Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wind Chill Motorcycle Myth

Wind Chill Motorcycle MythThis past weekend, Southern California had its first taste of triple-digit temperatures, reaching 101 degrees in Temecula on Sunday, and 110 degrees in the Coachella Valley.

There's this myth that when it gets really hot outside, it's good to get on a motorcycle and let the wind cool you down. Wrong.

Wind chill only works when the air temperature is about 73 degrees F or less, and that's based on riding a motorcycle at 60mph, and based on the newer wind chill formula. Once you hit 74 degrees F, at the same speed, the wind no longer feels cool.

Using the same formula, and the same 60mph scenario, a 100 degree air temperature results in a "wind warming" of 111 degrees.

As your body moves through the air it comes in contact with more air molecules, and when those air molecules are warm, they heat up your body as you hit more and more of them in lesser time, resulting in a dehydrated body.

Riding in triple digit temps is actually stupid.

But my brain has never had much effect on my heart's desire.

Days like these are when a windshield becomes your best riding partner. Drink a bottle of water at each stop, and keep a bottle of water in your saddlebag.


  1. Your post is right on target. I was "smart" enough to ride last Saturday. Even though I left really early my ride back home was pretty bad. My bike has a temperature gauge and it showed 103 consistently.
    It might help to have a helmet that does a good job with its vents. I've got Arai Quantum 2 and its vents are pretty good.

  2. I did a poker run down in Orange County Saturday and it was brutally hot. Riding in triple digits is just like running a blow dryer in your face. FUN!

  3. Thanks for the info Bill Nye

  4. As long as I have water and sunscreen it doesn't bother me much. Good post. I just found your site. Very cool brother. You have alot of good info here.

  5. Thanks Dave, send me a mail next time you come this way.

  6. I'm planning on picking up a camel pack for just that reason. I hate the hung-over feeling of being dehydrated. Riding is so much more enjoyable when I don't get the hang-over.
    Have a good one brother.
    Hey, Are you riding the Rip's B.A.D. Ride this year?

  7. Camron, I don't think I'll do the BAD ride, I'm just not thrilled about those biker events anymore. But now that ya got your degree, I'd love to do some riding with you.

  8. You are partially right but mostly wrong. Your theory is only relevant if you have 0 flow in your gear and there is 0 moisture present.

    The way you cool off in the heat is via air flow. Ever heard of a cool vest? Combine moisture and air and you have evaporative cooling. That is why we sweat. This is the same theory that makes swamp cooler work and mister systems.

    Ever get out of a pool on a 100 degree day and get hit by a breeze? It was cold wasn't it?

    You may want to research your info before you post bad information on the web. It does a dis-service to everyone who rides.


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)