Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Was How Cold?

An important part of motorcycling is being comfortable. As in dressing for the conditions. Living in Arizona there are only about three months when we even have to think about anything other than "God it's hot!!"

But, on occasion, like last Sunday, when riding into a possible 27 degrees having on the proper attire can make the difference between an enjoyable outing and just surviving. That little thing called Wind Chill Factor gives riders an idea of what they are really in for.

WCF is a complicated formula to tell what the temperature will feel like with the wind blowing on you. The National Weather Service has a chart on their web site that takes the guessing and math out of the equation for speeds up to 60 MPH.

So the next time you take off when it is only 40 degrees and you might not be home before dark, remember it will feel like 25 if you hold it to 60 MPH and will get colder on the return trip.

I will ride to school when we go back with early morning temperatures in the mid 30's giving WCFs of 19 or so. It might be a bit chilly, but I'll be smiling knowing those 100+ degree days aren't very far away. I'm not sure why, but the cold takes more energy from me than the heat does. Cast your vote to which you would rather ride in.


  1. Mr. AHD: Wind Chill Factor is the rate at which an object looses heat since heat travels to cold. Not so much as what it feels like but how fast you get cold.

    You are right though, riding this time of year takes a little more pre-flight planning.

    Your poll needs one more answer. I don’t care I’m riding :)


  2. We used to ride in the cold a lot when we lived outside Boston. Now that we've transplanted, we're well adjusted to the Phoenix heat. We went for a short ride over the weekend, and it was bone-chilling! Can't wait for the warmer weather again!

    Ride safe!

  3. I'd rather ride in the cold - I can always wear MORE clothing. Riding in the summer isn't so bad, though, apart from stoplights. Stoplights are hell any time, though.

  4. Interestingly, I was riding in 33 degrees the other day. I was thinking about a class I taught during the summer when it was over a hundred degrees. That hundred degrees sounded pretty darn good at the time. That's wind chill factor!

  5. I hate riding in the heat. I prefer riding on a day that is 70 to 80.

    I don't envy the extreme heat, any more than I dislike the extreme cold.

    Only advantage to the heat is if you choose to suffer riding in it, at least it's a choice. Here in Minnesota, with the below zero Temps., snow and ice, riding in this would be unsafe, and foolish.