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  1. #1
    Senior Member shyonelung's Avatar
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    Riding in heavy wind

    I admit I try to avoid riding in heavy winds. But where I live and ride in Sonoma Wine Country, we have seasons where the wind gets heavy and it's days and days of it. It's 15-17 and often higher. I went out and it was blowing pretty hard (19 mph). I was meeting a friend so I couldn't bail even though I'm a chicken and wanted to go back home. :-D The first 9-10 miles was on rollers and it was straight into the wind so it was just a matter of working harder than usual. That I can do. But the second half was through a crosswind and every few minutes, it would kick up and blow across the road. I felt like it was going to knock me over. The downhills were especially scary.

    Is there a technique to help me ride in that kind of wind or is it basically hold on for dear life and keep your balance best you can? And just 'cause I'm curious, do y'all have a cut off as to when the winds are just too heavy for you to ride in?

  2. #2
    Senior Member escarpment's Avatar
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    get low, and dont ride with deep rims if you are worried.

    wind sucks. weather is never really unridable in the midwest save for a select number of days, or weeks, months.... Cold is really more of a factor than wind.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bike4fun12's Avatar
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    I try not to think of the wind as a negative. headwind allows for more of a workout. when I ride with tailwind, I feel like I am just cruising along and not getting exercise at all. even though I know I am.

    riding along PCH in california, there is always headwind (mostly blowing north). you can not escape it. I used to hate it, but learned to enjoy it instead.

    try riding into headwind as much as you can. you will get faster and more efficient.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 99Klein's Avatar
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    Wind sucks plain and simple. People will tell you it's in your head, or don't worry about speed, or my favorite, just spin.

    We get a lot of wind out here, and then it gusts. Shallow rims help with the winds fir sure, but bottom line is ride out into the wind. At least you enjoy the ride home.
    When you argue with an idiot, from a bystanders point of view, it may be hard to discern which is the idiot. (dis·cern: Verb - Perceive or recognize)

  5. #5
    It do, but it don't.
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    i live in a pretty windy area myself. today i did 17 miles with winds from 15-18 mph. the thing i hate the most about it is the noise. it's so loud. it's rare that i get to just ride and listen to the birds or the hum of the tires - always that dang wind howling in my ears.

    i try to stay as aero as possible, but that only helps so much, especially with a crosswind. all i know to do is keep riding and appreciate how enjoyable the non-windy rides are. as much as anything, i try to focus on riding in a straight line - seems impossible at times when it's really gusty.

    i do agree with the advice above that it's more fun to head into the wind on the front end of the ride and let it push you home nice and fast.

  6. #6
    Senior Member abhirama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bike4fun12 View Post
    try riding into headwind as much as you can. you will get faster and more efficient.
    Even though I dislike strong headwinds, this is true from my experience. it's sort of like a free wind tunnel, so use it!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Will Goes Boing's Avatar
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    You can either A) Grit your teeth, hunker down low, and power through it or B) Say F it, drop to the small ring and just take it easy.

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    Senior Member thewilson's Avatar
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    I'm a coastal rider myself, I'm lucky when I see wind below 15mph. Just stay in the drops and just pedal. If you're really worried about the wind, plan a route where you can fight a head wind one direction and have the tail wind help you home.

  9. #9
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    12 to 20 mph has been the norm this spring and it looks like the same for the next several days. I'm not a small guy so I've got all the aerodynamics of a concrete block. I tend to treat headwinds like long hills and just stay in whatever gear lets me maintain a cadence of 80+ at my desired exertion level. For buffeting or gusty crosswinds, stay light in the saddle, keep a good amount of weight on the pedals. An aero position doesn't help as much against a side wind so it's your choice whether to stay in the drops or not. Keep a wide grip on the hoods or bar ends for stability.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

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    It's frequently windy around here (northern plains), especially during the spring. Twenty mph isn't uncommon, but I have to be feeling very motivated to go out once the sustained wind is over 30-35 mph. I've found myself braking on downhills when the crosswind gets above that range, especially when it's gusty.

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    Once the wind gets above a certain speed my enjoyment factor goes down by 50%. I spend the whole ride thinking negatively.

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    In gusty winds, I try to find a cadence I can hold OK in the gusts and then maintain that cadence, rather than speeding up and slowing down.

  13. #13
    Morton Nagrom_'s Avatar
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    I treat headwinds like I do climbs.

