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does windchill matter when biking?

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does windchill matter when biking?

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Old 12-22-04, 09:49 AM
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DogBoy
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does windchill matter when biking?

I see lots of folks say temps were x, with windchill y. I pay attention to wind speed but not wind chill when seeing what's in store for my biking future. I figure I've got wind proof jacket, booties, gloves & pants, so the only part of me that is exposed is my nose. Does wind chill really make that much of a difference to you in terms of comfort? For me its mostly just paying attention to the headwind/tailwind, but comfort is about the same. What do you think?


Aside: should this be in Winter Cycling? I never know where to put things now, since commuting has many issues related to cold, and I'm not really snow-biking or anything, just riding when its cold.
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Old 12-22-04, 10:11 AM
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I always figured wind chill was kind of irrelevant when it comes to biking. Seems to me I create my own 15-20 mph wind and thus wind chill when it is dead calm.
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Old 12-22-04, 10:16 AM
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Wind chill matters to ANY exposed tissue. That said it is wise to cover all your body when riding to
avoid the possiblity of frostbite.
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Old 12-22-04, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by OhiOH
I always figured wind chill was kind of irrelevant when it comes to biking. Seems to me I create my own 15-20 mph wind and thus wind chill when it is dead calm.
You should have been with me this morning. We had a strong Northeast wind (20 + mph) and temp of 12 F when i left. I rode 17 miles in 1 hour 40 minutes. The wind chill was well below ZERO. Trust me when i say this.....

When i was heading North, East or West (crosswinds) it felt like someone was repeatedly punching me in the face. When i was heading South, i felt like i was sitting in my living room watching re-reruns of Barney Miller. WINDCHILL MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
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Old 12-22-04, 10:34 AM
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Windchill really becomes a factor when you flat and are on the side of the road with no protection, and your activity level drops to zero!
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Old 12-22-04, 10:50 AM
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YES!!! It is COLD in the wind!!! When riding into the wind, it is even COLDER!!!
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Old 12-22-04, 10:59 AM
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Ranger,
I understand, but picture this. (I have no idea if this is fact or not) If your doing say 10 (10.2 in your case) mph into that 17 mph wind, your ‘wind speed’ is 27. If it were dead calm and you were riding 27 mph would there be any difference?

That’s what I meant when I said wind chill doesn’t matter.

And madhouse,
You are correct. I had to stop just to change battery packs Monday night (wind chill 3) and it was cold!

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Old 12-22-04, 11:23 AM
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I think it matters. No real evidence, but it always feels colder to me. Plus I think I got some slight frostbite on my eyeballs this morning. Seriously. I am buying goggles on my way home tonight.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:37 AM
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The outside temperature is irrelevant.
The temperature you are actually encountering is a combination of temperature, wind & your speed.
Don't dress for the thermometer, dress for the temperature you'll be riding in.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by madhouse
Windchill really becomes a factor when you flat and are on the side of the road with no protection, and your activity level drops to zero!
Whereas, windbreaks do lower the windchill obviously, activity level doesn't have to drop to zero. You can be pedalling as fast as possible and if you have winds below 0 hitting exposed flesh, (face) you are going to feel it.

You don't need a flat to feel it.
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Old 12-22-04, 12:18 PM
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I typically post the windchill temp along with the actual air temp. Mostly because it sounds more impressive
I really don't think the wind speed makes any difference to me when I'm completely covered with windproof stuff, goggles etc.

I do agree that we generate our own windchill. This can be compounded when riding into the wind or reduced when the wind is at our backs. If you ride with skin exposed you would notice a difference.
 
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Old 12-22-04, 01:54 PM
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Riding 10 MPH into a 17 MPH wind should feel the same as riding 27 into a dead calm.

However, it does mean you're going to be on the road for a lot longer on the same route, so in that respect, a headwind is worse.

I hate headwinds. It's a hill that you never get to ride down the other side of.
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Old 12-22-04, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by John Ridley
I hate headwinds. It's a hill that you never get to ride down the other side of.
Amen. Headwinds, chill, rain, hate 'em all. That's why there is a trainer in the garage. It eliminates all my excuses.
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Old 12-22-04, 02:17 PM
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Windchill is definitely a factor. It doesn't get that cold here, but as it gets cooler I am very comfortable placing 1-4 layers of fleece under my jersey only in front. At temps down to 30 a jacket or vest keeps me warm in front, but my back sweats. Fleece layers only in front are perfect. I also put little fleece pieces under my bib knicks to help protect my knees.
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Old 12-22-04, 02:30 PM
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I think windchill makes a difference, but I think activity level neutralizes it's brutality to some extent.
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Old 12-22-04, 03:41 PM
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One thing Canadians know a lot about

here's a link that explains windchill very well

http://www.msc.ec.gc.ca/education/windchill/index_e.cfm
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Old 12-22-04, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by webist
Amen. Headwinds, chill, rain, hate 'em all. That's why there is a trainer in the garage. It eliminates all my excuses.
Trainer < Riding - the trainer is an excuse!!! I will never own one.
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Old 12-22-04, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by John Ridley
I hate headwinds. It's a hill that you never get to ride down the other side of.
You do get to ride down the other side . . . when you turn around and they become tailwinds.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by shreklookalike
You do get to ride down the other side . . . when you turn around and they become tailwinds.
Maybe where you live. It always shifts 180 degrees for me.

I read an account of a guy cycling along side of the Columbia River. He said the head wind was so strong that he had to pedal to make forward progress- downhill. When he stopped to rest, the wind slowly pushed him back uphill.

Wind chill doesn't seem to bother me much until the ambient temperature gets into the teens.

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Old 12-23-04, 07:48 AM
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Yeah, it matters.

That said, windchill values used by the NWS and other big weather services are exaggerated. Things aren't as bad as under the old system, which was an open invitation to tall tales, but even the new values aren't accurate.

The new standard was derived from, among other things, heat loss and reports of cold sensations from *exposed skin* on the face. If you have proper clothing, then you're not going to be susceptible to wind chill to the degree of the NWS standard.

It probably doesn't hurt that I'm not a small guy, either. I don't lose quite the same percentage of my body's energy from a given gust over my body area as a thinner guy would do.

Someday I'm going to systematize my own reactions to weather, so that I'll know exactly how much to discount the windchill predictions. For now, something like half the difference between the real temperature and alleged windchill equivalent is a good enough estimate.
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Old 12-23-04, 08:32 AM
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Today was -30C; with the windchill included it was -40C. The wind was from the west at 15K. If I am going west at 15K against a 15K wind I think that would be equivalent to a 30K wind. It doesn't take much wind at -30 to make exposed skin freeze really fast. Any stronger wind and I wouldn't bike for my own safety.

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Old 12-23-04, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by shreklookalike
You do get to ride down the other side . . . when you turn around and they become tailwinds.
Nope, not around here. The wind is always from the west. In the morning, when it would normally be at my back, it's usually calm or turbulent (random directions). In the evening on the way back, it's in my face.

There were several days this fall when I had a headwind both ways, it was turning around during the day.
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