Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wind chill factor for motorcycling

It’s that time again. I’m currently getting reacquainted with cold temperatures and this thing we call “the wind chill factor”. Regular people start thinking about wind chill when the temps drop in to the 30’s and 20’s. For motorcycle riders it doesn’t need to be that cold to experience the wind chill, even 50 degrees can feel very cold on the open road.

Based on a formula provided by the National Weather Service, you can figure out the wind chill for pretty much any speed and temperate as long as it’s above 2MPH or above 5 degrees.

Wind chill temperature = 35.74 + 0.6215T - 35.75V (**0.16) + 0.4275TV(**0.16)

Since I’m not good with math, I just found a wind chill factor table on-line and made my own wind chill factor table only showing the speeds and temps that are applicable to cool weather motorcycle riding.

So basically on a 50 degree day, traveling on a motorcycle at 60MPH, the air feels like it’s 39 degrees. It’s the reason I don’t do much long distance riding when the temps get in to the low 50s and 40’s. I can ride at 39 degrees for a few hours but I can’t ride all day from morning to sunset. Mornings are especially cold and even though I use heated grips and a heated vest, after about 5-6 hours at those temps, my core temperature starts to drop and I just can’t seem to retain any heat once I’m chilled.

So by October my riding style changes drastically. I do more local day rides and I try to leave in the middle of the day and get back before sunset, riding in the warmest part of the day. When it gets really cold (low 40’s to upper 30’s), I just putt around the suburbs for 2-3 hours and call it a day. It’s usually at least 5 degrees warmer in the suburbs than it is in the sticks, where I’d prefer to be riding. Honestly, these types of rides are kind of boring since I like to tour and I like to ride all day, but it’s better than not riding at all.


Rick said...

Thanks for the chart. I would love to borrow it!

Anna said...

Go ahead and borrow away. And stay warm! It was 22 degrees on my way to work today, wind chill of 5 degrees. Winter is here :(


Rick said...

Unfortunately you are right. It was in the low 20's here as well and I rode in to work. Everyone thinks I am nuts!