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Riding over the Westgate Bridge when windy

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Brij, May 2, 2007.

  1. Has anyone got any tips on knowing when it's probably not a good idea to take the Westgate Bridge?
    As an L plater I've only recently started using it. I left from the city tonight westbound and it didn't seem too windy. I got to the bridge and saw that it was 60km and thought there was roadwork. WRONG! It was high winds and I couldn't see the wind sacks from further back. I was in the far left lane with a north wind and on my little 250 got blown across into the emergency lane and just managed to pull back in time not to make acquaintance with the railing. I'd rather not do that again!
    Any telltale signs that people usually use would be greatly appreciated!
    I've heard that on a bigger/heavier bike you wouldn't notice it as much also, does it make that much difference?

  2. It is less noticeable on a larger heavier bike.

    Lesson #1 tonight, don't ride in the far left lane. It's 500 meters to the water below ;)
  3. Next time you go over it when it's windy, grip the tank with your knees and relax your grip on the bars. It can make a huge difference.
  4. I noticed it last week. Scared the bejebus out of me!

    I just gripped with my knees, relaxed my handgrip and hunkered down low over the bike. BarChrist I hate riding a sub100kilo bike sometimes.
  5. Ride next to a larger car. Use them as ya windbreak.
  6. forget about the scenery! pay attention to what you are doing!
  7. I ride across it most days and find its best not to fight the wind but go with it. It will blow you around a bit but just keep concentrating and you'll get used to it.
  8. Actually, it's "only" 72 metres to the water below, at the peak of the bridge. :LOL:

    I don't find it that bad as you tend to be "eased into" having to lean into the wind as you get higher above sea level and exposed to faster winds.

    Be super-careful about being in the "wind shadow" of a large truck, though.

    I once climbed up the bridge on the 'protected' side of a large semitrailer and overtook the truck at the peak of the bridge, not knowing there was a 50kph crosswind. Bike goes from upright to a 20 degree lean into the wind. My underpants go from white to a squishy shade of brown. :eek:
  9. I started riding in November and found myself asking very similar questions back in December when I started riding over it daily.

    I recommend riding over it as often as you can... get as much practise in the wind as you can. Initially I found it terrifying when it was even just a bit windy, but I just tried to keep in the left lane with as much space around me as possible, grip the tank with my knees, and slow down or speed up depending on what felt right. Within weeks I was barely noticing the wind - I recently rode over it in low wind and didn't notice a thing, however the person I was with, it was their first time over and they found it VERY windy... so I guess this is what I mean about just practise a lot and you'll learn how to deal with it.

    As for it ever being too windy, well I haven't come across that yet. I have ridden over it on days where the speed has been dropped due to the wind, and ok, it takes a bit of work, but it's certainly doable. Personally, I prefer to ride a bit faster when it's windy, so dropping down to 50 or 60 isn't fun... just try to keep space around you, and don't forget that if you have a big truck next to you, that if they get past you there'll be a gust... just be prepared for it!

    Like you, I did get blown into the emergency lane one or twice... put this down to experience - you'll get used to riding in the wind and compensating accordingly, so this will happen less and less. I know it's not fun...

    There's no real tell-tale signs... you often can't see the wind socks until it's too late anyway. Once I'm up there, if I think it's VERY windy, I just try to stay on the left. Some riders advised that I stay in one of the center lanes and try to position myself between vehicles, but I found personally that this isn't that great... vehicles are all moving at their own pace anyway.... at least on the left you have that bit of extra space, and only one lane of moving traffic next to you to deal with.
  10. Hey Brij - As a fellow Westgate Commuter, I have found that sometimes the easiest way to get blown around less on the Westgateis to stick as close to the centre of the bridge as possible...keep to the right hand lane as much as possible - then all the other vehicles travelling in the other direction - and in the slower lanes act as a bit of a block for you...

    I know that its not always practical especially when taking first exit after the bridge - but once hit the peak of the bridge, its always possible to manouvere slowly over to the left hand lane to exit...

    It sucks being blown around - and you will get used to it wwith practice - but yeah, sometimes when the wind is strong - its just not that much fun...
  11. Other than being a really windy day, there's no other way to tell. :)

    However, dealing with wind is fairly simple. If it's blowing you all over the place, slow down and it will be easier. :)

    It will help if you grip with your knees and keep your arms loose (as you should always do) and relax. If you get tense then you'll find it harder to correct when you get blown over. :)
  12. Actaully I always found slowing down was worse than maintaining my speed. The key is to relax, and don't try to fight the wind. If it is really freaking you out, lean right over your tank, and you will get less resistance.
    As for the bigger bike not being affected, my TLR was like a berloody sail in the wind over the westgate..but meh..I just got used to riding it on that angle!!
    My 2c
  13. Hey Brij... a person of your stature is going to get blown around in a 3 knott breeze :p :wink:

    +1 on what everyone else has said, grip with knee's and relax the upper body and grip on the bars.
  14. I like when you are about to write a question, and its already been well covered.
  15. Thanks for all the tips guys. I"ll make sure to put them to practise. :)
  16. I would add a note on lane positioning - you'll know before you get onto the bridge what direction the wind is coming from. Move to the side of the lane that gives you the most leeway if you do get a gust that shifts your positioning.

    Also be aware that you can get a sharp shock when a large vehicle either moves into the path of the wind, or out of it, especially if you're compensating with a slight lean.
  17. Hey Voyager - Would anything budge your bike???? :) :p
  18. I use the Westgate pretty often Brij. I still remember my first time as a learner and it was a very windy day. Felt like I was getting blown all over the place, was quite scary :shock: . You soon get used to it though and most of the time now I don't even notice unless it's really blustery. As others have said though, watch out for the trucks. When the wind hits you as you pass one close by it can get a bit hairy if you're not ready for it.