    Turn around and they're much easier.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member shyonelung's Avatar
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    Great stuff guys. Thank you! As I said, I don't mind the headwinds and tailwind obviously is awesome. It's the crosswind gusts that scare the crap out of me. There's a loop I do that's basically riding out against the wind and back with it, but there's no climbs. We wanted to do some hills today so we continued on through an area where we knew we'd be getting gusty cross winds. Obviously I made it but it was dicey in places -- and I definitely dropped my downhill speed at times. Widening my hands seems smart. Will try that. Thanks for the feedback. Excellent info here.

  15. #15
    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    If you're a climber, tough luck. It's payback time. smilie face

    Don't steer the bike in crosswinds; It knows where to go.

    Stay low and on top of the gear, as was mentioned, and let the gusts push the bike just don't let them push you. Lean into the push.
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  16. #16
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    I keep the weather.com app on my phone and always check the wind for direction to plan the out and back route as discussed above. Also I can see on the hourly screen when on the following day the wind will be lowest (usually early morning). Being retired I can take advantage of that. But bottom line I won't ride in winds above 15 MPH. It just isn't worth it to me. I am no great shakes as a bike handler to begin with and don't relish the cross wind scares.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Nick Bain's Avatar
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    raced in 25-40 mph winds last weekend, open farm field. That was some crazy ****. I was leaning the bike for measurable periods of time, in the cross winds.

    The stronger you are the easier it is to deal with wind in any direction. Basically if your cooked it will feel more dreadful.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    Nick, I don't necessarily like agreeing with you -- but your spot on.

  18. #18
    It do, but it don't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
    If you're a climber, tough luck. It's payback time. smilie face

    Don't steer the bike in crosswinds; It knows where to go.

    Stay low and on top of the gear, as was mentioned, and let the gusts push the bike just don't let them push you. Lean into the push.
    what does it mean to "stay on top of the gear"?

  19. #19
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shyonelung View Post
    or is it basically hold on for dear life and keep your balance best you can? And just 'cause I'm curious, do y'all have a cut off as to when the winds are just too heavy for you to ride in?
    Don't hold on for dear life. If you hold on tightly, the wind is going to blow you around. Relaxed grip, bent elbows, relaxed shoulders will help you absorb gusts, and adjust to changes.

    Also, you can anticipate gusts, and lulls by watching the terrain around you, i.e. gaps in buildings or tree lines will result in gusts.


    As for it being too windy to ride, if we didn't ride with wind in the 20's, we wouldn't ride. Sustained winds above 30mph, and I likely won't ride outside, unless it's a race, or I really need to get a long day in, and don't want to sit on the trainer for hours.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Riding in a paceline is nice in the wind. The benefit is much more pronounced.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  21. #21
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    I live in Southwestern Ontario and it's flat, flat, flat. I don't like headwinds anymore than the next person, but I always try to plan my rides so that I'm going into the wind for the first part of the ride. I also treat headwinds as my climbing training. There are no large climbs to speak of anywhere close so the best I can do is sit up in the wind, push a larger gear and pretend I'm climbing. I just make the best of it. If I waited for dead calm days I'd never leave the couch.

    Cheers!
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  22. #22
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    Aww poor babies, come to the Midwest where its 25+ mph daily.
    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Normal people have no idea how much work it takes to be a mediocre bike racer.

  23. #23
    Senior Member 99Klein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsuhoops1000 View Post
    Aww poor babies, come to the Midwest where its 25+ mph daily.
    When you argue with an idiot, from a bystanders point of view, it may be hard to discern which is the idiot. (dis·cern: Verb - Perceive or recognize)

  24. #24
    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mshred View Post
    what does it mean to "stay on top of the gear"?
    Being behind the gear usual means you are slid back on the saddle, heel down, with a lower cadence and you are driving hard focusing on the driving across the top of the pedal stroke. Like seated climbing.

    Being on top of the gear is the opposite. You slide more to the nose of the saddle, at a higher cadence and some raise their heel slightly. Being on top of the gear means you can spin the gear up without having to stand.

    Think of an attack where you are out of the saddle. That is the initial jump. Once you sit back down you should be on top of the gear and driving along at a good tempo.

    Make sense?
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Gallo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
    Being behind the gear usual means you are slid back on the saddle, heel down, with a lower cadence and you are driving hard focusing on the driving across the top of the pedal stroke. Like seated climbing.

    Being on top of the gear is the opposite. You slide more to the nose of the saddle, at a higher cadence and some raise their heel slightly. Being on top of the gear means you can spin the gear up without having to stand.

    Think of an attack where you are out of the saddle. That is the initial jump. Once you sit back down you should be on top of the gear and driving along at a good tempo.

    Make sense?
    awesome did not make sense until you described it thnx
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