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Riding Skills: Effects Of Strong Crosswinds On Choppers


During fall riding, we have to deal with strong and gusty winds. I suppose you could set a limit and say "I won't ride if the winds gust above 30 MPH... but what fun would that be? On a day like today (50 degrees and sunny) can you imagine not riding because of the wind?

(Note: I do have my limits for things like temperatures and I suppose if the winds were above 40 MPH I would probably not ride. Just use your common sense and set your "personal limits" based on your bike limits and rider skill level).

Aircraft pilots often refer to the season change from fall to winter as the "bumpy flight time" because Mother Nature has to use lots of wind to "push summer way" (likewise during the spring to summer change). Whatever the reason... the reality is strong and gusty winds on the ground (for us bikers) as well as in the air during this time of year and we have to know how to ride with these winds.

For most motorcycles, gusty winds are just an annoyance requiring some mild adjustments while riding. On a chopper, a gusty wind will feel like someone is standing beside the bike and is taking their best foot and pressing hard (in a sideways) direction right on the forward control peg (left or right depending on the direction of the wind). I am not sure if this is due to flex in the long forks, the rake, or both but it can make for a strange feeling like the front tire is going to slip out from under you.

So, I have found the best technique for dealing with strong and gusty winds is to ride in the center section of my lane (if the pavement and traffic conditions allow it) and maintain a strong grip on the handlebars while being relaxed enough to adjust as needed during and after the gusts. Like most conditions that deal with handling... slowing down can be a good option too... especially while in heavy traffic during these conditions.

Ride steady!

Submitted by:

Ron Gallagher

Ron Gallagher operates his web-based development business http://www.ROAT.com and writes a blog http://www.HowToRideChoppers.com. Writing articles about riding and choppers has allowed my blog to become a FAQ on tips, tricks, and ideas on how to make owning and riding a chopper more fun!





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