# Thread: Wind

1. Originally Posted by Chris516
How does everyone else deal with it? I think I am being wimpish about the wind. But when I encounter wind above 15mph, it makes me stop my ride for the day.
I think it helps to decide that wind will only "matter" to you if 1) It is so windy that you are at risk for being blown into the path of a vehicle or off the road, or 2) you are in a timed event, like a brevet, and the wind is putting you in danger of missing the cutoff. In the 2nd case, even then it isn't a question of deciding not to ride, just being aware of where you may have to make more effort and be quicker in controls.

The thing I've always found somewhat puzzling is: If the fastest pace that I can sustain on a flat road with no wind is 20mph, how is it that I can ride into a 20mph headwind and sustain any pace at all? Maybe a partial answer involves other sources of friction besides wind, e.g. tires. Riding at 20mph, you have a resistance A due to the wind and T due to tires and the maximum resistance that you can overcome is A+T. Riding into the 20mph headwind at, e.g. 4mph, you face a higher resistance AA since your relative airspeed is now 24mph, but you have lower tire resistance of TT because your tires are only going at 4mph instead of 20mph. So if AA+TT < A+T then you can still push harder into the wind! Is there something else I'm not thinking of, here?

Nick

2. Yep. The wind really blows.

3. "Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 61. Very windy, with a west northwest wind between 37 and 45 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph."

4. Originally Posted by Chris516
That is one of my objectives, along with increasing my distance.
It'll come. Don't worry.

It ends up being a threshold thing. I used to think anything over 10 mph headwind was a pain. then it was 15. Now it's in the low 20s. 37 to 45 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph? I haven't HTFUed that much yet myself.

5. Originally Posted by valygrl
"Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 61. Very windy, with a west northwest wind between 37 and 45 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph."
Wilbur and Orville are all ready to go!

6. Originally Posted by thebulls
Maybe in Australia or Canada, being polite to motorists makes them have more respect for you. Here in the US, it seems to have the opposite effect. Riding on the far right just seems to send a message to cars that it's OK with you if they pass with mm to spare between their mirror and your head.

I prefer to take the lane. My survival is more important than their convenience.

Nick
You prefer to take the lane ... even on a busy highway? You'd be roadkill here if you tried that on a busy highway ... right there among the dead kangaroos, wombats, and snakes, who also ventured out into the lane.

But move over and ride on the shoulder or edge of the road, and 95% of time the drivers and the cyclists can get along just fine.

7. Originally Posted by Doohickie
It'll come. Don't worry.

It ends up being a threshold thing. I used to think anything over 10 mph headwind was a pain. then it was 15. Now it's in the low 20s. 37 to 45 mph, with gusts as high as 70 mph? I haven't HTFUed that much yet myself.
there was a horrible 200k I rode a few years ago with high winds and cold. I dnf'd, but I can pinpoint the place on the ride where I should have stopped to eat and then things could have been fine. I would really have to consider if doing that again would be worth it, but I can almost generate some regret that I didn't finish. 90 miles under those conditions is nothing to sneeze at though. I guess the worst part is that I quit after getting into the part of the ride with a tailwind.

8. Originally Posted by Machka
You prefer to take the lane ... even on a busy highway? You'd be roadkill here if you tried that on a busy highway ... right there among the dead kangaroos, wombats, and snakes, who also ventured out into the lane.

But move over and ride on the shoulder or edge of the road, and 95% of time the drivers and the cyclists can get along just fine.
Yes, even on a busy highway, if there is no shoulder. In fact, if I have to be on a horrible road like that, with no shoulder, then taking the lane is absolutely essential.

Anyway, obviously local conditions and practices can potentially make what is the safer practice in one country be unsafe in another.

In the U.S., it is still illegal to deliberately run into a cyclist just because they are in your way. So if you take the lane and it pisses a driver off, then they still have to choose between deliberately hitting you and facing the consequences if caught, or following traffic laws and passing you when there is an opportunity to do so. The alternative of hugging the side of the road means that many drivers will pass you without making any effort to move across the centerline. And because cars are not moving over to pass you, the cars behind them don't even know you are there. So any slight mistake that a passing car makes before they realize you are there, e.g. because they are yapping on their cellphone and have drifted to the right, means that you are at serious risk. So my judgment has been that I am at less risk if I take the lane, possibly pissing off a driver, with some risk that they will intentionally hit me, than I am hugging the side of the road, with the chance that one of the many negligent drivers will hit me. FWIW, I get honked at just about as frequently when I am taking the lane as when I am off to the right. So I might as well take the lane. It seems to be that the kind of people who get pissed off at bikes being in the road get pissed off at you anywhere you are, even 5 feet off to their right in the shoulder, when there is one.

Needless to say, I always ride with a mirror so at least I have some chance on a road like this to see who is coming up behind and determine whether it looks like they've seen me and are either braking or moving left.

So, in my view, if there is no shoulder or if there is a substandard "shoulder" (e.g. a 4" wide strip) then taking the lane on the highway is safer than hugging the side of the road and having cars blow by at 60mph without even moving across the centerline.

