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inanna
03-07-2007, 12:34 AM
Never ridden a motorcycle in my life, although it's on my To Do list. Can anyone describe what the wind in your ears sounds like? I've stuck my head out a car window before - does that come close?

I would imagine it's pretty loud - would "roar" cover it? Is "thunder" off-base or too melodramatic (or both)?

Any other details would be much appreciated. Thanks :)

Rolling Thunder
03-07-2007, 12:38 AM
No rushing sound that I've ever noticed. The difference in a car or truck is that air is pushed around it as it moves, causing the difference in pressure you hear.

TheIT
03-07-2007, 12:55 AM
Also, if you have long hair it'll take three hours to comb out the tangles.

inanna
03-07-2007, 01:18 AM
All this is good to know. And not what I expected (except the hair thing - that makes sense :) ).

Wow, I didn't realize the wind wouldn't rush in your ears. So it's an aerodynamic thing? I should probably ask this then: would riding behind someone as a passenger on a bike make a difference? Would that change the aerodynamics at all?

TheIT
03-07-2007, 01:30 AM
I've ridden as a passenger on a motorcycle. You get a lot of wind in your face, and it's possible to use the driver as a windbreak by putting your head down behind the driver's back. I vaguely remembering my eyes tearing up from the wind if I wasn't wearing sunglasses, but I can't really remember the sound. I do recall the wind was loud enough to prevent talking to the driver while we were moving, and that the sound changed based on whether I had my head facing forward or to the side.

FYI - riding without a helmet is extremely dangerous, as is riding with bare legs or short sleeves. Motorcycle jackets are leather for a reason. If you fall, you'll scrape across concrete or worse, so protective clothing gives you a better chance of surviving relatively intact.

Siddow
03-07-2007, 01:46 AM
I've only ridden behind someone on a motorcycle, and the only difference in wind is if you huddle against his back. Riding without a helmet is a very spiritual experience for me (but I'm weird like that), and I noticed the surroundings and the feeling of connection more than any old wind. If your character is not enjoying the experience, then they might be afraid of being hit in the face by debris (like bugs, or a falling leaf coming at you at 60mph--being hit by anything at that speed stings a bit), or they might be conscious of opening their mouth (bugs, again), or they might be scared by the slightest tilt of the cycle, sure that they're about to get road rash on their entire right side, and wishing they had worn more appropriate gear.

If they are enjoying it, then they'll be experiencing a freedom that I can only explain as 'close to God'. The only thing that can save long hair is a tight braid, tucked into the shirt (and bra, for a chick, as an added anchor), but they'll still have to seriously condition and comb the fine hairs around the neck.

If you've ever traveled at a good speed in a boat, the feeling is pretty similar. You'll get more air in the ears while turned to the side, but facing forward, it's not really noticeable.

Cav Guy
03-07-2007, 02:30 AM
Depends on the type of motorcycle. You get more wind blast on a cruiser without a windscreen than you do on a sport bike. Fair number of variables there. I rode for 10+ years and loved every minute of it.

inanna
03-07-2007, 02:51 AM
This is all very helpful, thanks guys. I'm starting to realize my charater's long hair may be the biggest problem I've got. I'll have to work that in a little better.

The good news is, I'm going to have her keep her head down and buried between the driver's shoulder blades, instead of having her eventually look up and observe everything. Which means I get to delete a whole paragraph of what is mostly description. That never hurts :)

WildScribe
03-07-2007, 02:56 AM
Sunglasses and heavy jackets, even on warm days. That's what I think of when I think of motorcycles. And the time I rode home late at night with my dad. I was FROZEN, but scared to let myself shiver for fear it would throw his balance and kill us. It wouldn't have, of course, but I was still freaked.

Turns are scary but fun. You have to lean WITH the driver, not counter-lean, which is the instinct. And even with a tight braid, it took me hours to comb my hair out every time. I need to go now that I've cut it! ;)

MidnightMuse
03-07-2007, 03:03 AM
Don't forget the bugs.


Yum.

Vanatru
03-07-2007, 08:16 AM
Bugs. Mmmmmmmmmm.........nothing like the little sting as they impact on your flesh at 50 mph. Or get in your mustache............or eye. Joy that.

