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  1. #1
    Senior Member Cognitive's Avatar
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    Clyde Aerodynamics

    I live in a part of the country (central Indiana) that is often windy with prevailing winds from the west. Thanks to our local land layout, most north-south paths have a small but noticeable incline of some kind (ie Monon Trail) while most east west roads tend to be level.

    Today I was headed west against a 10-15 mph wind and it was horrible. It made flat land tiring and a few nearly unnoticeable inclines look like the Himalayas . The variable nature of the wind also did not help... Or that I'm riding a hybrid with straight edge seating position.

    On the north south segments no issue...even going up a slight incline once you get your pace you're good to go.

    So my question is, is wind resistance on a Clydebody this much? And do things improve if one uses a road bicycle with the drop bars and adopts the bent posture?

    I have seen recumbents with smal fairings... Things that make you go hmmmm

  2. #2
    Senior Member Willbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cognitive View Post
    I live in a part of the country (central Indiana) that is often windy with prevailing winds from the west. Thanks to our local land layout, most north-south paths have a small but noticeable incline of some kind (ie Monon Trail) while most east west roads tend to be level.

    Today I was headed west against a 10-15 mph wind and it was horrible. It made flat land tiring and a few nearly unnoticeable inclines look like the Himalayas . The variable nature of the wind also did not help... Or that I'm riding a hybrid with straight edge seating position.

    On the north south segments no issue...even going up a slight incline once you get your pace you're good to go.

    So my question is, is wind resistance on a Clydebody this much? And do things improve if one uses a road bicycle with the drop bars and adopts the bent posture?

    I have seen recumbents with smal fairings... Things that make you go hmmmm
    I'm over in Ohio right where OH,IN, and MI all come together. I hear you on the wind lately :-).

    I'm sure we are not as aero as we will be once we hit out goal weight :-).

    I'm on a hybrid myself right now, I put a flat bar on so I sit a little lower than bolt upright, not sure if it helped or not.

    Bill

  3. #3
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    My kids say they have trouble pedaling against the wind, so maybe it's just a cycling thing and not only a clyde thing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Wind affects everyone, to a greater or lesser extent. Simple matter of physics. Larger people present more surface area to the wind. So does the upright riding position of a flat bar hybrid. But it affects smaller people riding in an aero position, too. Just not as much.

    It's good training, though. Find a gear combination that allows you to spin a decent cadence, ignore the speed readout on your computer, and embrace the wind.

  5. #5
    Senior Member awfulwaffle's Avatar
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    The wind never stops sucking (or do I mean blowing?). However, it does suck significantly less on a road bike in the drops. This is coming from a clyde.

  6. #6
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    Wind resistance is all about frontal area, or the borderline of the shape that you present to the wind. Overweight people actually often have an advantage over the not so hefty people in a headwind. Depending on just how big you are, besides being morbidly obese, overweight people will generally not have a massively greater frontal area compared to the skinnier folk. And you will also have the advantage that your extra weight will assist you to carry momentum. I hate wind, but I love windy races, because I finally can take the race up to those skinny guys. I had an inner laugh one race where a little guy was sucking my wheel into a 40km/h headwind, getting a nice free ride (I am 6'5" and 120kg) and then he tried to come around me about 1km before the finish, found the headwind and quickly ducked back in for cover. I managed to get away from him and leave him in the wind.... poor little guy haha.

    Sitting up on a hybrid or even flatbar will make things worse in a headwind. Get your head and shoulders down lower. This can be murder on the triceps on your bike, and is why road bikes are better for this purpose. But look at the flip side and consider your sail like effect for the return journey with the wind at your back.

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Larger, stronger riders have an advantage in windy conditions. Your strength increases greater than the amount that your frontal area increases.

    Having said that, wind is soul sucking and takes quite a bit of getting used to. We have (usually) very predictable sea breezes around me, so I can cruise at 20+ easily on the bike path going one way and going the other? 13 mph and 200 watts. No bueno.

    A road bike will help, and getting in the drops will help. I can add about 1 mph just by getting in the drops with no other changes... on average, if it's windy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cognitive's Avatar
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    Yikes. The physics part I can understand, having spent a decade building and flying model airplanes in my youth. But the impact to a rider, at least I feel better knowing it impacts everyone. At some point I'll swap the hybrid's bar with drop bars and see if I can get used to the drops. Thankfully we have lots of road bikes around for observation of proper seating position.

    It's a pity because we have some really nice really long trails that go east / west and are relatively flat (say, 146th street) but on the wrong days the wind is brutal. On the very popular Monon Trail wind is rarely the issue as it's north south and also heavily tree lined.

