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What’s too windy to ride?

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What’s too windy to ride?

Old 01-12-20, 01:57 AM
  #26  
BengalCat
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Where I live it is good weather all year round. However, I am old and can only fit in two or on rare occasion three rides a week. Consequently, I follow the weather forecasts closely, mainly for winds. If where I am riding is going to be at a double-digit constant velocity, (yeah, 10 MPH or stronger), I don't ride that day.
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Old 01-12-20, 02:24 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
To the two posters above-- don't try that technique here. I live in a valley shaped like a horseshoe, open toward the Pacific Ocean. Into this valley open 6 mountain passes.

We get winds from every single direction, often all at the same time. Riding west into a headwind? Turn south... right into a headwind. I've ridden a three hour loop and had 15 minutes of tailwind.

Add to that about 1,200ft of elevation change between the "bottom" of the valley and the edge of the foothills, and you can have wind from the NNE @ 1,500ft, and wind from the SSW @ 900ft.

Entirely possible to ride 15 miles into a headwind, turn around, and ride 15 miles into a headwind.



I certainly do. With the unpredictability of the winds, any day forecast for double digit wind speed, I'll eschew the roads in favor of hitting the dirt. Speeds aren't as high on loose surfaces anyway.

I've been "caught out" in some of the most demoralizing wind to ever blow (riding directly into +20mph winds is like a waking nightmare,) and make every effort to avoid that happening again...

with one shining exception. When the wind is just right, and the wife agrees to give me a ride home, it's like the stars aligning for a once in a lifetime ride.

Nice.. 45.6. I don't think I've ever had the once in a lifetime ride but I do seem to get a lot of rides that I swear are 75% in my face (at least it sure seems like it). Most every ride though is for every wind assisted PR or top 10 I get, I'll have an equal amount of ball busting personal worst on the back half.

Last edited by u235; 01-12-20 at 02:31 AM.
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Old 01-12-20, 03:35 AM
  #28  
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Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort, a little more than an hour drive from here, had an 85 mph wind gust earlier today and closed early. Pretty darn blustery down here, too. Was really hoping to leave at 430 (I like to ride early) for a nice, long ride headed out toward the mountain. But I dunno. Will have to check the wind again in a couple hours.

Not sure what other people use, but I like sailflow.com for my wind forecasting. It seems pretty accurate here.
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Old 01-12-20, 12:10 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post


I could never figure out why people plan rides according to wind direction either. If I start into a headwind, I know it's going to be tough but I'll enjoy the return.

If I start with a tailwind, I know to conserve for the return. Pretty simple.


In my area, it's generally calm in the morning, so it's often possible to get a tailwind in the afternoon, beating Murphy's law of wind.

Occasionally, winds will shift over the day, giving mostly tailwind.

Rides are planned into the wind on a more sheltered route, and with the wind on a more exposed one.

I have bailed for 25+ mph wind, or ride the trails instead of road.
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Old 01-12-20, 02:48 PM
  #30  
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I am off the bike and trike for now because of the temp. But come Mar there will be some days warm enough I can ride. However it will be windy, it always is out here on the plains. I try to plan my route so I have a cross wind. It is not much of a problem at all on a trike.
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Old 01-12-20, 02:54 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I'm almost strictly a pavement rider, so a question for people who ride both roads and gravel-- do you have different weather thresholds for each?
Not wind based but I'll ride gravel/off road in colder and a little less in active rain. Most of my rides are a mix of trail/gravel/road so I don't really have a separation.
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Old 01-12-20, 03:11 PM
  #32  
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All I know is the gravel path around the baseball diamonds get no fun to ride on this winter. They got wet enough where you're just sinking in and it's super hard to pedal. Maybe other gravel paths are more compacted....


The snow is what stopped me last night. I tried to go but didn't get very far and turned around. My rear wheel was spinning. Front tires was sliding out at times and the plow hadn't been through on my roads to help me out. I have been riding in the snow a couple times just fine but not this time. I almost got wore out just going a half of a block and back. LOL. This snow was a lot heavier and wetter and just grabbed the bike. And was deeper. The last few times the snow was much lighter an fluffier. I mean it took more work but I was good. Possibly a fat tire bike might have worked. I don't know. I'll be able to go tonight though. The roads got cleared. It could be somewhat dangerous though as they are slick cuz it's wet and if it gets real cold it'll be like ice again tonight.
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Old 01-12-20, 03:35 PM
  #33  
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Reminds me of a ride I did up into the mountains. Buddy and I were riding to Mt Baldy. 4500 ft up into the mountain, my pedal began to skip at every stroke. Whoa! I thought I broke my crank or bottom bracket. I stopped and dismounted noticing I started to slide down the pavement. That was a really scary feeling but then I noticed I was on black ice. Whoops, time to head home ha ha!