As for the wind.......it's not bad.........much lighter than riding in an open window truck or convertible car.

However, I'm a bad source for this one. I've layed three down and have had three concusions........

I think Siddow had it closer than I can explain. It's almost relaxing and peaceful. Try sitting in front of a fan and listen. For what that's worth. :)

benbradley
03-07-2007, 08:29 AM
Don't know much about motorcycles or whether this will be pertinent to your story, but it's illegal to ride without a helmet in Georgia, but not in Alabama. So be sure to look up the law where you ride your fictional riders are riding.

WriterInChains
03-07-2007, 08:50 AM
One of the best feelings in the world is to ride without a helmet. I don't care how dangerous it seems, it's more than worth it. For the first 4 years of my marriage, we didn't even own a car -- had to get one when I got pregnant, though.

The sound depends on what kind of bike you're on, and how fast you're going. On an old chain-drive Harley, you get noise; on a racy little Triumph it's different; on a VERY old Honda 750, it's like riding in a VW without a body on it. :) I'm only pointing that out, because if the bike's loud enough (& loud pipes DO save lives :)) you won't notice much wind-noise, but on the '69 Triumph I noticed the wind a lot more. I wouldn't really say "thunder" or "roar" about the wind -- think more along the lines of a communing with nature or another spiritual experience. Unless your character doesn't like it -- then anything along the lines of "terror" will work, or so I've heard. It's totally different on the front -- there's a reason a lot of bikers have big forearms, unless you ride like an old lady you're holding yourself on against the wind the whole time. Can't duck behind someone for a break. :) I'm tall, so I had to duck to get a break, even after we switched my seat to a p-pad.

Combing your hair out after a long ride isn't as difficult as it sounds, if you have straight hair. Sometimes I wouldn't even braid mine -- just wear a bandana-headband and sunglasses. The only problem, is that over ~50mph, the ends'll whip the hell out of your face if you don't have a windshield (sometimes we rode with, sometimes without) or if you have a strong wind blowing across the road you're on. You absolutely, positively, 100% of the time need something covering your eyes. For bugs, but also rocks, and you would NOT believe some of the $hit dumbasses throw out of car windows. If you're squeamish it can be gross to wash the bugs off your face & neck when you stop.

If you have any more specific questions, let 'er rip. I love reminiscing about this stuff!

inanna
03-07-2007, 09:42 PM
Wow. Dude, I'm going to have to ride a motorcycle. It's just moved several notches up my To Do list. You guys make it sound amazing, although I'm not certain how to portray a communing with nature experience in this case. But it would be awesome to experience first-hand.

Okay...bugs, hair whipping, loud tailpipe (the bike in the scene is a 92 Sportster, but I'll have to double-check that tailpipe noise again - I did this research a looong time ago). Spiritual One-ness with the road and the need for eye protection. Off to ponder. Boy, being realistic is hard.

Thanks for all your help everyone :)

Tsu Dho Nimh
03-07-2007, 09:46 PM
With long hair, and no helmet, the best move is to tuck the hair into your shirt, or braid it.

But it still tangles.

And hitting a bug (or being hit by a bug) HURTS!

Edita A Petrick
03-07-2007, 10:18 PM
If anything, your ears get blocked a little. Wind is all <face> and much of what you want depends on how fast the bike's going. Son has this thirty-thousand dollar monstrosity. When he gives mother ride around the subdivision, it's actually a pleasant non-event. Bit of wind, bit of noise, bits of grit, grass and god knows what else there's in the air around here...but when he revvs it up and roars off...well, I swear each time I will not let that machine back in the garage.

One thing though, every time I went for a "testing" spin around the subdivision without a helmet, when I dismounted, I found my mouth filled with grainy, gritty and sandy stuff. Never kept my mouth open but there it was. Hope it helps. Edita.

veinglory
03-08-2007, 01:58 AM
Long hair is a problem, on a long ride it basically turns into one huge dreadlock, have her put it into a braid that is what I did and it solved the problem.

side note, unless it was a historical a rider without a helmet would be an automatic non-buy from me. That exact studity has cost me one friend and left another perminantly changed through head injury. Expect letters of complaint from trauma nurses who call these things donor-cycles even with helmets.

