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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-03-09, 10:31 AM   #1
VolksDragon
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This just in...headwinds suck.

So it's been COLD in CO for the past few weeks. I will usually ride to work if it's 35 or warmer, but I haven't in a couple months due to snow, ice, et al. Well this week it has been almost 50 degrees in the mornings, so I have been all jazzed up to bike to work for the week.

I had my bike set up, had all my gear ready, had some clothes at the office, etc...I was good to go. Riiiight up until I hit the end of my block this morning and was introduced to a 25mph headwind. Well isn't that nice...

I probably burned twice the calories and pushed twice as hard this morning just to maintain 15mph...what a workout. My commuting bike has flat bars with no drops, so I become a 6'4" windsock. My 6 mile route is usually a quick run with the hammer down the whole way, but it kicked my ass this morning. I really need to get back into riding shape...

Anybody else get beaten up this morning?
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Old 03-03-09, 10:35 AM   #2
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Not this morning, but last Friday, I got SLAMMED with a stiff headwind the entire way (I go west about 2 miles, north for 7-8 miles, and the wind was out of the NNW) Fat, ex-smoker me wanted to die by about mile 5. However, when I left school that afternoon, it was a wind straight out of the north...can you say cruising with a hybrid and North Roads bars at 22 mph? hee hee...
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Old 03-03-09, 10:36 AM   #3
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I just try to remember it's better exercise that way.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:41 AM   #4
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I thought headwinds blew.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:46 AM   #5
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I thought headwinds blew.
Hahahaha....indeed they do!!

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I just try to remember it's better exercise that way.
Yeah, I kept telling myself that as I was plodding along...it was an excellent workout for sure. I hope the wind is still from the west on the way home, I'm going to sail...
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Old 03-03-09, 10:49 AM   #6
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I have to ride home in 20+ winds quite often. It can wear you down mentally if you let it but I just gear down and spin. Fortunately my commute is short (5 miles) so the struggle doesn't last forever.

The only time the wind is sure to lay down is when a major wind surfing competiton is scheduled!
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Old 03-03-09, 10:49 AM   #7
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Whether it is 20 or 110 I prefer headwinds to tailwinds. Everyone I ride with thinks I'm a loon but I overheat very easily in a tailwind because there is no air movement but in a headwind I keep nice a cool.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:49 AM   #8
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Here in FL there are no hills, but the winds compensate for that in a big way. You only get about 2 days a month of mild winds and only when it's raining. Yes, they blow and suck at the same time...I'd rather have hills.

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Old 03-03-09, 10:58 AM   #9
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Last night it as 8*F going home with a 15-20 MPH head wind, according to my cyclocomputer I burned 250 more calories then I normally do on that route. And my legs felt every part of it.
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Old 03-03-09, 10:59 AM   #10
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Whether it is 20 or 110 I prefer headwinds to tailwinds. Everyone I ride with thinks I'm a loon but I overheat very easily in a tailwind because there is no air movement but in a headwind I keep nice a cool.
Yup. You're crazy.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:00 AM   #11
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I much prefer hills....at least with hills, I know that at some point I get to back down. I may have to investigate some drops, but luckily it's not windy around here very often.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:01 AM   #12
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Whether it is 20 or 110 I prefer headwinds to tailwinds. Everyone I ride with thinks I'm a loon but I overheat very easily in a tailwind because there is no air movement but in a headwind I keep nice a cool.
Loon....you must have bumped your head when you were learning to ride. Headwinds are the devil.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:02 AM   #13
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I know exactly what you mean. In NE PA we have been getting ultra cold and really quick wind gusts at like 20+ mph. My eyes instantly freeze in place and I start tearing up.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:10 AM   #14
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Whether it is 20 or 110 I prefer headwinds to tailwinds. Everyone I ride with thinks I'm a loon but I overheat very easily in a tailwind because there is no air movement but in a headwind I keep nice a cool.
I can see that to some point in the moderate temps of 20+ degrees. But this winter I've ridden into some headwinds at -15*F, and I got the frostbite on my cheeks to prove it. I ordered a neoprene mask that evening.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:17 AM   #15
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i love headwinds do them in the highest gear!!!
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Old 03-03-09, 11:29 AM   #16
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if i don't feel the wind then i don't mind. its a struggle, but a fun one because you can overcome it.

