Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

How much wind is too much?

Notices
Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

How much wind is too much?

Old 10-08-20, 05:47 PM
  #1  
GlennR
On Your Left
Thread Starter
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 7,269

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2245 Post(s)
Liked 1,292 Times in 674 Posts
How much wind is too much?

It's been rather windy here for the past week or two. Wind speeds in the 8-15mph with gusts up to 20mph. So today the wind was 21mph with gusts to 31mph and I decided to go out anyway. Heading into it was a slog... like dragging a truck tire behind me. With a tailwind I was riding 50% faster. And then the crosswind was an experience. I was on a nice 3% downhill doing 32mph when I passed the golf course and even with the "grip of death" on the bars I got blown 3' to the left and just glad there ware no cars passing me.

So.. when is too much wind?
GlennR is offline  
Likes For GlennR:
Old 10-08-20, 05:58 PM
  #2  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 35,170

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5914 Post(s)
Liked 1,599 Times in 838 Posts
For me it used to be 10mph was plenty. Then after a year in Wyoming I got used to the wind and will happily go out on windier days.
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 06:03 PM
  #3  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 8,865

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2488 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 929 Times in 632 Posts
I rode on a stormy day a few years back. It was lull to gust and back in consistent cycles. Stuff racing sailors know well. The lulls were close to 20. The gusts were up to the high 30s. Two stretches of that ride were crosswinds and open. I got caught on the first in full gust. I needed my entire half of the road to ride it and didn't dare slow and try to stop. Missed my first driveway. The next I pulled into so I could make a downwind stop, then crouched, leaning into the wind the rest of the gust cycle. The second crosswind road I simply stopped as the gust started and waited it out.

I've passed on opportunities to do that again.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 06:12 PM
  #4  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 8,865

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2488 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 929 Times in 632 Posts
To answer the question of how much is too much, I look at the roads I'll be riding and the bike as well. My very low BB, long and stable Raleigh Competition with its wide, soft tires is very different from my high BB fix gear that is basically a 1980s race bike (and the bike I was riding in the post above). Roads that are protected by trees and buildings can be far easier to ride than open roads. (But with the awareness of flying branches and gusts around buildings.)

I can ride into Portland and back home in far more wind than I would ever ride out in the county. In my commute days, wild almost never factored into the ride or no decision.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 06:26 PM
  #5  
GlennR
On Your Left
Thread Starter
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 7,269

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2245 Post(s)
Liked 1,292 Times in 674 Posts
^^^^^^^
I ride a 14# bike with 25mm tires on Zipp 303s.

Last edited by GlennR; 10-08-20 at 06:37 PM.
GlennR is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 06:31 PM
  #6  
Dean V
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,651
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 944 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 131 Times in 86 Posts
It helps if you ride shallow aluminium rims.
High winds are good for Strava KOM's
Dean V is online now  
Likes For Dean V:
Old 10-08-20, 06:39 PM
  #7  
wthensler 
Senior Member
 
wthensler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Gatorland and BlueRidge heaven
Posts: 761

Bikes: 2021 Trek Domane SLR 7, 2012 Giant Defy 0, 2012 Trek Domane 6.2 P1, Bianchi Infinito CV disc Di2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 207 Post(s)
Liked 942 Times in 236 Posts
I’d say 15 is about the max that I’ll go out. It’s the blustery winds and especially the crosswinds that really make it unpleasant. I’m a bigger guy (192 lbs) and I get blown to bits to the point of danger in windy conditions. And yes, shallow rims make a big difference.
__________________
Ride hard and ride on......
wthensler is offline  
Likes For wthensler:
Old 10-08-20, 06:52 PM
  #8  
rubiksoval
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Music City, USA
Posts: 3,833

Bikes: Felt AR

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2242 Post(s)
Liked 929 Times in 453 Posts
Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
High winds are good for Strava KOM's
The only thing that pops into my mind at the mention of wind.