Fortunately, there are only a few very short distances with road conditions like this on all of the brevets or permanents in my area, and where there are conditions like this, it is almost always a 4-lane highway so cars can move into the fast lane to pass.

Best regards,

Nick

9. I have a good friend who insists on taking the lane as you describe Nick and he's been hit from behind twice on highways in the last five years or so. Sure he was "legally" in the right and he's got a lot of money in the bank now as a result of the two settlements he's gotten but it doesn't seem hardly worth it to me. He's lucky to be alive and has permanent injuries as a result. I've seen a lot of arguments about "taking the lane" being somehow safer but I've not seen anyone come up with any real data behind such arguments. If you're going 20mph in the middle of the lane and being overtaken by traffic going 60+mph how can you say that's safe?

Having said that, I do on occasion take a lane but only when I want to make a left turn at an intersection. As a rule, I just don't see the benefit in it. The risks and the aggravation it causes just don't add up to a better idea to me.

10. Originally Posted by Machka
You prefer to take the lane ... even on a busy highway? You'd be roadkill here if you tried that on a busy highway ... right there among the dead kangaroos, wombats, and snakes, who also ventured out into the lane.

But move over and ride on the shoulder or edge of the road, and 95% of time the drivers and the cyclists can get along just fine.
I prefer to 'take the lane', also. But in Maryland, DC n' Virginia, I don't think either state and DC permits cyclists' to ride on the interstate(at least I hope not).

11. the subject of taking the lane can cause a lot of controversy, so let's drop it at this point. The A&S forum is available for discussions about safety topics. I believe that problem is that we are all envisioning a different roadway as our example.

12. Back to riding in the wind. One thing that I do that I've not seen mentioned yet is when it's going to be really windy (above 20-25 MPH) I wear etymotic ear plus. These are "musician" ear plugs that attenuate the sound evenly across the audio band by an amount that is adjustable depending on the inserts (-10db, -15db, etc). It makes an amazing difference in how fatigued I feel at the end of a long ride in the wind.

Also, I adopt a "Zen of the Wind" attitude: I take what it gives me rather than trying to fight it. Rather than being fixated on maintaining a given speed, I set a general "level of effort" goal ranging from easy to hard depending on how I'm feeling and just maintain that. If it means I'm going 11 MPH, so be it.

13. Originally Posted by ghsmith54
Back to riding in the wind. One thing that I do that I've not seen mentioned yet is when it's going to be really windy (above 20-25 MPH) I wear etymotic ear plus. These are "musician" ear plugs that attenuate the sound evenly across the audio band by an amount that is adjustable depending on the inserts (-10db, -15db, etc). It makes an amazing difference in how fatigued I feel at the end of a long ride in the wind.
I keep meaning to get some of these. I'm nearly deaf in my right ear, and since an ******* motorist blasted me with super-loud horns I've been concerned about potential loss of hearing in my left ear. Not sure how long I could stand to have earplugs in on a ride though, I generally find them annoying.

14. Originally Posted by unterhausen
I keep meaning to get some of these. I'm nearly deaf in my right ear, and since an ******* motorist blasted me with super-loud horns I've been concerned about potential loss of hearing in my left ear. Not sure how long I could stand to have earplugs in on a ride though, I generally find them annoying.
One of the "nice" things about etymotics is that they are fitted by an audiologist who takes an impression of your ear canal. It's expensive but they fit and are comfortable for hours.

15. Originally Posted by Chris516
But when I encounter wind above 15mph, it makes me stop my ride for the day.
This is a weird thread.

I'm still wondering how he manages this. Call a cab? His wife? Pitch a tent? Knock on a door?

(Last time I dealt with real wind on a long ride, I pulled for 40 miles wishing the winds were only 15 mph!)

==============

Originally Posted by Chris516
I live in Maryland, in Montgomery County that was 'sniper central' back in Oct.'02. I should have said, I live in the Maryland suburbs of DC.
??? Two nutcases make something "sniper central"? Really? What the heck does this have to do with anything?

Do not think of riding in NYC!

==============

Originally Posted by Chris516
I said if I can help it. Also, How do you absolutely equate, riding in the dark and long distances in the same situation. That implies that one cannot ride a long distance without riding in the dark. That isn't always the case.
What do you consider "long distance"?

Originally Posted by Chris516
I posted it in the LD forum because, both the Road forum and, the Recreational forum don't deal with longer distance riding. That is my goal.
It sounds like you need to have other goals before you deal with any sort of "long distance" ones.

16. Originally Posted by valygrl
Rowan, get up on the wrong side of bed today? Your posts are usually informative helpful and kind. Not that one. ^^
The original post doesn't make much sense in the context of the "Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling" forum.

What does the OP think is a "long distance" ride?

17. Originally Posted by znomit
Wind had dropped considerable since I stopped using Hammer Perpetuem.
Maybe, the OP should just find somebody else to follow!

