How I am overcoming fear of wind.
by Chandra S
(Coastal North Carolina)
First of all, I just want to thank everyone for all the great advice posted here. I read it all back when I was still terrified to even pick my feet up (wow, was that just three months ago?) and I just went back through it again - great stuff, here.
One thing I didn't see anyone mention is dealing with wind. Maybe I'm the only one who was scared half to death the first time I came out from a sheltered area into an opening and felt a big cross gust, or even found the headwind from going over 35 mph to be more than I expected. (I don't have a windshield yet, it's on the list!) But in case it isn't just me, here's the advice that I found in a few places on the internet, tried, and benefited from.
Relax your arms, and hold on tighter with your legs.
Instinct (at least mine) is to stiffen my arms and grip tighter on the handlebars when something scares me. If I do that, every little gust that moves my upper body at all translates straight to my forks and makes me weavy and unstable.
But holding on loosely (apologies to .38 Special) is counterintuitive and makes me feel like I don't have total control over the machine. Even though I do. It's a psychological problem, not a real one. I have plenty of control with my arms slightly relaxed and my grip firm but not deadly. So the psychological solution was to press down harder on my footpegs and squeeze the tank tighter with my knees. It makes all the difference in the world. I rode about 65 miles this morning, most of it on our local highway/wind tunnels, at 55-60 mph - and even when big trucks passed me I wasn't scared. Okay, sometimes I was nervous ... but not SCARED.