Just to avoid any confusion, I’m not naked going 100MPH, it is my bike that is naked. So that wind blast can get pretty intense.
I know, I know… I talk about going fast an awful lot for someone who is trying to come across as a safe and sane rider. I don’t go blasting along at 100+ very often, honest. In fact it’s rarity is what makes it such an interesting thing to discuss. It has also become a topic with my family and friends of late (since I wrote about it here), which has gotten to me thinking about it a lot more than normal.
Going fast on a motorcycle is a completely different thing than going fast in a car. Not only is there the ease of which this happens (which I discussed elsewhere in this blog) but one of the biggest things is pushing all that air out of the way.
The first thing you almost always tell your friends when you come back from your first ride on the freeway is “holy crap, the wind almost blew me off the bike.” The air resistance you feel at a 50+ mph on a motorcycle (especially a naked bike) is pretty impressive, and if all you’re used to is poking along city street at around 30 mph, it’s shocking as well.
You do quickly get used to the feel of the wind pushing on you. Then the only time you notice how intense the wind is at speed, is when you go beyond your usual speed. (or when there is a really strong head wind you are riding into) All this air resistance is why when going fast a rider will hunker down over the motorcycle to reduce their profile as much as possible. You press your chest into the tank and tuck your knees and arms in as well. You can feel the wind pushing on your arms, legs and head. The only way out of it is to hide behind whatever sort of screen or wind shield that you have. In my case it’s just my little instrument cluster. Not much, which means I have to get pretty flat against the gas tank anytime I want to go much faster than 70mph. (Which of course I never do unless on a private track made for such things.)
Sounds uncomfortable doesn’t it. It can be, which is why I don’t really go that fast on my bike very often. One of the worst rides I’ve had recently was coming back from the vulture incident down by King City and riding north on 101 into what was at least a 20mph head wind. It’s uncomfortable to squish yourself up on your bike for so long. However, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, part of the awesomeness that is riding motorcycles is the fact that it isn’t easy, which makes it even more special. Nothing really worth while is fun and easy all the time.