Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes: one Recumbent and one Utility Bike
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Out with the ebb, in with the flood.
Last weekend we had strong north winds. Sunday morning the forecast was for
40+ mph winds with gusts to 50 mph. When I heard the weather man say "...tapering off in the afternoon." I knew it was time to shop and visit friends in the far southern suburbs. I got the strong push on the drive out but the winds stopped and I didn't have to fight them on the return trip. If the forecast had been wrong, plan B was to put the bike on public transit for the return trip. There are variations on this strategy. For example, when you have alternate routes with different exposures, you take the exposed route for a tailwind and the sheltered route for the headwind.
A physicist friend recommends the same strategy with respect to gravity. He pointed out to me that wind drag increases non-linearly with speed so to conserve energy (given other factors as approximately equal) you should plan an out and back trip to climb steep hills and descend gentle hills. I used to do the opposite because I liked the rush of high speed on the steep descents. I didn't think that the drag due to the high speed reduced the total energy available from the change in elevation.