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Author Topic: Riding in windy conditions...  (Read 522 times)

mattsz

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Riding in windy conditions...
« on: March 01, 2013, 12:13:29 AM »
So I've been wandering through a European website that seems to be aimed at newbie riders - www.lazymotorbike.eu.  I've actually found a lot of interesting and enjoyable reading there; the english translations are very good, with only the occasional humorous misspelling or wrong word.

Now my disclaimer is, the owners have asked that the text from their site not be copied.  I'm going to take a chance that copying some of their text here, in order to make it easier for us here to process, isn't in the spirit of copyright infringement.  They've asked that links be used instead, which I'm more than happy to do:

http://www.lazymotorbike.eu/tips/weather/#storm

This section has me a bit lost, and I was wondering if anybody here can comment on it based on their riding experience?  It is advice on riding in bad weather:

Quote
Stay loose!
When you ride through a storm, you will feel as though you have to use all your strength, and you will contract your muscles, to keep your bike on the road, to compensate for the gusts of the wind.

But counter-intuitively, that is not what you need to do. On the contrary, you should relax your muscles as much as you can!

Why relax?
When you relax as much as possible, and your head and arms and legs move about in the wind, your body will not conduct the gusts of the wind to your motorcycle, there will be no steering input from the wind.

When you contract all your muscles, every gust of wind will be translated into a jerk to the steer. And with every movement of the steer, your bike will set into a corner, while all you want is to ride straight on.

But how do you manage to ride in a straight line?
It might sound strange, but your motorcycle is able to ride in a straight line all by itself. You help your bike in the best way by applying the trick described below.

So far, so good - I can accept the above, in theory at least.  But the "trick":

Quote
A flappering knee
When you do this for the first time during a storm, you will be surprised about the effect:
If you stick out the knee at the side where the wind comes from, and you relax your muscles in your leg, and let your knee flapper about, your motorcycle will ride a perfect straight line.

The effect is simply baffling, especially when you were used to pull every muscle during heavy storms, to keep your motorcycle on the road, because you were certain that the wind would blow it aside.

But how is that possible?
You can imagine that your flappering leg will function as a sail, when the wind blows from an angle with your bike.

If the wind comes from the left, that means that the left side of the bike will try to decelerate. In the mean time, the wind blows the bike to the right, and both forces together compensate: as a result, the bike will lean in to the left, exactly as much as is needed to ride in a straight line.

Blown to the side
So, to ride in a straight line through stormy weather is not very difficult. But when it's stormy and wet at the same time, and you cross metal strips on a bridge, or white plastic stripes on the road, you will be blown aside for a moment.

But the nasty effect of being blown aside after passing a truck will almost disappear when you use the flapping knee trick.

Does this sound like something that is familiar to anybody here?  If so, can it be explained in a way that might make more sense to me?

Arizoni

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 12:40:57 AM »
I would explain it but when I'm riding under those heavy crosswind conditions my tense body and concentrating mind is too busy to notice if parts of me are flappering.  ;D ;)

Actually, I haven't tried flappering although my wife will tell you I flapper all the time with my mouth.  ::)  Don't believe a word she says.

Jim
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mattsz

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 01:20:54 AM »
Jim - I won't listen to what your wife says about you, but you have to promise you won't listen to what my wife says about me!

"Flappering" is one of those endearing translations I was talking about.  Only this time, I'm just not quite sure what they mean...

scoTTy

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 03:37:25 AM »
lean on to it,,,  i've been totally sideways going in a straight line in Oklahoma ..  in the frezzING rain with layered newspapers on my chest

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« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 03:39:39 AM by scoTTy »

Arizoni

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 04:19:43 AM »
Their just talking about extending your legs and letting the wind flap them around rather than keeping them tight against the tank.

Whether this actually does anything good or not I do not know.
I do know they are right about the tendency to tighten up muscles when a person is put under stress by things like high speeds and cross winds that try to blow a motorcycle all over the road.
It really doesn't help to tense up like this and it can wear a person out quickly.

In California, riding on 101 in the area of Salinas and Prunedale just inland from the Monterey bay the wind blowing inland can create one hell of a crosswind to the highway.

Every time I've ridden thru there my bike was tilted over to the side to keep it tracking straight down the lane.
This was okay as long as it was a constant blast but every so often it would blow in gusts.
With the wind blowing, the tilted bike would track straight, but if I hit an area where the wind suddenly stopped blowing the bike would suddenly try to change lanes in the direction the wind had been blowing from.  Not fun.

That area and riding across the Mojave (Mo-ha-vie) desert in the summer are the only California roads I really didn't like to ride there.
Jim
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barenekd

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 05:47:39 PM »
I guess flappering is part of the translation, but sticking one leg out into the windward side will cause a bit of drag on that side and tend to turn the bike toward the leg into the wind. I might try that sometime, but my usual mood is just to lean into the wind the amount necessary to go straight. Anything to change the flow of air obviously requires an adjustment. I've ridden in a lot of 50-60 mph winds and they can be exciting, particularly if it's gusty enough to knock you over into the next lane! If the road surface isn't great or there's stuff on it, it gets even more fun as the bike will kinda slither on the crap! Basicly, Just sit back and relax as much as you can and ride it out. I've been riding in the windy parts of the US for 50 years and haven't been blown off the road yet. It is survivable. Jack and I had one last year the was blowing so hard that we had to stand and hold our bikes up in a gas station parking lot! It was a wind warning day that they recommend no semis or RVs on the road. We chose to go on our ride anyway, and once we got up in the mountains, it was a very nice ride, except for the ice.
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motorat

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 06:50:16 PM »
there have been time riding home from sears point raceway where i am at a 70deg lean going straight.
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boggy

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 08:11:44 PM »
I go over a bridge on my ride home and it's usually extremely windy.  Someone here suggested the leg trick and it works pretty good. I think, like bare said, it causes drag. 

So wind comes in from left and wants to push you right.  Left leg sticks out acting like an air brake causing you to drift left.

I cannot lean during these gusts, because that's usually what they are, gusts.  If I lean, and the wind stops, I'll wobble left too fast.

The leg drag is just enough to take the edge off without causing me to turn when the wind cuts.  Its seems to work.  It's still scary as hell sometimes.
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mattsz

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Re: Riding in windy conditions...
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 01:21:22 AM »
Interesting - thanks for your insight, guys!