18. Originally Posted by thebulls
[paraphrased to "don't take the lane"]

Hi, Machka,

Your advice is counter to the advice given by League of American Bicyclists. See

http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/...etter_tips.php

Maybe in Australia or Canada, being polite to motorists makes them have more respect for you. Here in the US, it seems to have the opposite effect. Riding on the far right just seems to send a message to cars that it's OK with you if they pass with mm to spare between their mirror and your head.

I prefer to take the lane. My survival is more important than their convenience.

Nick
I wonder if you read the site you posted to.

Originally Posted by thebulls
In the U.S., it is still illegal to deliberately run into a cyclist just because they are in your way.
Where in the world is this legal? If the cyclist isn't just in your way, is it OK to run them over in the US?

This is a weird thread.

19. Originally Posted by njkayaker
The original post doesn't make much sense in the context of the "Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling" forum.

What does the OP think is a "long distance" ride?
+1

And +1 to ...

This is a weird thread.

What does the OP think is a "long distance" ride? Chris ... when you think of long distance ride ... what exactly are you thinking about?

In this forum, we generally think of 100 km as dipping a toe into the world of long distance cycling, and 100 miles as the shortest or 'entry-level' long distance ride. You are a long distance rider when you've done your first 100+ mile ride, and you remain a long distance rider when you continue to ride at least one 100+ mile ride every year or two or so.

If the OP wants to be a long distance rider, he'd better get used to riding in less than ideal conditions. Over a 100+ mile distance, riders can (and often do) encounter all sorts of conditions. A day might start bright, sunny, warm, and calm ... but 50 miles up the road, conditions can change dramatically, and you've just got to deal with it.

20. Back to reality - tomorrow's weather forecast is pouring rain, high of 41°, and gusting to 40mph. We decided to bag the century. Though I'm sure they will have a few riders. The real hard core enjoys it. I've done 200k at 33° and sleeting and so what. All I learned was not to do that again. We'll hit the rollers Saturday and go out for a short 30 miles at low elevation on Sunday - snow level 500'. Have to make up the time on the rollers and skiing during next week. Poor me.

Like with boating, biking is adventure enough without starting off in conditions where one might say, "This will be an adventure!" The difference between an adventure and a disaster is you come back from an adventure.

21. But there's a bit of a difference between winds gusting to 40 mph (64 km/h) ... especially when the winds are combined with cool temps and pouring rain ... and 15 mph (24 km/h).

64 km/h winds can be rather unpleasant. 24 km/h winds are ... normal conditions which occur almost every day.

As I mentioned before, if I decided not to ride every time the winds got to 24 km/h, I'd hardly ever ride, and I certainly wouldn't ride long distances.

22. Originally Posted by Machka
But there's a bit of a difference between winds gusting to 40 mph (64 km/h) ... especially when the winds are combined with cool temps and pouring rain ... and 15 mph (24 km/h).

64 km/h winds can be rather unpleasant. 24 km/h winds are ... normal conditions which occur almost every day.

As I mentioned before, if I decided not to ride every time the winds got to 24 km/h, I'd hardly ever ride, and I certainly wouldn't ride long distances.
Absolutely. In dry weather on a group or timed ride, I don't mind headwinds a bit. Well, not too much. I'm more aero for my power than the majority of riders, so I do really well! It's fun to pass those tall skinny guys like they were standing still. Strong headwinds in a cold rain are another matter. One can get chilled in a hurry, even in windproof gear. Maybe the water evaporates off one so fast that it lowers one's temperature. On last Saturday's windy and rainy 80-miler some people came in with uncontrollable shivering. Hard to see how they held onto the bars. We don't call it the Dark Side for nothing.

23. Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Back to reality - tomorrow's weather forecast is pouring rain, high of 41°, and gusting to 40mph. We decided to bag the century. Though I'm sure they will have a few riders. The real hard core enjoys it. I've done 200k at 33° and sleeting and so what. All I learned was not to do that again.
It's one thing to decide not to start a ride when conditions are this bad. It's quite another to (somehow) "stop my ride for the day" when the winds go above 15 mph.

24. Wind is the one aspect of cycling that defies perfect analysis. Usually the direction, intensity and variability of winds taxes even a veteran cyclist's best efforts at riding efficiently.

Perhaps this post was an attempt to clarify why wind seems so "defeating." As I mentioned, since winds are constantly changing - there's little use in bragging or boasting about whom and when someone encountered the "worst wind." Comparisons are futile.

Similarly, out and back courses can deceive rider's best guesses because of the time frames involved. Not to mention, who may draft who - and how big, small or smooth they are.

Wind is truly the "mind****" of cycling.

All this being said, savvy cyclists know that the best strategy is to "go with the flow." Find the most aerodynamic position you can maintain, ride a pace that you can maintain, and shut your pie-hole.

25. Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
...All this being said, savvy cyclists know that the best strategy is to "go with the flow." Find the most aerodynamic position you can maintain, ride a pace that you can maintain, and shut your pie-hole.
Now there is a pearl!

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