Cycling - Knowledge

Cycling Basics: How to Master Cycling in the Wind

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Cycling is a brilliant practice and a sport that requires a minimum investment. Often unruly weather, especially harsh winds disturb such a practice. Just like a swimmer faces an intensive challenge to swim against the current, a cyclist too may face a similar difficulty if she is biking against the direction of the wind. Cycling in the wind becomes very difficult as the current of a strongly blowing wind may reduce your cycling performance to half; in spite of putting a lot of effort in pedalling, you get disappointed with the unsatisfactory result. We show you how to tame the winds and ride like a boss.

Important Factors Before Cycling in the Wind

We should keep the following points in mind before riding into the wind, like:

  • When you are riding under the shelter of hedges or tall buildings, have preparation in your mind to have the stability when the gusts of wind with the gaps of those shelters would hit you.
  • Ride in a group and make your own sheltering niche.
  • Increase your stability by riding on the drops and tucking in as low as possible on the bars.
  • Try not to get overlapped by winds; otherwise, you would easily get defeated by crosswinds.
  • Do not use the deep section wheels on a very windy day.
  • Avoid flaps and flappy dresses to be invested in.
  • Make sure to check the weather forecast before you plan to head out for a cycle ride.
cycling in the wind
Tuck low to ride with the winds (source)

15 Tips for Cycling in the Wind like a Pro

You may be able to channelize your effort towards biking by following the tips and tricks mentioned below:

Tip #1 Try to lower your body while cycling or biking

Get low and try riding into a headwind when you are cycling in the wind. This way, with your position, tucked your body becomes smaller yet compact and slicing through the speed of the wind becomes very easy. Wind resistance does not work against your riding the way it would have done if you were in your usual biking position. Using a road bike is more feasible while you hunker down to cut through the wind with the use of the drops to get lowered. One of the ways to make cycling into a headwind easier, if you are using a hybrid bike is to get as low as possible.

Tip #2  Avoid loose clothing 

Cycling wind resistance gets aggravated if you do not wear well-fitted clothing. Don’t wear a loose fitting jacket as it would flap and beat in the wind slowing you down. If you are wearing a jersey make sure to zip it up or button up if you are wearing a shirt. Besides, you need to proof yourself from the wind and wear tight clothes or body-hugging ones would ensure to keep you warm. If it is not too cold then try putting away too much of clothing as they tend to put on your weight against the wing weighing you down very slow. Invest in proper cycling clothing make cycling in windy conditions easy.

Tip #3 Ride with the gear lowered

Use your gears wisely and also plan your ride ahead as you need to lower down your gear than the usual speed. Elevating your gear would cost you your cycling speed and tire your calf muscles very easily, very fast. Instead, have some patience to cycle relaxingly.  Don’t fight to keep a set speed and maintain a cadence between 70 rpm and 100 rpm to stay stable.

Tip #4 Opt for drafting, if possible

Use other riders and draft in order to cut down the effect of wind on cycling. Riding in a group when the wind is howling becomes very helpful to stem the tide of the current of the wind. You may make various formations like maintaining a paceline or a chain gang would enable you in breaking wind. The rider at the front has to exert more energy than the ones at the back and that is why it imperative that the strongest riders remain at the front. However, you have to take turns to change your positions in order to avoid fatigue. This way you can also improve group riding.

Tip #5 Follow the direction of the wind

Following the direction of the wind is again very important and it would be wise that you maintain cycling for breaking wind while being the paceline. Do not lose hope or feel disappointed if you happen to be cycling in 20 mph winds or cycling in strong wind and let the wind guide you instead of letting it oppose you.  You have to know, as per your biking capability and stamina, how windy is too windy to ride a bike.

follow the direction of wind
Move in the direction of wind

Tip #6 Do not stick to a specific speed

Sticking to a specific speed would only wear you out, especially in your knees, thighs and calf muscle areas. Cycling in the wind definitely means to defeat it but not by wasting our energy or by getting befooled.  We have to start rides into the wind without losing our wits but to lose the toxins and unnecessary carbohydrates and fats. Ride your bike considering the speed of the wind, modifying it as necessary.