One of my ride partners at that point, on a November day toward Mt Baldy. On this ride, we saw a little snow on the side but the ride I spoke of, the image of Mike standing by his bike is the road I was sliding down on the black ice. I surely didn't want to go sliding down that road!


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Old 01-12-20, 03:57 PM
  #34  
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I rode up GMR/GRR in mid-December a couple of years back. Just before the drop into Baldy Village, the temperature was sitting at 27º. Black ice, white ice, hoarfrost, that ride had it all.

The hot chocolate I drank at the village still stands as the best I've ever had, though the conditions may have been a factor. Not so much as a wisp of wind, though. Dead calm.
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Old 01-12-20, 04:40 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I rode up GMR/GRR in mid-December a couple of years back. Just before the drop into Baldy Village, the temperature was sitting at 27º. Black ice, white ice, hoarfrost, that ride had it all.

The hot chocolate I drank at the village still stands as the best I've ever had, though the conditions may have been a factor. Not so much as a wisp of wind, though. Dead calm.
Ever get a chance to do it by night, it's pretty cool! Had a group of 20 ride up few years back. With a bud couple of times and a couple of times solo. Can be pretty eerie going up at night alone.

Coldest night ride 39 degrees. Coldest rain ride 29 degrees.

My wife coming up a few seconds behind me.



Solo ride, reflector/light test shot.

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Old 01-12-20, 05:21 PM
  #36  
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I don’t mind wind but I fear falling trees
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Old 01-12-20, 11:10 PM
  #37  
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What’s too windy to ride? How Much Wind Do You Tolerate?
Originally Posted by biketampa View Post
Wondering what people’s threshold is for skipping a ride due to wind?

I had 3 hour gravel ride scheduled for today but with winds forecasted as 15-25+mph with gusts up to 40+mph I figured it’d be wise to push it off until tomorrow.

Sure I probably could have pushed through but I’m guessing it would have been a bit of a sufferfest.
I have previously posted about assessing wind speed semi-quantitatively while on the road without an anemometer to this thread, "
What’s too windy to ride? How Much Wind Do You Tolerate?"
Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
At what point will you cancel your ride because of the wind? 15 mph sustained winds? 20? 30? I've had a couple beautiful days here lately, but the wind has been ridiculous.

There's no way I can have an enjoyable time in 20 mph winds.
Originally Posted by Reynolds View Post
I'm not used to evaluate wind speed. but I ride as long as the wind doesn't blow me off the road
Originally Posted by Jim fromBoston View Post
On my Excell spreadsheet I track:..


  • Wind speed and direction: Either as recorded on a weather station, or on a personal 1 to 6 scale (headwind / tailwind) based on flying flags; to explain variations in average speed...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I a cycle-commute to work (14 miles one-way) so I have motivation to go out and ride, no matter what the wind. Here in Boston, wind speeds of 4 of 6 on my scale are rare, less than once a year, and gusts do have the force to push me laterally.

I don't conscientiously think about falling tree limbs, but such usually occur with rainstorms that dissuade riding.

It's useful to assess wind speed and direction because on good and bad riding days, sometimes it's hard to know if it's me and my energy levels or the wind that's responsible.

My most dangerous wind riding was along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with gusts that vigorously pushed us laterally to the left; about a 5 of 6, graded retrospectively.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My idea of a 1 to 6 scale of wind phenomena (waving flags) to guage wind force (speed) is based on the formalized Beaufort Wind Force Scale

The Beaufort scale is from 1 (calm) to 12 (hurricane force) and the determination of the scale number is based on defined observations of phenomena such as rising smoke; papers, dust and debris on the ground; wave heights; flags; umbrellas unfurling, etc.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The Beaufort scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort wind force scale
On review of the Beaufort scale descriptions, I would estimate my determination of 4 of 6 equivalent to the Beaufort number of about 5 of 13 (“fresh breeze” ; wind speed of 19-24 mph/ 29-38 km/hr).
Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
Jim's 1-6 scale reminded me of the Beaufort scale, which goes to 12 (for hurricanes) - and I suspect the numbers are fairly close, seeing how a 6 on the Beaufort scale is a "strong breeze" of 25-31 mph. It isn't until you get to an 8 or a gale that twigs get snapped off and progress gets generally impeded.

I always liked the description of 5 on the Beaufort scale: Fresh Breeze. Sounds nice, but at 19-24 mph, above most cyclists' comfort range. Seems like many cyclists start to be dissuaded when there's anything more than a Gentle Breeze [8-12 mph].