    (Now if I could find an ANT+ wind speed indicator :-))

  9. #9
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Clyde Aerodynamics = Quite the oxymoron

  10. #10
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    Even when I was thinner, wind really got me down. Those longer stretches of straight roads with constant headwind are the worse.
    The only the thing to do it make sure the headwind is on the first half of your ride.
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  11. #11
    Disco Infiltrator Darth Lefty's Avatar
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    When you normally can make 10-15 mph, and most of your power is spent on aerodynamic drag in the first place, a 10-15 mph head wind is really going to suck. The amount of drag is tiny, but so is your engine. Anything that makes you a sail (baggy clothes, protruding luggage, sitting up) is going to make it noticeably worse. I did a little writeup on aero in the commuting forum a few months ago on the topic.

  12. #12
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    It's all about how much surface area you present to the wind. The solution is obvious:



    See here:
    Drag equation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by delcrossv; 08-14-14 at 08:07 AM.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  13. #13
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    A road or touring bike with drop handlebars and clip on aero-bars is the solution. See: http://www.profile-design.com/profil...s/century.html

    Headwinds are far easier with your hands out-front and your shoulders lowered. Well fitting Lyra cycling kit is a huge help also.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/27...html?referrer=
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-14-14 at 08:38 AM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    A road or touring bike with drop handlebars and clip on aero-bars is the solution. See: Profile Design - Century

    Headwinds are far easier with your hands out-front and your shoulders lowered. Well fitting Lyra cycling kit is a huge help also.
    Agree on the clothing, but it'd be pretty hard for a "large" person to ride in an aero tuck. In any event, the bike above has about a 20% smaller CdA than a TT bike w/ aerobars.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  15. #15
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    sit up, take the wind to your chest and pedal harder yet still fluid circle strokes. After a while you will realize how much stronger you got from doing this simple thing. No hill repeats needed

  16. #16
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    Agree on the clothing, but it'd be pretty hard for a "large" person to ride in an aero tuck. In any event, the bike above has about a 20% smaller CdA than a TT bike w/ aerobars.
    At 225 lbs, I find the aero-bars to be my most comfortable hand position. And I also have the drop bars for good stability while descending at 40+ mph.

    Plus, who wants to look at your legs and not see much of the road ahead?
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  17. #17
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    At 225 lbs, I find the aero-bars to be my most comfortable hand position. And I also have the drop bars for good stability while descending at 40+ mph.

    Plus, who wants to look at your legs and not see much of the road ahead?
    That's good! I'm glad it works for you. I found the TT position to be pretty uncomfortable- mostly neck strain. I see the road just fine (and don't have to bend my neck to do it)
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  18. #18
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    That's good! I'm glad it works for you. I found the TT position to be pretty uncomfortable- mostly neck strain. I see the road just fine (and don't have to bend my neck to do it)
    Then who is that cyclist straining his neck by pushing his chin into his chest just to see ahead?
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-14-14 at 12:44 PM.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Then who is that cycling straining his neck by pushing his chin into his chest just to see ahead?
    I have a headrest.(not visible in the pic)

    Why the hard-on Barrett? It works for me, you like something else. Live and let live. Sheesh.
    Last edited by delcrossv; 08-14-14 at 09:19 AM.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Willbird's Avatar
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    I was out today and Cyclemeter said we had a 6mph North wind, sure felt like more than that, I was right at 25mph going South at 135 on the HRM on a nice smooth road, down to about 10mph going North (again 135 on the HRM). What was neat and interesting is how a barrier like a cornfield TURNS the wind coming across a more open area, it probably was not a "full value" wind from the North....so that corn turned it into what felt more like a East wind for a half mile or so.

  21. #21
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    @jsigone - you're a masochist.

  22. #22
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    Living in Kansas there are more days with wind than without and I found out real fast that I am not aerodynamic even on a road bike with drop handlebars that wind is not fun. I just go into a lower gear and keep the wheels spinnin forward todays wind is out of the south which is the direction I am traveling so I hope it keeps up to atleast benefit me on my return trip but the wind likes flipping on me. I feel that 7/10 of my bike trips are into a head wind of some degree...

  23. #23
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    A very nice post.
    I have been riding for a few months, Last night I finally got down in the drops.
    It was very windy and I actually clocked my fastest time so far. I was faster by 1/2 mph over 35 miles even with more hills.
    Under normal wind conditions I would have picked up in my guess, at least 1 1/2 mph.

    If you have wind, you are getting a better workout, so I really don't mind too much anyway.
    Next year I want to ride further and faster, so I want to be in the drops.

  24. #24
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    This is one reason I think I'd enjoy a power meter. It would let me know I'm putting in the effort and it's just the head wind slowing me down. HR should do the same thing but I think a power meter would be more fun.

  25. #25
    Senior Member pavemen's Avatar
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    Just ride into the wind on the way out and enjoy the tail wind assistance on the way back in.

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