Figure out which direction it's blowing and snipe accordingly.
rubiksoval is offline  
Likes For rubiksoval:
Old 10-08-20, 06:57 PM
  #9  
Velo Vol 
VFL For Life
 
Velo Vol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 38,319

Bikes: Velo Volmobile

Mentioned: 687 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15291 Post(s)
Liked 607 Times in 424 Posts
Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
For me it used to be 10mph was plenty. Then after a year in Wyoming I got used to the wind and will happily go out on windier days.
What's there to be happy about?
__________________
Velo Vol is online now  
Likes For Velo Vol:
Old 10-08-20, 07:15 PM
  #10  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 3,985
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1103 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 209 Times in 123 Posts
I only worry about wind when it's cold. We rarely get winds more than the 15 - 20 mph range, but I did catch a day with 30+ mph winds and thought it was fun. I wouldn't want to do it every day, but it was interesting for the experience. It was coming straight out of the south so I took a route that allowed me to handle one of my tougher hills with ease. Of course it was very warm and I was on empty country roads. Under other conditions it could have been much less pleasant.
jon c. is online now  
Old 10-08-20, 07:29 PM
  #11  
GlennR
On Your Left
Thread Starter
 
GlennR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Long Island, New York, USA
Posts: 7,269

Bikes: Trek Emonda SLR, Sram eTap, Zipp 303

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2245 Post(s)
Liked 1,292 Times in 674 Posts
Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
one of my tougher hills
Come on the only places above sea level in Florida are the highway overpasses
GlennR is offline  
Likes For GlennR:
Old 10-08-20, 07:51 PM
  #12  
yarbrough462 
Pizzaiolo Americano
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Stevens Point, WI
Posts: 470

Bikes: 2021 Trek Domane, Bianchi Intenso, Trek Top Fuel, Trek Procaliber 9.6, Orbea Occam AM

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 246 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 40 Posts
Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Come on the only places above sea level in Florida are the highway overpasses
The Tallahassee area is actually pretty hilly...
yarbrough462 is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 08:13 PM
  #13  
popeye
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Newport Beach, CA
Posts: 1,643

Bikes: S works Tarmac, Felt TK2 track

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 63 Times in 44 Posts
The problem with wind from my point of view is at some point there are too many small particles in the air and you are working hard and drawing them deep into the lungs.
popeye is offline  
Likes For popeye:
Old 10-08-20, 08:46 PM
  #14  
genejockey
Klaatu..Verata..Necktie?
 
genejockey's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 2,768

Bikes: Canyon Endurace, 105; Battaglin MAX, Chorus; Bianchi 928 Veloce; Ritchey Road Logic, Dura Ace

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 917 Post(s)
Liked 1,049 Times in 558 Posts
Gee, never thought of it in terms of mph, because the winds here are often quite gusty. I can usually adjust my ride to avoid the worst of it, because the closer you are to various gaps in the hills, the worse it is, AND it generally gets progressively stronger till dark. So, I might start 4 miles farther south which puts me 4 miles farther from the gap, then start my ride upwind to that other point, so the part riding into the worst of the wind is 1) when the winds aren't so strong, and 2) not the last 4 miles of the ride.

I also tend to ride my steel bikes on windy days, too, because they're less affected by crosswinds than the CF bikes.
genejockey is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 10:10 PM
  #15  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Valley of the Sun.
Posts: 35,170

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5914 Post(s)
Liked 1,599 Times in 838 Posts
On this commute I had to duck under the roof over the entrance to a chiropractor's office for 20 minutes 'til this blew past.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bl5Jnn9B...on_share_sheet
LesterOfPuppets is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 12:14 AM
  #16  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 21,445
Mentioned: 69 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12762 Post(s)
Liked 4,125 Times in 2,293 Posts
Maybe around 20 mph? Sometimes you can find a route that cheats the wind.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 02:39 AM
  #17  
SurferCyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Pembrokeshire, UK
Posts: 70

Bikes: Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2, Cannondale CaaD 8, Diamondback MTB(ancient)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 20 Posts
Wind sucks but where I live you either put up with it or don't ride outside a lot of the time. The absolute key thing is ensure you go out into headwind so get tailwind home (if at all possible). Getting it wrong and having a 20 mile headwind slog home is gruesome.

