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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 04-01-09, 02:28 PM   #1
GearsForFears
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Breaking Wind: The Sequel

On a different wind-related topic than the recently initiated thread:

Heading into my second year as a bike commuter I'm loving it as much as ever except for one thing: wind. I commute in one of the windiest cities in the country (on an isthmus between two large lakes) and the days of unrelenting 20-30 mph wind (like today, and yesterday, and the day before) are just killing me out there. It never seems to help behind you as much as it hurts in front of you. Some days it feels like I could walk to work about as fast and with half the effort as I'm pedaling.

My commuter bike is a singlespeed Cross-Check with upright North Road bars. Stylistically and from a position comfort standpoint I like the North Roads. But I'm wondering if drop bars would make a noticeable difference against the wind. Also I've been considering a new bike to run FG as more of a fun roadie with thinner tires and less commuter stuff attached and I'm also wondering if something with more of a track geometry would be noticeably better on windy days. The key is noticeably. I know there will be less resistance with drops and/or with different geometry. What I'm asking is, how *much* difference is it likely to make? Enough for an average rider to appreciate, or a small incremental difference that only a speed junkie would care about? And does anyone have other tips for dealing with windy riding?
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Old 04-01-09, 02:47 PM   #2
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In my opinion it helps, but not a huge amount. Heavy winds are still going to be a real pain. There's not much getting around that.

But by ll means go for something that gets you in a more aero position, if you can afford to do so. You will notice a little difference.
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Old 04-01-09, 02:54 PM   #3
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get an aero helmet. That would be cool.
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Old 04-01-09, 07:34 PM   #4
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Electric assist?
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Old 04-01-09, 07:42 PM   #5
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drops and gears would make a great big difference, at least for me.
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Old 04-01-09, 07:57 PM   #6
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In Lance Armstrong's training book he says that he uses sitting up on his bike as a brake. If he says so, than you must be doing so.
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Old 04-01-09, 08:19 PM   #7
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I notice a difference, both against the wind and in descents. It's not a huge one, but it's there.

The thing about drops, though, is that they may also end up delivering more power to the pedals. I'm not a racer, but even I can kick it up a gear when I'm in the drops. So it's not entirely an aero question. Considering that both factors are relevant to headwinds, I'd say get the drop bars.
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Old 04-01-09, 08:43 PM   #8
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Drops make a big difference. I rode with a tailwind to work this morning on the hoods, went to the drops on the way home because it was much easier. All of my bikes have gears so I can only comment that I'd probably not like a fixie -- I use a wide range of them to keep my cadence in the 90-100 range.
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