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  1. #1
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    A Physics Question

    I ask this question out of pure curiosity. In a strong crosswind, 25 to 30 mph, is a bicycle more stable at slower speeds or at faster speeds, and why?
    You're east of East St. Louis
    And the wind is making speeches.

  2. #2
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    I would say that a cyclist is more affected by a strong crosswind while traveling at higher speeds because the total wind resistance would be greater. You have 1) a perpendicular wind force vector, and 2) a parallel force vector both from moving forward, and from the effective forward force of the crosswind. Of course it's been a while since I've taken physics, so I might be talking out my a$$. But personal experience on the bike supports this, I think.

  3. #3
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Of course in practice the biggest problem with strong crosswinds is what happens when an 18-wheeler passes and temporarily blocks the crosswind.

  4. #4
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Your bicycle will be more stable at higher speeds due to a more effective gyroscopic effect of your wheels. But of course, if your riding disc wheels....forget it!....you're get blown off the road regardless of speed!
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member skiahh's Avatar
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    Fixer's right. You can look at airplanes, too. The faster you go, the less "crab" - or angle into the wind - you need for a given crosswind component.

  6. #6
    60mph in the 42 ring! Dave Stohler's Avatar
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    Well, I have an advanced degree (MS, mechanical engineering), but since nobody likes my posts, I can't answer your question. Sorry.
    Cycling Addict
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    (techinical questions gladly answered via AIM)

  7. #7
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    Gust and straight blowing makes a difference also.10mph straight blowing and then a 20 mph gust is different from a straight blowing wind.

  8. #8
    Not-so-Senior Member
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    The direction the wind is blowing would probably make a difference. If it's slightly from in front I think it'd be harder to ride, slightly from the rear would be easier (as far as front-to-back wind resistance goes anyway. Stability is another matter of which I have little knowledge).

  9. #9
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Your bicycle will be more stable at higher speeds due to a more effective gyroscopic effect of your wheels. But of course, if your riding disc wheels....forget it!....you're get blown off the road regardless of speed!
    Even then you can compensate to a degree by leaning into it if it's a constant wind. It's when the it's gusting that it's really dangerous. But yeah, the faster you go the more stable you'll be.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    I dont think you will have any stability at 0 mph, so I would vote for more stability at high speed.

  11. #11
    Nut Job jedi_rider's Avatar
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    My quick assessment: At certain high speeds, you've got wind directly in front of you and to the side. This clash of the winds may create turbulence causing instability in your steering.

    Conclusion: You probably have more control at slower speeds.

    Of course, I'm not sure at what speed you have to go, but if you can effectively go fast enough to create an airfoil around you sufficient enough to keep the crosswind from effecting you, then you'd be OK. I'd imagine that you'd have to be going very fast ---> faster than 50mph probably.

    Disclaimer: There are those that think I'm full of of it, so take this with a large grain of salt.
    Any time I'm going up a hill, I know I'm headed in the right direction.

  12. #12
    Desert tortise lsits's Avatar
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    Well, there's the actual wind direction and then there's the aparent wind direction. Say the wind is from the northeast and you're traveling north. The faster you travel the more the wind will seem to be coming from the north-northeast. I vote for more stability at higher speeds.
    Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then. - Bob Seger

  13. #13
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    If it is cold outside, I vote for staying home when the wind is blowing. I am most stable when sitting on my couch :-)

  14. #14
    05 Roubaix Comp Double
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    I vote it doesnt matter because you cant stop the wind,you can only ride in it and beat it.

  15. #15
    don d.
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    Test Pattern

    why this question was posed...

  16. #16
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Dave stolers nobody lkes your posts because most of them are like your previous post...and most of them are vague at best if not in-correct at many times.

    Your more stable at faster speeds

    F=MV2...the more force you have to counteract the force of the wind the more stable you'll..

    I'm not an engineer but I've been riding for awhile now so what the heck do I know....
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  17. #17
    It tastes like burning! deliriou5's Avatar
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    even if you're more STABLE at higher speeds (that is, the bike is less likely to get in an accident in the first place), i would choose to ride at the slower speed, because of the better reaction time, increased stopping distance, and reduced momentum in the EVENT of an accident.
    The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing - Socrates

    Back on the bike!!

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