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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 09-15-07, 07:27 PM   #1
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What is considered windy?

I live in an area where it's ALWAYS windy. Most of my rides have a tailwind when I start and fighting a headwind on the way home. ( if i could go against the wind to start i would...) I've been doing most of my riding in about 18mph tailwind and then headwind.. A good bunch of my rides have been in 23+mph winds..
My question is. What is considered windy? And what kind of winds won't you ride in? Once I had to turn around because I was being swatted all over the road and it was just too unsafe..
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Old 09-15-07, 07:49 PM   #2
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If I cannot maintain 15 km/h into a headwind ... it's windy.

When I'm down to a max of 8 km/h ... it is very windy.

The strongest wind I've ridden in was documented at 100 mph ... I didn't intend to, and it actually knocked me off my bicycle. That was extremely windy!
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Old 09-15-07, 07:54 PM   #3
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we have alot of wind here as well...IMO, 15+mph is getting up there....anything over 20mph I'd rather not ride....less than 10mph is a treat!!!
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Old 09-15-07, 07:59 PM   #4
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When you are pointed down a -6% grade and have to pedal hard to keep moving it is too windy.
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Old 09-15-07, 08:03 PM   #5
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When you doing 30mph soft pedaling, its time to turn around.

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Old 09-15-07, 08:06 PM   #6
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When the winds get up to 40 and 50 km/h, as they often do here, then it's windy. Actually, it's always windy here.

Is there anywhere where it isn't windy, where the wind rarely goes above, say, 30 km/h? Does such a place exist?
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Old 09-15-07, 08:45 PM   #7
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When you doing 30mph soft pedaling, its time to turn around.


yeah...and you're going to have a hell of a time getting home!!
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Old 09-15-07, 09:19 PM   #8
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Around here if we didn't ride in 20-30+mph winds ...well...then we wouldn't ride much. 35-40 mph or more and I would begin to consider staying in.
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Old 09-15-07, 09:23 PM   #9
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Around here if we didn't ride in 20-30+mph winds ...well...then we wouldn't ride much. 35-40 mph or more and I would begin to consider staying in.

Same here...
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Old 09-15-07, 09:25 PM   #10
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Around here if we didn't ride in 20-30+mph winds ...well...then we wouldn't ride much. 35-40 mph or more and I would begin to consider staying in.
that's gotta really suck.... honestly i don't think i'd like riding in that kind of condition...
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Old 09-15-07, 09:27 PM   #11
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Around here if we didn't ride in 20-30+mph winds ...well...then we wouldn't ride much. 35-40 mph or more and I would begin to consider staying in.
That's how it was when I lived in Manitoba ... especially in the spring and fall. Like I said, if I could maintain 15 km/h or more, I considered it calm out there.

Where I live now, it is like that about half the time.
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Old 09-16-07, 05:23 AM   #12
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Is there anywhere where it isn't windy, where the wind rarely goes above, say, 30 km/h? Does such a place exist?
Central New England (where I currently do most of my riding) and Northern Virginia (where I rode for a long time) seriously don't get that windy. I hate, and I mean HATE, riding into the wind. I don't have to do it much. Then again, both of those places are heavily forested, fairly hilly regions, so the wind could be whipping and I'd never know.
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Old 09-16-07, 08:34 AM   #13
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When you throw your speedometer into a ditch because of the pain and anguish it is causing you.
You tack like a sailboat across town looking for cover as you go to windward!

On the open road, when cars go by you get sucked around into the vacuum... and sudden openings in the foliage cause havoc. Sometimes blowing you towards the car, sometimes towards the mailbox... but mostly just towards the tarmac.
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Old 09-16-07, 09:01 AM   #14
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I realize everyone loves to tell their riding in the wind battle tales, but wind is the one weather phenomenon that is usually greatly overstated. Just because the 11 PM news says your locality was having 20-30 MPH winds, it doesn't mean you were riding in them.

Once for grins I brought my Brunton Sherpa along with me on a fall century that was being held on the White Sands Missile Range. This century has a local reputation of being very windy and it reliably is.The range is set along side the Sacramento Mountains in southern New Mexico and it's clear for a N-S wind all the from South America to the North Pole.

I stopped at the first SAG on a typically howly day and got out my Brunton and took some readings. Riders stopped by and asked me what the numbers were and before I told them, I asked them to guess.

Results - everyone gave answers from 15-40 MPH. They were shocked when it came back 4 MPH average gusting to 12.

Based on what little analysis I have done out on the road with my little anemometer, ridining into an 10 MPH sustained headwind is darn hard and a 20 MPH crosswind will knock you off the road if you are not paying attention. For grins, check out the Beaufort Scale and see how meteorologists rate wind by ground level effect. For reference, a knot = 1.15 MPH so 20 knots is 23 MPH. It's pretty enlightening. Before you claim to ride your bike in a hurricane, realize that one cannot even stand up in winds beyond 75 MPH (Category 1 Hurricane). Think about the last time you were out when flags were blowing completely parallel to the ground, (7-10 knots). It's hard.
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Old 09-16-07, 09:15 AM   #15
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terry... i'm gonna take a stab at this one... you didn't look at my screen name and you don't know what wx means. let me explain... wx means weather.... i'm an air force weather forecaster/observer.... it is my job to know wind speeds.. but then again... there are a lot on non weather people posting... and btw.. when was the last time your anemometer was calibrated?