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 01-13-20 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 01-13-20, 10:16 AM
  #38  
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In Southern California , we have Santa Ana winds which tend to be very unpredictable. I have left in the morning(I live 15 miles from the coast) and had no wind with nice temperatures and when I get to the beach my phone rings . It is my wife telling me it is blowing a gale at my house, not a breath of wind on the beach! I tell her to meet me at my shop in Ventura , I am NOT fighting that wind!! I have had to get home several times with a mild offshore 5-10 MPH headwind can be common this time of the year and is challenging. I will usually ride these out unless I am not feeling 100% , then I call wifey and have her come get me. I am in it for the enjoyment not torture. Joe
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Old 01-13-20, 10:34 AM
  #39  
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Commuting, I'll cuss about winds over 15 mph but I'll ride unless the gusts are over 45 mph. Although I will change my route to avoid all those lovely, big, old trees which might decide to do some self-pruning as I ride underneath them.

Fun rides, I'll check the wind forecast carefully before heading out if it's blowing over 20 mph. Take my medicine outbound, then let the wind blow me home. It's easy to say, "Take it easy going out with a tailwind," but it's much harder for me in practice.
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Old 01-15-20, 05:57 AM
  #40  
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Wind sucks ... Did a 30 mile ride last Saturday with between 20 and 30 mph winds, the way out was with us but the 15 miles back was hard work (especially the last 5), one section we normally do between 14 and 16 mph easily we were struggling to do 5.5 mph.

Our short 20 mile mid week ride, the last few miles is across a gravel track that's lumpier, wetter and a bit softer than ideal and it's virtually always into a strong headwind ..... the combination of that and the not great terrain totally sucks the speed out of you and every single one of the group has come to hate that last stretch with a vengeance but we all know the pubs at the end
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Old 01-15-20, 10:46 AM
  #41  
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Wrong question... Wind is relative. The question becomes "how much am I willing to suffer" and "what is my skill level on the bike" (bike handling is pretty key if the crosswinds are blowing you across the road).

Years ago in VA Beach I misjudged the weather and wound up having to ride over 10 miles directly into gale force Tropical Storm winds - 35-40 sustained with gusts over 50. I survived (hence my writing this response) but I wasn't zestfully jolly at the time. Mostly, even on "normal" extremely windy days when they post high wind warnings I still go out and ride. Unless you can plan a perfect point-to-point tailwind ride, you're going to be in a headwind 60% of the time, crosswinds 30% of the time, and blissful and effortless tailwind for 10% of the time. Guaranteed... It just happens that way.
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Old 01-15-20, 03:53 PM
  #42  
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What’s too windy to ride?
When you can't get on your bike! Go to 0:45


Last edited by Clipped_in; 01-15-20 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 01-15-20, 05:48 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
In Southern California , we have Santa Ana winds which tend to be very unpredictable. I have left in the morning(I live 15 miles from the coast) and had no wind with nice temperatures and when I get to the beach my phone rings . It is my wife telling me it is blowing a gale at my house, not a breath of wind on the beach! I tell her to meet me at my shop in Ventura , I am NOT fighting that wind!! I have had to get home several times with a mild offshore 5-10 MPH headwind can be common this time of the year and is challenging. I will usually ride these out unless I am not feeling 100% , then I call wifey and have her come get me. I am in it for the enjoyment not torture. Joe

I actually enjoy riding in the wind. At times if it's blowing hard, I'd ride it because it is like climbing. The only problem is arriving at the coast. The sand hurts when it blasts one's legs.

Couple images of different times on the same ride arriving at the beach sand storm.

Solo ride, and I mean solo!



The next year with a couple of buds.
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Old 01-20-20, 08:23 PM
  #44  
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A cat 5 hurricane is where I draw the line.
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Old 01-21-20, 05:41 AM
  #45  
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Too windy to ride - crosswinds blowing you out of the lane/ blowing you over, or headwinds that make breathing hard or near impossible. Those would mean also falling tree/branch and flying debris hazards.
Too windy to want to ride - over 40-45 mph.
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Old 01-21-20, 06:36 AM
  #46  
Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post
I actually enjoy riding in the wind. At times if it's blowing hard, I'd ride it because it is like climbing. The only problem is arriving at the coast. The sand hurts when it blasts one's legs.

Couple images of different times on the same ride arriving at the beach sand storm.

Solo ride, and I mean solo!

The next year with a couple of buds.




