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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-16-08, 09:51 PM   #1
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Tips for handling Nasty Crosswinds

Todays commute included winds into the 40+ mph range. I had a hard time holding a line, and even feared going down a few times. The worst area's were next to large open fields, where there was nothing to buffer me from the wind. Crouching down low seemed to help give less area for the wind to catch, and also helped by putting more weight on the front wheel.

Have high winds ever caused you to crash? What are some of your tips to help safely handle them?
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Old 04-16-08, 10:02 PM   #2
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Winds have never made me crash, but they've pushed me off my line, into the gravel shoulder, or even picked up my front wheel and spun me round (be careful around skyscrapers).

I find that If I put one shoulder a tad forward (the one on the windward side) my body becomes a little like a sail, and it creates a slight suction in front of me, or at least the wind passes past me easier.

If it's a reallllllllly strong headwind (like 46mph) then my only way to make forward progress has been to zig zag across the road (hopefully there's not a lot of traffic).
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Old 04-16-08, 10:11 PM   #3
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relax your arms and stay at the center of the lane.
Not much to do in gusty conditions except tuck and prepare yourself when you come to intersections with buildings blocking the wind.
Also helps to keep your hands on the bars as DT style shifters nearly caused me to topple over a few times when the winds were really kicking up.
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Old 04-16-08, 10:31 PM   #4
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Yep, just relax. The cross winds tend to catch the front of the front wheel and turn it downwind which ends up counter steering you so you end up leaning into the wind automatically. You just need to control it so it doesn't over correct your path.

Of course this means you end up using up more sideways road and if this is in traffic where there's lot of wind shadows and turbulence so it is super gusty with side winds you'll be up and down and back and forth like a windshield wiper on high. And that can be pretty intimadating if you're in with tight traffic. For days like that it's probably better to take some less direct side streets.

My route is all MUP and back streets so it's more fun than harrowing.
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Old 04-17-08, 04:50 AM   #5
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It's not *all* moving the front wheel, at least for me. I've had strong gusts move me and the entire bike sideways before. Unloaded, me + bike is about 210 lbs, and we make a pretty decent "sail" from the side. As I add load, I get blown around less. Once the total weight is up in the 240lbs range, 20mph wind is not bad. Gusts higher than that will still catch me and just *move* me.

Usually you get blown more in one direction than another. If the wind is on my right, I grab the right side tire track. Gives me more time and space to correct. If the wind is on my left (not the default on my usual routes), I take a further over spot.
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Old 04-17-08, 06:11 AM   #6
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Make yourself "small." Get as low as possible, in your drops, and tuck your body. Wear close-fitting cycling clothes, nothing baggy that catches the wind. I rode 103 miles last Saturday on one of the windiest days I've ever cycled on, and it was no fun -- except during the stretches where we had a tailwind. On a couple of bridges I was hit by crosswinds that felt like they could have pushed me over the rail and into the water. I rode in the drops that day more than I have on a ride before. I bet I was in the drops about 75% of the time.

BTW, if your handlebars don't have drops -- this is what they are made for. Most of the time, I don't use my drops very much, but on windy days they will save you.
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Old 04-17-08, 06:15 AM   #7
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Make sure to wear glasses in head winds. Another hard learned lesson stupid cagers hit the shoulder and spray dust and dirt in your eyes My Cross wind advise is keep on riding it will make you stronger or find an alternate route to break up the time your in the cross wind
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Old 04-17-08, 01:16 PM   #8
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ditto what everyone else has said. also watch for Buses and Trucks. they are like moving windblocks that remove that cross wind and put it right back ...
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Old 04-17-08, 01:26 PM   #9
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Wind is God's way of telling you to turn around.
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Old 04-17-08, 01:58 PM   #10
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Steer slightly into the wind. Don't tip over.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:10 PM   #11
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The only things that really worry me are :

– When a crosswind comes from the left, fast-moving buses and trucks cause real havoc with wind patterns. Be prepared to react quickly.

– If pedalling on ice, be wary of sliding.
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