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Old 09-16-07, 09:32 AM   #16
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I was wondering about that, and my comments were not really directed at your question.

My answer to your question is - I think riding in a sustained 10 knot wind is hard to extremely undesirable. I would probably not choose to do it because it is not fun. Many think they're regularly riding in 20+. I'm doubting it, and I imagine you are too.

As a consumer, I obviously don't get my anemometer calibrated regularly. But, I do have a pretty nice professional ($2000) weather station up on my barn and I compare the handheld to that frequently. And they track pretty well. Certainly well enough to know that I'm not off by 10 knots.

In addition to bikes, weather is another hobby and I have a pretty good feel for the effects of various conditions. When I look out the window and see that my 12 foot tall stand of Rio Grande Cane is blowing back and forth violently, and I look at my weather station and see it's blowing between 5 and 8 MPH, I pretty much know it's going to be a tough ride. At 20 MPH the cane is lying almost flat. No way I'm riding in that.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:02 AM   #17
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I've once had wind make me crawl to my house on the way back from work. no wind and I'm going around 30~40km/h. I turn at an intersection and into a really strong head wind. Now I'm down at 10km/h and actually struggling in granny gear.
I never seem to be able to get a nice tail wind, always cross or head on. Wind seems to change directions from the morning and afternoon, lol
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Old 09-16-07, 10:09 AM   #18
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I've been to White Sands on multiple occassions. Not windy. Come to the "Windy City."

You're right though. I could be totally wrong. It doesn't seem like it though when gusts push your wheel into oncoming traffic, and you can sit upright and talk in a normal tone to a rider 20-30 feet in front of you while coasting at 27-30mph with a tailwind.

Come on up though...and bring your anemometer.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:10 AM   #19
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I've once had wind make me crawl to my house on the way back from work. no wind and I'm going around 30~40km/h. I turn at an intersection and into a really strong head wind. Now I'm down at 10km/h and actually struggling in granny gear.
I never seem to be able to get a nice tail wind, always cross or head on. Wind seems to change directions from the morning and afternoon, lol
The best is when it literally stops you dead in your tracks. You're in your lowest gear, in your drops, and shaking a fist at the sky....and then have to put a foot down. BTW - it does always happen on the return leg of any ride
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Old 09-16-07, 10:12 AM   #20
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About 10 years ago a local cat-3 was doing the Tour de Toona stage race in PA. He was riding the time trial on an out-and-back course. He was one of the last riders to go and it was late in the day. A line of thunderstorms was approaching from the west and he was headed straight into them. He made the turn and was headed back in (to the East) when the line caught him. The gust front ahead of the cells provided a 50 - 60 mph tailwind that pushed him all the way back. He ended up placing in the top 10, ahead of many P/1 riders. Freaky.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:27 AM   #21
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The best is when it literally stops you dead in your tracks. You're in your lowest gear, in your drops, and shaking a fist at the sky....and then have to put a foot down. BTW - it does always happen on the return leg of any ride
I've never had wind stop me dead in my tracks. Here that usually means Thunderstorm heading my way and I high tail it and run, cycle? to cover. So I haven't had the joy of knowing how it is to cycle in gail force winds.
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Old 09-16-07, 10:37 AM   #22
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If I cannot maintain 15 km/h into a headwind ... it's windy.

When I'm down to a max of 8 km/h ... it is very windy.

The strongest wind I've ridden in was documented at 100 mph ... I didn't intend to, and it actually knocked me off my bicycle. That was extremely windy!
ahh yeah, thatll knock someone standing still on their @ss.......ive been blown around (standing) in 80-90mph winds during the eye wall of a hurricane......honestly i dont even see how its possible to try to ride a bike in that wind speed.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:15 AM   #23
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I've never had wind stop me dead in my tracks. Here that usually means Thunderstorm heading my way and I high tail it and run, cycle? to cover. So I haven't had the joy of knowing how it is to cycle in gail force winds.
No...not gale force, but just winds in the 30-40 range. Got them a lot in NW Ohio. If it was fall or spring and there were no crops standing tall. There would always be a pretty good swing in temp that could push those winds. I don't remember a lot of rain with them though.

Illinois is not as bad as it was in NW OH, and I am sure there are many places that are even worse.
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Old 09-16-07, 11:21 AM   #24
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Mike Munk...

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Old 09-16-07, 11:25 AM   #25
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Just had a morning like that. I'm just getting into road biking (and haven't got my road bike yet!). I should have realised that something was wrong when I hit 28 mph without pedaling too hard. There was me thinking my time on the bike in the gym was paying off and that this was going to be easy when I got my road bike. That ride back was tough!
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