what i don't like are cross winds on my commuter, sure i got drops, but a basket in the back with a bag, my huge body, and semi-aero wheels with bladed spokes. its a bit scary to correct and over correct steering. atleast thats what i had today in rain.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:37 AM   #17
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Whether it is 20 or 110 I prefer headwinds to tailwinds. Everyone I ride with thinks I'm a loon but I overheat very easily in a tailwind because there is no air movement but in a headwind I keep nice a cool.
I noticed this yesterday when I rode out on the trail with a tailwind, then rode back in with a headwind. I sweated a lot more going out but as soon as I turned into the wind I stayed dry and more comfortable. I'll still take a tailwind, though. I'd rather be fast and clammy than slow and dry.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:42 AM   #18
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This past weekend, I went on a ride where I had headwinds for about 80% of the ride. I'm still trying to figure out how that works. There are mountains involved. I need to remember to do that ride the other way around.

I rode 55 miles the previous weekend. Fairly high winds, so I planned it so I went out into the headwinds, and came back with the tailwinds. That part worked out ok, but the winds were so strong it took me 3 hours to do the first half of the ride, and I didn't really have enough food for that. At the halfway point I was going through a gap in some mountains and the wind was so strong it was a struggle to go forward. On the way back, I was thinking about calling for backup, but the tailwind was so strong I felt compelled to finish. I actually got pushed up one of the hills near my house. That was pleasant. It was also cold enough that I got a mild case of hypothermia.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:47 AM   #19
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Old 03-03-09, 11:56 AM   #20
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My commuting bike has flat bars with no drops, so I become a 6'4" windsock.
Ha-ha! I have the same setup and I've become a 5'7" windsock!
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Old 03-03-09, 11:57 AM   #21
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In the summer I often have head winds on my ride home. I think it is physiological thing. If x MPH headwind is equal to a Y deg grade what's the big deal? I think my mind was seeing it flat and I would try to pull too high of a gear. If I consciously thought that this is like a hill and accept the fact I need to be in a lower gear and have a slower speed it seemed to work for me.

Yes, I rather be on a grade with no wind but it did make for a better work out.

On the other hand when it's cold they really suck.

My $0.02

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Old 03-03-09, 02:34 PM   #22
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Last night on the way home I rode in a 30 mph sustained headwind with 55 mph gusts.... It was crazy.... I found myself in the granny gears cranking away and doing 4 mph... I thought I lost my mind and started laughing out loud it was so ridiculous, but fun....
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Old 03-03-09, 02:47 PM   #23
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In the summer I often have head winds on my ride home. I think it is physiological thing. If x MPH headwind is equal to a Y deg grade what's the big deal? I think my mind was seeing it flat and I would try to pull too high of a gear. If I consciously thought that this is like a hill and accept the fact I need to be in a lower gear and have a slower speed it seemed to work for me.

Yes, I rather be on a grade with no wind but it did make for a better work out.

On the other hand when it's cold they really suck.

My $0.02

Jeff

You have a point, Jeff...I was seeing my commute as it's normal, fairly flat stretch but with the added annoyance of the wind, and I was trying to maintain my usual speed and timetable, and it was wearing me out.

If I had simply accepted the headwind as a part of my ride instead of trying so hard to overcome it, I would have geared down a bit, slowed down, and just hammered it out. Seems a change of perspective might be just the ticket!
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Old 03-03-09, 03:36 PM   #24
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I thought headwinds blew.
Actually, as I understand it, wind is caused by air rushing from a high pressure area into a low pressure area. So, in this sense, I really think it's more technically correct to say that wind sucks than that wind blows.
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Old 03-03-09, 03:47 PM   #25
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i've been loving not having a speedometer on my bike this winter. too discouraging to look down and see 7mph or something pathetic like that.
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