. Therefore, when we have a mishap it is usually due to a drop in our alertness.
If we are going to enjoy a route on our motorcycle, it would be normal to check first if our path crosses windy areas. There are geographic spaces that by their configuration have a high percentage of windy days. This is something to take into account beforehand, to adequately equip ourselves and secure our luggage or our passenger for those sections that might compromise our stability.
When facing a headwind, the situation is relatively easy to confront. We have to adopt a forward posture, engaging with the structure of the motorcycle, and protecting ourselves under the front fairings (if we have any). Firmly grip the handlebar and ride in a shorter gear than usual to keep more traction in the wheels.
A very important detail is the helmets fastening. It should be always perfectly adjusted, even more in this case, since we face both our speed and the force of the headwind, increasing the shock feeling.
When facing tailwind, although it will give us a slight boost in speed and help us in saving some gas, we must be alert. This acceleration can cause dangerous shimmy (wobbling of the steering wheel), that will take away your control of the motorcycle direction. A moment of anguish and adrenaline that we do not recommend experiencing.
Let’s talk about side wind, the most dangerous and hard to deal with. Depending on its intensity, it is preferable to change your route to avoid such critical moments. Any precaution is little, since the surface of our motorcycle, the rider and/or their companion, and any luggage, will act like a sail, taking the momentum of the wind and forcing us to exert ourselves to withstand its thrust.
The posture should be as collected as possible, maintaining firmness in the grip of the handlebar, and slightly leaning the body towards the side where the wind comes from (upwind in nautical terms). We must relax our lower body to tighten our thighs according to the strength of the wind blows. We must also maintain a gear ratio below normal to provide extra grip and of course, move as little as possible on the bike.
In troubling areas, in addition to being careful with your driving, you must anticipate the movements of the vehicles that drive around you. They also suffer from wind blows, lane changes, and lane invasions, so they can be another source of accidents.
Sometimes changing your route is a good alternative to enjoy the landscape.