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Old 04-12-02, 06:47 PM   #1
D*Alex
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Holy Cow! That's some wind!!!

This morning, I had some time to kill before spending the afternoon in the machine shop, so I decided to get in a nice little 40 miler, break in a new set of tyres, and get ready for a club ride this weekend. I had my route all planned out-across the river, south past the thruway, down to a nearby town, and back-all on country roads-41 miles total, and 2.5 hours, I figured.
All looked good, warm weather, blue skies (rare here), and I set off. Within 5 miles, though, I encountered a 35 mph headwind! I was riding in the drops, grinding along in my 53-17, dropping down to seriously low gear-inch counts on the hills, and geeting thoroughly exhausted. After 30 minutes of this agony, I decided to modify my route.
The next crossroad had some tree cover, so I took it, and planned to use it to chop off some 15 miles from my route. Big mistake-you ever try to keep upright in a 35 mph crosswind? Arrggghh!!
Eventually, I made it to my return path, and I must say, riding with a 35 mph wind to your back is an incredible ego-building experience! I felt like Lance Armsrong-keeping up with traffic on level roads! And, since I was riding almost the same speed as the wind, no buffetting, either!
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Old 04-12-02, 06:58 PM   #2
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A good tailwind is thrilling. Me and my buddy joined up with another group on Monday, and on the way back we had a great tailwind, so we made the best of it and dropped the hammer! We were doing 30 mph for 6 miles, it was so fun!
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Old 04-12-02, 07:33 PM   #3
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I've noticed that the tailwind never quite makes up for the headwind, though, particularly in urban/suburban riding. The headwind can kill not just your speed but your willingness to sprint for lights before they change, or to swing out to pass a bus. The tailwind going the other way never seems to quite compensate, probably because of the number of situations that force you to limit your speed anyway, wind or no.

Obviously I'm talking more about urban/suburban riding with lots of traffic and intersections. Which is most of my miles, so what else would I have to talk about?

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Old 04-12-02, 08:20 PM   #4
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It was pretty similar here today in Montreal- same weather as New York upstate. At one point, we were attemtpint to cross a bridge and were confronted by galeforce crosswinds. It was my first real ride of the season. FOrget it! We took another route. The headwinds were pretty bad but died down during the day. Still, it was unseasonably warm- 23 celsius!
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Old 04-12-02, 08:31 PM   #5
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it does get pretty severe here wind-wise. the gusts are tough. it is hard to get a good spin going. i'd rather be going uphill all day than face a wind. the psychological effects are tough to overcome.
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Old 04-12-02, 10:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by D*Alex
This morning, I had some time to kill before spending the afternoon in the machine shop, so I decided to get in a nice little 40 miler...

All looked good, warm weather, blue skies (rare here), and I set off. Within 5 miles, though, I encountered a 35 mph headwind!
One word, Al baby: weather channel, weather channel...

Quote:
Arrggghh!! Eventually, I made it to my return path, and I must say, riding with a 35 mph wind to your back is an incredible ego-building experience! I felt like Lance Armsrong-keeping up with traffic on level roads! And, since I was riding almost the same speed as the wind, no buffetting, either!
Ya, baby, it's not about the bike! It's about me (suck eggs, you cagers...)

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Old 04-12-02, 10:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Clark
I've noticed that the tailwind never quite makes up for the headwind, though...
Aw, don't be such a grouch...

It's funny how one looks back and sees only good times, not the headwinds!

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Old 04-13-02, 06:15 AM   #8
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At least you got a crosswind.
The wind always changes direction when ever I ride...

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Old 04-13-02, 06:19 AM   #9
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Seems like whenever I ride in my area, there is always a head or cross wind on my way out or on the return (uphill both ways ).
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Old 04-13-02, 06:22 AM   #10
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I hear ya about the head wind i remember one day trying to make15 or so miles the head wind was so bad even in the small ring I got maybe 3-5 mph one tuff day

another day i had this same ferce wind as a tail wind and was cruising 19 to 20 mph with ease

what i really hate is the days thay we go out into a wind and think we will have a nce ride back then the wind changes and we face it on the way back in too

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Old 04-13-02, 06:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Clark
I've noticed that the tailwind never quite makes up for the headwind.
In fact, there is a mathematical proof of this. I remember it from a college physics class many years ago, although I don't recall exactly what it was now, after about 20 years of hard riding.
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Old 04-13-02, 07:38 AM   #12
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A few years ago I was mowing the lawn on a Sunday afternoon. There was a fierce wind howling out of the west-southwest. I was jonesing to ride, bad, but not looking forward to fighting that wind. As I mowed, a plan formed in my mind.

After I put up the mower, I struck a deal with a friend. Pick me up in Big Rock (a town fifty miles away to the east-northeast) in an hour and a half and I will buy you dinner on the way back. I beat my return ride to Big Rock by a good fifteen minutes, and I had stopped en route to eat a power bar and read an historical marker.

Tailwinds rock. Headwinds, however...

uh...

well...

Headwinds blow!
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Old 04-13-02, 08:23 AM   #13
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I have some local rural train routes which can take bikes. On windy days I sometimes just take off into a a tail wind, happy in the knowledge that I dont have to ride back into it.
Unless the trans have been stopped for track maintainance.
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Old 04-13-02, 08:44 PM   #14
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Funny how somedays you'd swear there's no breeze at all .... until you make a turn and find you're riding directly into it.
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Old 04-14-02, 12:36 AM   #15
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I've been on leave all week, and last Saturday wind was up to 31 mph, its only finally dropped to below 10 mph today, having been about 20 - 30 all week Grrrrrrr

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Old 04-14-02, 09:02 AM   #16
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there is a mathematical proof of this. I remember it from a college physics class many years ago, although I don't recall exactly what it was now, after about 20 years of hard riding.

The answer is in the time you take, not the distance you travel. The example given when I was at college. 2 planes - one can fly at 50 mph the other can fly at 100 mph - will a 50 mph wind from point A to point B affect their average speeds for a trip from A to B (100 miles apart) and return.

The 100 mph plane will take will take 40 mins on the trip out and 2 hrs on the trip back. Average speed 75 mph

The 50 mph plane will take will take 1 hr on the trip out but will never get back. Average speed 0 mph.

Sorry the point of this question was - does your flying speed make any difference to the effect of a headwind.

There is the same effect going up and down hills. Since you go slower up the hill you spend much more time going up than you do coming down.
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Old 04-14-02, 09:35 AM   #17
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What I was thinking of is that there's no limit on our minimum speed, other than zero. The stronger the wind, the slower we go.

For many of us, there is a limit on our maximum speed -- safety in turns and on descents, road conditions, etc.

So while a very strong headwind will slow us to its full potential, the same wind may not benefit us proportionately coming from behind -- not because of the math, but because of the realities of cycling.

You may have a descent you normally take at, say, 40mph. A 40mph headwind might slow you to 20mph. But you're probably not going to use a 40mph tailwind to do the descent at 60mph, because that's faster than you feel safe going.

Riding in the city, I still have to slow down at intersections and stop at red lights, no matter how strong the tail wind.

That's why on windy days I find my average speeds are generally noticeably lower, even if there was a tailwind one way.

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Old 04-15-02, 04:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by velocipedio

In fact, there is a mathematical proof of this. I remember it from a college physics class many years ago, although I don't recall exactly what it was now, after about 20 years of hard riding.
I've noticed that even when riding with a tailwind, I eventually crank it up to a speed that exceeds my tailwind, giving me, in effect, a minor wind resistance.

When riding into a headwind, I've never experienced a reciprocal effect.

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