WriterInChains
03-08-2007, 08:21 AM
Wow. Dude, I'm going to have to ride a motorcycle. It's just moved several notches up my To Do list. You guys make it sound amazing, although I'm not certain how to portray a communing with nature experience in this case. But it would be awesome to experience first-hand.

Okay...bugs, hair whipping, loud tailpipe (the bike in the scene is a 92 Sportster, but I'll have to double-check that tailpipe noise again - I did this research a looong time ago). Spiritual One-ness with the road and the need for eye protection. Off to ponder. Boy, being realistic is hard.

Thanks for all your help everyone :)

Hehe, now you've got me thinking about helmet-shopping (since that's the law in OR :().

About describing the feeling -- if you don't know anyone who'll give you a ride -- think about riding a horse and use words like that. It'll get you closer than anything else short of experiencing it yourself. I'd definitely recommend heading down to your local shop -- not one of those sterile places run by a licensed dealer, a privately-owned shop -- and talk to someone there about maybe getting a spin around the block or something. Even though I could talk about it for hours, I couldn't tell you as much as ten minutes riding would tell you. But, I don't take my own advice because I haven't been to the gun club yet despite my best intentions, so feel free to ignore this "bad" idea! :)

Oh, & you have all the license you want w/the Sporty -- the pipes could be as loud or as quiet as you need them to be depending on whether they're stock or something else.

benbradley
03-08-2007, 09:52 AM
Hehe, now you've got me thinking about helmet-shopping (since that's the law in OR ).
I just heard an NPR story on helmet laws, many states have repealed them. The gist of the story was that deaths and severe injuries from motorcycle accidents have gone up substantially, presumably because of the drop in helmet laws.

"More States Dropping Motorcyle Helmet Laws"
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7761667
All Things Considered, March 7, 2007 · Nearly every state once required motorcycle riders to wear helmets. But today, fewer than half do — and many are considering weakening their laws. Advocates for riding without a helmet have successfully lobbied for legislative change. Safety advocates say that's one reason deaths from motorcycle crashes have more than doubled in the past decade.

About describing the feeling -- if you don't know anyone who'll give you a ride -- think about riding a horse and use words like that. It'll get you closer than anything else short of experiencing it yourself. I'd definitely recommend heading down to your local shop -- not one of those sterile places run by a licensed dealer, a privately-owned shop -- and talk to someone there about maybe getting a spin around the block or something. Even though I could talk about it for hours, I couldn't tell you as much as ten minutes riding would tell you.
I've been 47mph in a 45 zone on a bicycle (it was a long, rather steep downhill). Yes, I was wearing a helmet. I don't know how fast a horse can go, but going a good clip on a bicycle might give you a better feel than on a horse, though a bicycle is so quiet you won't get the feel for how loud the wind noise is in comparison to the motorcycle noise. I'd also suggest getting considerable bicycle riding experience before going on long, steep downhills. Even a professional got killed doing that in Tour de France in 1995.

I have an opinion on helmet laws, but it would surely be more appropriate for a thread in Office Party or even TIO.

spike
03-08-2007, 04:59 PM
I've never ridden without a helmet, but when I was an EMT, I was at a couple of accidents where the biker didn't have a helmet on.

We would refer to them as "Hamburger Helper".

We called motorcycles "Donor-cycles"

WriterInChains
03-08-2007, 07:58 PM
Ben -- When I compared it to riding a horse, I was talking more about the emotional & spiritual than the physical. Although the physical can also be very similar. I respect your right to believe I should be forced to wear a helmet, no matter how strongly I disagree with the law. They don't always help & often hurt, especially an inexperienced rider.

The increase in injuries could have something to do with the increased popularity & mainstreaming of riding in the past 10 years or so. Twenty years ago, Rubbies & their factory customs didn't exist; fewer bikes on the road = fewer accidents. Don't get me started on OCC.

ideagirl
03-08-2007, 10:00 PM
I've never ridden without a helmet, but when I was an EMT, I was at a couple of accidents where the biker didn't have a helmet on.
We would refer to them as "Hamburger Helper". We called motorcycles "Donor-cycles"

Makes sense to me. My fiance's cousin's life was saved by his motorcycle helmet. He got closed-head injuries and was in rehab for 4-5 months, but now he's fine (except that he's turned into a Republican--HAHAHA, excuse me, but this is the second relative of my fiance's who became a Republican after suffering serious head injuries). But without the helmet, he would've died. The EMTs and doctors said so. The kid was only 19 years old, way too goddamn young to die. Now he's a college grad with a good job, doing great, all because he was wearing the helmet.

