WINDS FROM HELL – could be from elsewhere too 😂😂
Anyone who knows me well knows I have a special name for winds. “The harsh Kisser”. I love open roads and there is nothing better than riding on an open road, but winds can just turn your joy to tears. Well for me, that has been the case a couple of times but the worst happened in Lesotho. (I will tell you about all the others over a cup of coffee 😉). In Lesotho 🇱🇸, we got into 40kph winds. By the way, we are in Argentina now and have been monitoring the weather and the highest speeds of wind we have seen are 55kph. 👀😳😱. I have no idea how this will go, but we must ride.
Over the last 5 months we have encountered winds of different magnitude.
– Head on wind
– Cross winds
– Those that love to push you from behind.
– Those ones behind a truck (they are different) they flap you like a flag.
– Those that decide to change directions all of a sudden and finally
– The whirlwinds.
In all these types of winds ONE RULE is constant *COUNTER STEER*. If you are riding with your partner and Bluetooth is on, you hear this a million times. I love him and every time he screams it, I respond, I love you babe and all is well.
That brings us to RULE No. 2. Be in love 🥰 with the wind, it’s the only way you will survive. Love conquers all remember. I mean, do not panic, do not give up. Bond with the wind. When your mind is positive and calm, everything works well.
But what happens if the wind throws you off guard, puncturing you confidence and deflating it totally. Causing you fears and all. For me I some times cry 😢 but that has never helped so don’t.
Here is what you do and please note, some of the things are not taught in class, actually majority so let’s have an open discussion after this and hear 👂 everyone’s input.
1. You have to be quite observant of wind on your route. Check the weather before, if not, anywhere you see windsock or turbines that is an indication of heavy winds area. Dust high up from farms with no activity like ploughing indicates a whirlwind coming. Never allow yourself to cross a whirlwind. Slow down or stop and let it pass. It’s just a few minutes. We had some in Zambia and Namibia a couple of times .
2. If you get scared, panic, or uncomfortable, slow down and stop. Gather your strength again. I call this wind 101 stops. They help to just get the focus again.
3. Don’t ride to slow in the winds, you will be blown off. Remember how a paper jet flys. Same theory. Counter the wind with the speed.
4. Never do a hard stop with the winds. Observe your environment and gear down as you slowly come to a safe stop in a safe area. Some of the places are next to a cliff or off-road and you don’t want to put yourself in more danger.
5. If the winds are too strong for the bike to stay upright, put it down. Again safely to avoid oil or petrol leaks. Safety first always. Technically may sound not possible but bikes are different and in different conditions. You never know .
6. Riding in the winds makes you more tired than usual. Your body is constantly fighting to stay upright and keep bike steady, sometimes you struggle to keep head straight from crosswinds. You end up with many muscle aches after, please give your body some TLC after. Stretch, use ointment if need be and a good hot shower or cold shower works. Rest well if you have to ride the following day and any day ofcause.
7. There are times and terrains to avoid riding in strong winds. – -SERIOUS OFF-ROAD -will keep your speeds low and not good to ride with strong winds. SANDY AREAS – you will have sand dusts blinding you and building dunes on the road and can cause serious accidents as well. MOUNTAIN PASSES – are not to be ridden in strong winds, they come with steep gradients (both down and climbing) and sharp corners. Not forgetting the high cliffs and wind surges. If riding in LONG OPEN FLAT LAND like deserts – winds can be very strong and very unpredictable. Extra caution is required.
8. I would like to add riding skill levels to this list. Most winds in Kenya are manageable but there are area like northern Kenya where they can be extremely strong. If you are looking to venture into cross country adventures, winds are inevitable and it’s good to get experience in riding with the wind.
9. Everyday is a learning day and each day brings new chapters to our existing subjects. Keep riding, experience is the best teacher.