To answer the original question, if wind was consistently 30mph + then I'll reconsider going out, anything less I'll ride (and curse).

Last edited by SurferCyclist; 10-09-20 at 02:47 AM.
SurferCyclist is offline  
Likes For SurferCyclist:
Old 10-09-20, 05:30 AM
  #18  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 11,977

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 185 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3817 Post(s)
Liked 1,499 Times in 987 Posts
I like really windy days for PR and KOM hunting. Almost every local KOM and top ten is either wind assisted or paceline assisted, so wind doping is like EPO in the 1990s -- everyone does it.

I reclaimed a top ten last month on a 1.4 mile gradual roller climb with help from a 16 mph tailwind. I had 6th for a while, then got nudged out, but got 6th again ... although it's already dropped to 7th. Everyone snipes the same segments in fall and spring when our usual south wind shifts to north and, on some days, east or west. I snipe on weekdays since I'm retired and can pick pretty much any day when the wind is right.

But it's kind of a joke. I sandbag to conserve energy, loafing into headwinds, so my average overall speed isn't impressive on really windy days. There are a couple dozen local riders who could easily beat my best times if they happened to ride the same segment on the same days in the same wind conditions. It's more impressive when a genuinely strong rider snags a KOM on a loop segment, which means he/she had to battle the headwind to do it.

One of my favorite loops is pretty well sheltered against crosswinds, partly by trees but mostly by the peculiar rolling prairie that diverts the worse of the crosswinds. It's surprisingly neutral when heading east and west, even when there's a fierce southerly or northerly wind. And it's a two lane access road with relatively little traffic, so there's little risk of danger even if we do get blown around a little. There are some segments I won't ride in crosswinds because drivers pass too closely and we need more than 3 feet for a buffer against crosswinds. So on really windy days I'll stick to a couple of familiar loops on access roads and do a few repeats trying to snag a PR.

I can avoid most traffic so I'm not too worried about vehicles on windy days. Main thing I worry about above 20 mph is debris blowing around. I caught a plastic bag in my rear derailleur a few years ago. That was exciting for a moment. If the wind is steady I'm not too worried but when it's gusting above 20 mph I start keeping an eye on those temporary road signs and barriers set up with sandbags, and overhanging tree limbs. Disease killing local live oaks makes them treacherous, especially after a rain.

I don't have any high profile rims but with the one set of 30mm or so rims I do have I can feel the difference in crosswinds. I usually prefer the low profile rims anyway.
canklecat is offline  
Likes For canklecat:
Old 10-09-20, 05:55 AM
  #19  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 301

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 144 Post(s)
Liked 224 Times in 110 Posts
Originally Posted by SurferCyclist View Post
The absolute key thing is ensure you go out into headwind so get tailwind home (if at all possible). Getting it wrong and having a 20 mile headwind slog home is gruesome.
I'll go for a ride after work and more times than not, the wind dies down to nearly nothing as we get close to sunset. So I head out into the wind, looking forward to a fast ride home with a stiff tailwind.... Only to find the tailwind has vanished! Oh well, at least I'm not headed home into the wind.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 06:00 AM
  #20  
Reflector Guy
Senior Member
 
Reflector Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Chicago
Posts: 301

Bikes: '17 Trek, '20 Bianchi, '77 Sears Free Spirit (long since retired)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 144 Post(s)
Liked 224 Times in 110 Posts
Originally Posted by popeye View Post
The problem with wind from my point of view is at some point there are too many small particles in the air and you are working hard and drawing them deep into the lungs.
Those are the windy-day's version of the small bugs and gnats we get on the days with no wind.

