Anyone here give up riding, or consider it after experiencing or hearing about things like that? I know I will still ride, but my own accident has me more focused on having high quality gear on, and I'm only interested in riding motorcycles with the latest in safety tech, e.g. modern suspension, brakes, and tires now. I don't think I would do a cafe build unless it was a modern one.
I've been involved in a few exciting moments. While I the latest mechanical advancements are good, I would prefer to be a more alert and skilled rider and focus a lot on that. Having things like ABS or traction control can certainly help as well as good brakes, tires etc, but it's always important to put as much stock into having good observational awareness (and riding technique to match). For gear, I buy the best I can afford at the time and keep a look out for sales. This year I started riding with one of those Motoport kevlar suits and it is the most comfortable piece of gear I have. Very expensive, but very tough, durable, breathable and machine washable. There were many times before when I would not ride with proper gear, but those days are no longer.
How did you deal with the wind? Lobo
Having a bike with smaller fairings (or naked) often helps by not allowing the bike to act like a sail in the wind. A lighter bike will also typically feel like it is getting pushed around in the wind proportionally easier. A windshield helps a huge amount with the amount of wind resistance that your body and head/neck have to deal with.
When riding in heavier winds, one important thing to do is to not tense up your arms and lock your elbows. The bike will want to move around and the more relaxed your body position is, the more you will be able to freely react to the movements of the bike. Further to that, relaxed arms (and legs) also act as shock absorbers for when the bike goes over bumps. So keeping the elbows relaxed, the wrists neutral and the balls of your feet on the pegs will help to mitigate any unexpected bumps that should pop up. A common mistake is to ride with incorrect body position when riding under adverse circumstances (ie wind), opening the way for other problems to be more serious.
Wearing fitted gear will also help. My first season riding, I rode with a big, heavy leather jacket and the wind used to throw me around quite a bit because it was not as tight fitting as it should have been for the purpose of riding. Riding on the highway took some serious effort. I have a bunch of different jackets now, but all are moto specific, and they fit well when riding at speed.
All that said, I have been out on straight roads while it has been very windy, and it felt like the bike was at a 45deg angle just to ride in a straight line. It can be tough and it feels like fighting to stay upright. I can't imagine what it must be like across the prairies or mid-west with the wind speeds they get out there. Sometimes it's time to recognize the risks and park it.
Went for a 30 min ride each way yesterday. Temps were about 0-1ish with little chance of any ice on the roads after the thaw and salting. Highway was brisk! Definitely need to get some wind guards on my bars. Will look a bit funny on the ninja 500 but it's an ugly assed bike to start.
Check out heated gear if you have not already - it's awesome! I have a pair of hippo hands I need to try and rig up to my bike - probably just as ugly as wind guards on your bike, but whatever works!