One hazard of wind not mentioned in this thread as far as I recall is blowing dust affecting the eye. Several years ago on a routine commute with nondescript wind, I suffered a corneal abrasion:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… From an online medical textbook:
Originally Posted by Up-to-Date.com.
Often patients are too uncomfortable to work, drive, or read, and the pain frequently precludes sleep. Multiple attempts by the patient to "wash out" the eye can further disrupt the epithelial surface….

Patients with a foreign body may or may not recall an episode with material falling or flying into the eye since, depending upon the type and size of the foreign body, symptoms may not be immediate, or they may be immediate, then abate for awhile, then recur…

Patients may have had severe pain for several hours by the time they seek care. They are visibly uncomfortable, pacing or rocking or rubbing the eye, and they can be disruptive to a waiting room. During the initial triage period, they should be offered a darkened room in which to wait, asked to wait quietly with the eyes closed, and encouraged not to rub the eye…

Most corneal abrasions heal regardless of therapy in 24 to 72 hours. Vision should return to normal in that time,
I wasn't able to work today as it was difficult even to just keep the uninvolved eye open because that irritated the affected eye. The eye doctor didn't think a patch would be useful, though I used an improvised one for a while until I realized it was probably further abrading the cornea.

I was given an antibiotic ointment and I've spent most of my day with my eyes closed. I took Alleve for the pain, and have some heavy-duty analgesics available if I need them to sleep tonight. Pain management to get over the initial phase is discussed in that article.
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Old 01-21-20, 07:28 AM
  #47  
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Wind per se doesn't bother me. A headwind is a chance to work on form, and since you're going slower you see more of the scenery. It's a matter of adjusting one's attitude. I ride for a specified period of time, speed/distance are just the output of the process, not goals. Therefore, a low average speed doesn't bother me, and having to take extra time to complete a specific distance is not applicable.
However, as others have said above, I'll avoid routes with heavier traffic and narrow shoulders so I don't get blown into traffic by cross winds (gusts over 35 mph, maybe?). If possible, I'll choose routes with fewer trees (if I'm visiting family in RI, this is usually not a problem), but if that isn't possible I'll skip the ride. Anyone who has a yard with trees has found even smallish branches driven several inches into the ground by falling and/or wind. Not something I'd risk for a ride.

Weather related reasons for canceling a ride (in order of likelihood that I'll cancel):
I don't ride in the fog.
Thunderstorms - no ride. Regular rain - maybe, depends on temp, overall motivation to ride, etc. The coldest I've ever been in my life was on a ride in the upper 30s °F with rain. I shivered violently for more than half an hour after that one. This from someone who grew up in Wisconsin and delivered papers (and, lets admit it, went skating/sledding/etc.) in temps of -30°F and lower.
Snowy rides - no, I'm strictly road, though I would like to get some studded tires and try it.
Ice on the roads - this is a judgement call, depends on whether it's patches or significant coverage (e.g. roads are uniformly wet/icy).
Wind - as above, if the wind gusts are in the range of 35+ mph and there is not a good low traffic/wide shoulder/treeless option, no go.
Cold - I've ridden in temps down into the single digits (°F), cold alone is usually not enough to stop a ride. I ski/hike/backpack, so I have plenty of cold weather gear, and I know how to use it. It can be de-motivating, I admit, so I have occasionally decided not to ride in the cold.
Heat - never cancelled a ride due to heat, I just sweat more and probably ride more slowly. Usually my feet suffer the most - they are closer to the hot pavement, on a couple of rides I've noticed hot feet. That said, while I've ridden in weather with heat indices > 100°F, I'm in the NE, so I've never experienced desert heat or Australia outback type heat. And, I'm getting older, so this may change.
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Old 01-21-20, 11:52 AM
  #48  
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I'm an urban/recreational foldie biker, and it would be too windy if wind gusts are over 20-25 mph, and that does not necessarily take into consideration the aerodynamics of skyscrapers, if I commute to/from NYC. With skyscrapers, the wind can be more concentrated to the flow of the streets, thus making winds feel faster than the weather forecast.
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Old 01-21-20, 03:56 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by ChesterCounty View Post
15 to 20 steady today for the most part ok but cross winds can be nasty w gusts or coming out of tree line or berms. Lucky riding country roads so less issue dodging traffic
That's a normal day in Wichita, KS.

I hated biking there! Spent 8 years in that hellhole, but I still rode a lot in the summer. If you waited for the wind to slow down, you'd never ride.
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Old 01-21-20, 05:16 PM
  #50  
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Gusty Cross winds keep me from riding. When I ride, I seem to lean against the wind to keep from going over. When the gust stops, I have to scramble to stay upright. 45 mph gusts are too much.
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