WriterInChains
03-09-2007, 02:45 AM
I wonder how, & why, this thread went from a request for info to a free-for-all against the original topic. Who cares if you think it's right or wrong to go lid-less -- the OP asked for info about what it feels like to ride without a helmet. I'd never tell anyone they couldn't wear one, or that their characters should or shouldn't. Hell, one of my closest riding buddies always wore one -- probably still does -- & nobody ever gave him a hard time about it. Adults can make up their own minds.

Threads that degenerate into this just boggle my mind.

benbradley
03-09-2007, 03:09 AM
Ben -- When I compared it to riding a horse, I was talking more about the emotional & spiritual than the physical. Although the physical can also be very similar. I respect your right to believe I should be forced to wear a helmet, no matter how strongly I disagree with the law.

As I respect your right to jump to conclusions about what I believe. I have yet to state what I believe my opinions about helmet laws.

Billytwice
03-09-2007, 03:57 AM
I think it was 1974 or '75 I had a lift home from college on the last day it was legal not to wear a crash helmet in the UK.
I was riding pillion on the back of a Triumph Thunderbolt. The hair thing is quite true, it does get itself knotted up after a blast on the highway. I can vouch for the bugs stinging your face as well.
On that ride I don't recall wind noise much but the exhaust note was awsome. As was the acceleration. The physical effort of remaining attached to the vehicle under harsh acceleration left me with aching leg muscles (top inside thighs) from trying to clench onto the saddle.
Quite a few years later I got into biking. I was always amazed at the acceleration of a motorcycle, the adrenalin buzz has got to be experienced to be believed.
Another strange thing I never quite understood was that at high speed you had to turn the handlebars right to go left, or at least start to turn left and vice-versa. Something to do with centrifugal force affecting the wheels I believe.
One final observation: It hurts like hell when someone in a car knocks you off a motorcycle. My wife has banned me from ever owning one again.

WriterInChains
03-09-2007, 04:29 AM
As I respect your right to jump to conclusions about what I believe. I have yet to state what I believe my opinions about helmet laws.

Touché!
:roll:

Jean Marie
03-09-2007, 04:42 AM
Also, if you have long hair it'll take three hours to comb out the tangles.
More like 3 days :) And it feels, oh so icky.

Insects hitting your face feels like tiny stings/pellets. Almost like being in an ice-storm. Bing-bing!! But, it doesn't last long.

The wind rushes by you, not in your ears.

ideagirl
03-09-2007, 07:20 PM
I wonder how, & why, this thread went from a request for info to a free-for-all against the original topic. Who cares if you think it's right or wrong to go lid-less -- the OP asked for info about what it feels like to ride without a helmet.

Well, now the original poster knows how these conversations go, and what kind of flak his characters will likely encounter for their decision to not wear helmets, and what kind of support they'll get from other riders who don't wear helmets. In other words, the original poster got an initiation into this previously unfamiliar subculture. So the thread didn't "degenerate," it just got deeper into the subject.

WriterInChains
03-09-2007, 08:00 PM
Fair enough, ideagirl! I hadn't thought of it that way, & this is far from the first time I've wondered about the way some threads evolve. Thanks for the new perspective! :Hug2:

spike
03-09-2007, 10:26 PM
I wonder how, & why, this thread went from a request for info to a free-for-all against the original topic. Who cares if you think it's right or wrong to go lid-less -- the OP asked for info about what it feels like to ride without a helmet. I'd never tell anyone they couldn't wear one, or that their characters should or shouldn't. Hell, one of my closest riding buddies always wore one -- probably still does -- & nobody ever gave him a hard time about it. Adults can make up their own minds.

Threads that degenerate into this just boggle my mind.

I don't think it went into a free for all. The OP should know how people feel. Personally, I don't care. We need more organ donors. I think that is why the states are changing their laws.

Also, the worst bike accident I worked involved a rider with a helmet. We found the helmet about 20 yards from the biker. His head was still inside.