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Old 05-07-07, 07:14 AM   #1
DougG
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Wind Question

Like others here, I had a very windy day in a 45-mile organized ride yesterday. Plus, the roads were in the vicinity of the west end of Lake Erie, so the easterlies were blowing across the lake unobstructed all the way from Buffalo. Brrrr!!

I've been road riding for less than a year, so this was fairly new to me. I did enjoy one stretch of almost 10 miles going west with a full tailwind on a very smooth and straight blacktop road. Ten miles at 20+ mph and didn't see a single car!

Anyway, what surprised me was the part of the route that went due North, so the wind was coming directly from the side. I had figured that since I was not riding into it, this leg would be pretty neutral for wind effect, but it really was a lot worse that I expected. Maybe it was just the buffeting that made it sound and feel like the wind was holding me back, or my legs were tired by then from riding into it, but my average speed definitely dropped in those sections as well.

Is this a normal effect from a side-wind?
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Old 05-07-07, 07:39 AM   #2
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Sounds normal to me. any wind that is not directly behind me seems to cause drag. A side wind can be worse than a head wind because you have to lean into it. Especially if it is gusting rather than constant.
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Old 05-07-07, 07:48 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, it is perfectly normal. A cross wind has a considerable negative effect as you noticed. The only time a stiff breeze is neutral is if it is coming in from one of the rear quarters and for a wind to be a benefit, it has to be pretty much directly behind.
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Old 05-07-07, 07:52 AM   #4
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An engineering analysis will reveal that the vectors of side wind (perhaps a little from the front too?) plus the headwind generated by your movement is the force you need to overcome.
I agree with Blues above also, and as you say, perhaps you were getting tired.
I bike often in Stoney Creek near your location. That park has a reputation for wind on days without wind. Going around that park and turning into the various wind angles is like putting on brakes. I actually got off the bike to see if there is something wrong with my bike. No, it was just turning into a strong side-wind acting on the spokes of the wheels which seemed like a brake was rubbing.
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Old 05-07-07, 08:15 AM   #5
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Yes, a crosswind does slow you down. I often ride on a lake dam road which runs east and west. Wind here is usually from the north or south, so the dam rides usually have a crosswind. The harder the wind blows, the slower my average speed will end up being.

Different roads behave very differently with winds from different directions, too. On a repeating road route loop near my home, I have the best speed average when there is no wind, but a north wind only slows the average a small amount. A south wind, on the other hand, makes much more difference, decreasing my speed average quite a bit.
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Old 05-07-07, 08:30 AM   #6
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I seem to remember a thread about this a while back, in which it was pointed out that when there's a wind, there's a 75% chance or greater that you'll be fighting it, and only a 25% chance or less that it will act as a tail wind. Something like that.

It's just not fair!
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Old 05-07-07, 08:32 AM   #7
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Headwind: your wind drag is roughly proportional to the square of (your speed + wind speed).

Perpendicular crosswind: your wind drag is roughly proportional to your speed squared plus the wind speed squared.

Digital Gee is right -- the only wind that helps you is an approximate tailwind, which is why the ancient Irish blessing begins,

"May the rode rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back. ... "
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Old 05-07-07, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
I seem to remember a thread about this a while back, in which it was pointed out that when there's a wind, there's a 75% chance or greater that you'll be fighting it, and only a 25% chance or less that it will act as a tail wind. Something like that.

It's just not fair!
Agree, you always seem to be fighting the wind in every direction. Sunday was a windy day 12+ mph everywhere here and a bad day to ride with aero wheels as I did.

One funny thing did happen on Sunday: group got a little bit ahead & dechained at the bottom of a hill so I stopped to fix it. Middle of nowhere and house with big dogs on the side of the road. Was bending over to rechain and got one of those "what the heck" moments. Big ole mutt had stuck his/her nose right up to my crotch! Scared the you know what out of me. Guess it was just looking for a buddie. Had to take some time to make a buddie before I got on my way.
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Old 05-07-07, 03:02 PM   #9
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"...there's a 75% chance or greater that you'll be fighting it, and only a 25% chance or less that it will act as a tail wind. Something like that. ..."

I'll ride 6 blocks to the store and have a headwind both ways. Some people are just blessed...
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