A couple days ago, I rode after work and it was like being pelted with bugs! There was no wind - not even the tiniest breeze - so the bugs had apparently all decided it was time to party.
Reflector Guy is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 07:14 AM
  #21  
55murray
Senior Member
 
55murray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 405

Bikes: 1955 20" Murray modified cruiser, 2007 Trek 7.3 FX, 1980 Miyata 610, several other vintage coaster brake machines

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by wthensler View Post
Id say 15 is about the max that Ill go out.
That is my limit as well.
55murray is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 07:34 AM
  #22  
topflightpro
Senior Member
 
topflightpro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,060
Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1603 Post(s)
Liked 333 Times in 231 Posts
I used to live in the midwest, where it was flat, wide open, and very windy. Our normal rides took us past several wind farms and a 15 mph wind was pretty much normal. The few trees that there were all grew slanted to the east as they couldn't grow straight with the constant wind from the west.

But we would also get windstorms, that would run winds up to 30-40 mph with 70mph gusts. The wind was strong enough that I could feel my 3-story apartment building moving with the wind.

Anyway, on a couple occasions, I found myself in the middle of a wind/dust storm while out riding. One time, the storm came in as I turned east (all roads ran nearly perfectly N/S-E/W), and I was cruising along at about 45mph with the wind at my back. I didn't even get my HR up. But then I turned back north and had to deal with a horrible side wind. Older Mavic Ksyriums were like sails in a side wind. I was always leaning into the wind. There would sometimes be breaks in the wind, and due to my lean, I would swerve left, nearly falling over. I would speed up or slow down to try to avoid the tumbleweeds. If they hit, they would often get stuck in the rear wheel/triangle.

I then turned back west. I was grinding in my 39-27 and traveling maybe 6-8 mph. After about an hour of that, I'd had enough. I stopped to pull out my phone and call my wife to come get me. It was then that I saw that I had 4 voicemails from her cause she didn't want me riding out in that storm.
topflightpro is online now  
Old 10-09-20, 07:38 AM
  #23  
SurferCyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Pembrokeshire, UK
Posts: 70

Bikes: Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2, Cannondale CaaD 8, Diamondback MTB(ancient)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 20 Posts
As for getting PBs' or KOMs well it's blindingly obvious it's what 99.9% of people do, wait for a howling tailwind and then go for it. We all know that the top guys can beat our times whatever so it's all a joke. Those who like to boast about their KOMs, well kinda tragic but each to their own I guess. I know the few KOMs I've had are only borrowed and there are probably millions of quicker riders in the world so pretty meaningless in grand scheme of things. Nice to get one for sure but don't kid yourself you're the quickest.
SurferCyclist is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 08:44 AM
  #24  
Synmag
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 59
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
Those are the windy-day's version of the small bugs and gnats we get on the days with no wind.

A couple days ago, I rode after work and it was like being pelted with bugs! There was no wind - not even the tiniest breeze - so the bugs had apparently all decided it was time to party.
My usual route is on a paved rolling path through the woods next to a small river. I like to ride late afternoon/early evening after the strong sun but before the temps drop. I noticed that all these little buggers like to hang out over the path just before sunset as if they were sunbathing. I have learned to avoid them by tilting my head down and sucking air through my teeth but occasionally I suck down a large bug just as I inhale. I'm no doctor but there's gotta be some safety mechanism built in because each time it seems like they end up in my stomach.

I agree with the above comment that sailors are familiar with gusts and the same applies to biking. When I used to commute, on windy days it always seemed to me that no matter which way I was riding, it was always into a headwind. This was in a downtown setting with tall buildings with a wind tunnel effect.

When I'm fitness riding my general rule is that I don't want to ride into a headwind where I can't make progress once I get into an aero position. Typically with gusts it becomes my HIIT training.

TBH I don't know how you road riders do it any day never mind in crosswind. I'd fear for my life. It is nice on a country road with no traffic though. These new bike radars definitely help.
Synmag is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 11:32 AM
  #25  
rower2cyclist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 187

Bikes: Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 Disc

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked 45 Times in 27 Posts
Anytime I see 7-8mph in the forecast I start checking my indoor setup to make sure everything is in place. I always hated the wind on or off the bike.
rower2cyclist is offline  
Likes For rower2cyclist:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.