Cycling in the wind can be a demoralizing experience. When the blustery conditions strike, it can feel like you are riding up a very steep hill, using maximum effort but achieving very minimal speed. In addition to zapping your energy, wind can make you colder.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the effects of riding in the wind. Ideal for both experts and cyclists who have just purchased their first mountain bike, the tips outlined in this guide should make wind cycling much easier for you.
Pro Tips for Cycling in the Wind
1. Use Your Handlebar Drops
A lower position on your road bike will leave you less exposed to the wind. Place your hands in the drops on your road bike handlebars to improve the aerodynamics and to keep the chest out of the wind. This will make pedaling easier and also improve your stability should a strong gust of wind sneak up on you.
2. Get Comfortable with Going Slower
To maintain a cycling speed of 20 miles per hour (mph) in a headwind of approximately 10 mph, you will need to produce twice the amount of power you would need in calm conditions. This can tire you out too quickly. Avoid being frustrated with your lack of speed when wind cycling. Instead, gear down and take it easy.
Cycling into a headwind is very similar to cycling up a hill. Going hard to maintain a high speed will only wear you out. Gearing down and taking the ride easy will make your ride more enjoyable. You can even use this opportunity to practice spinning your pedals at a higher cadence.
3. Wear the Right Clothing
When cycling in the wind, your biking wear can make or break your riding experience. If you put on loose-fitting clothes, they will act like a parachute when you are riding your commuter bike in the wind. Clothes that fit your body snug will create minimal drag.
Choose a jacket that keeps you warm and hugs your upper body tight. Keep the jacket’s zipper pulled up to your neck. Instead of wearing MTB pants that go flagging around in the wind, choose something that hugs your legs tight.
4. Ride in a Group
In calm conditions, riding behind another cyclist helps you save approximately 30% in energy expenditure. When wind cycling, the benefits of riding in a group can be greater.
When riding with a partner, consider switching positions every 30 – 60 seconds, taking turns to be at the front. When you are on the back, try to stay close to the rear bike wheel of the rider in front. This will allow you to recover physically and give you a mental break from the taxing conditions.
5. Choose Your Path Carefully
An easy remedy to the difficulties generally presented by cycling in the wind, choosing a bikepacking trail that offers shelter from the wind is a good idea. Rows of trees, for example, can shelter you from crosswinds.
A path that takes you through a valley flanked by hills can also help with blow reduction. If you live in a neighborhood with houses on both sides and narrow streets, this can work for you too.
6. Be Mindful About Your Traction
If you are exposed to hard gusts of wind, your traction may change depending on the direction you are traveling, relative to the wind’s direction. For example, if you have a nasty crosswind moving towards your right side, and you make a right turn, the wind can easily blow the bike wheels out from under you. The best way to increase your safety in such a scenario is to slow down.
On the other hand, if you have a crosswind moving towards your left-hand side and you make the right turn, this will increase your traction. This means that you can speed up without risking falling.
7. Do Not Use Aero Wheels
While ditching aero wheels might seem counter-intuitive, it is one of the best ideas when wind cycling. Deep-section rims – these are very common on aero wheels – are very susceptible to strong gusts and crosswinds. This means that they could slow you down or increase your chances of falling.
8. Take Advantage of the Weather Forecast
The weather forecast will help you figure out when heavy gusts of wind are expected. This gives you the option to delay the ride, drink another cup of coffee, and then go biking later in the day.
If you cannot wait to ride when the wind is gone, you can ride out into the headwind – this is ideal since your body is fresh and not tired. You will get a better chance of enjoying a tailwind on your way back home when your legs are tired.
9. Watch Out for Objects
It is not uncommon for flying objects to get blown onto the road. For example, strong crosswinds can propel giant tumbleweeds in front of you. These can jam your bike’s wheel and cause a crash.
Much smaller things – like sand and dirt – can get blown into your eyes. Protect yourself by wearing glasses on windy rides.
10. Use the Wind
Riding into strong headwinds can offer some advantages. As noted earlier, wind cycling can be equated to cycling up a hill without a hill. It demands increased effort and can add variety to your mountain bike workouts.
Q: How Do You Cycle Against the Wind?
When cycling against the wind, you will need to get in an aerodynamic position. Put your hands on the handlebar drops and then position your body in such a way the chest doesn’t block the oncoming wind. Also, wear tight-fitting clothes, to reduce drag when riding into the wind.
Q: How Does Wind Affect Cycling Speed?
The headwind slows the cycling speed by approximately half the wind speed. For example, if you can ride at 17 miles per hour (mph) on a flat biking path in calm conditions, your speed into a headwind of 20 mph will reduce to about 7 mph.
Q: Why Is It Difficult to Ride A Bicycle Against the Wind?
Wind blowing from the opposite direction – that is, headwind – acts as a resistant force. The friction force generated by the wind hinders the movement of your bike. To overcome this resistant force, you may need to use twice the energy you use in calm conditions.
Q: How Windy Is Too Windy for Biking?
Winds in the excess of 40 to 50 miles per hour (mph) are gales. These can make biking unsafe for most riders. Beginning riders – especially those who have no experience biking in the wind – may, however, find winds exceeding 30 mph uncomfortable.
Q: What Wind Speed Feels Windy?
Winds moving at a speed of 20 mph are enough to make the trees sway. When riding a bike, it will be hard to notice winds whose speed is in the excess of 20 miles per hour (mph).
Globo Surf Overview
Cyclists have no control over mother nature – this means that you may need to cycle in the wind some times. Cycling in the wind can slow you down to a crawl and make your ride extremely tough. However, there are tips that you can use to punch back – in this guide, we have outlined ten of these tips.