Tip #7 Choose your cycling time wisely

Planning or choosing your cycling time is utterly important; just because you have the zeal to carry out biking in the wind, it does not certainly mean that you have to plunge into risky endeavours. Check out for the nature of the weather on the television or radio and then get out of your house. If the speed of the blowing winds exceeds 20 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour, skip the routine for a day. Otherwise, follow the rest of the tips.

Tip #8 Pedal your bike downhill or down a sloping region

Pedal downhill on a bad weather day, if possible. This way you would not only be able to implement the gravitational pull against the current of the wind but also you would enjoy the thrill of rolling down the slope. However strong the wind may be, they would be able to beat you if you put this tip into use. But make sure not to stay on the edge of the slope if you are riding down quite a great height, in order to avoid any sort of danger or risk. 

start slow biking downhill
Downhill biking to avoid the gust of winds 

Tip #9 Be alert about cross winds

As crosswinds blow horizontally to hit you and move you from your track, cycling becomes quite difficult. Be quite alert about such movements of wind that may affect your cycling or thrust you harshly. Crosswinds are quite tricky to be handled, however, are not completely unmanageable. Effect of wind on cycling is mostly felt by the crosswinds after the headwinds.

Tip #10 Be sheltered by natural shade while biking

Ride on sheltered roads, not only to make cycling into a headwind easier but also to learn how to how to get low and aero practically. Biking in sheltered areas ensures a better riding experience on a bad weather day. Opt for natural shades like hedge grows or avenues for the optimum utilization of naturally available protection and proof against the wind.

Tip #11 Keep your hopes and perseverance high

Training your mental agility is extremely necessary as losing hope very quickly would only affect your biking regime and thereby, your health. It is understood that cycling in the wind may be twice harder than your usual routine yet twice as slow. Put a power meter or a cycling headwind calculator into good use in this case as observing that you are working doubling your usual effort would boost up your confidence and motivational zeal. Again, do not try to stick to your usual speed as that would only cater to spoil your entire experience, as has been discussed before.

Tip #12 Go for biking in a group

Go for biking in a group if possible. This is because movement in a group becomes far easy than cycling alone. The thrust of the wind pressure gets distributed to all the individuals and thus, harsh winds get easily defeated by the group. This is again, a very good practice to enhance your fitness regime and you may also enjoy cycle races in the wind cautiously. You may also use a power meter while riding in a group to maintain a healthy completion amongst yourselves. While riding in a group, you may be able to maintain a steady headwind cycling speed but do not go overboard by accelerating the speed too much.

biking in group
Ride in a group (source)

Tip #13 Know how to tackle headwind, tailwind and crosswind

Before riding into the wind, it is extremely essential to know about the different types of wind that a cyclist may come across and the ways to fight against cycling wind resistance. There are chiefly three different kinds of winds that you may have to fight against and have a profound knowledge about; they are the headwind, the tailwind and the crosswind.

Head winds are the strong gusts that hit you head wise and up front. You would face quite a difficulty to pedal against its velocity and may steer its way by drafting and maintaining the pace line. The tailwind is your friendly wind as it blows in the same direction that you are pedalling. Tailwinds are boons when the weather is favourable. The crosswind, again, is the one that hits you from and on the sides challenging you to stay on the track.

Tip #14 Make plans about how to go for a ride

It is highly imperative that you check on about the weather before heading out for cycling if your intuition suggests that the weather might get worse. If your cycling route is a loop then try riding into the headwind and enjoy being pushed back by the thrust of the tailwind. Now, out leg with the tailwind as you will return home as you would not be to pedal anymore with a mention-worthy effort and hence, do not return leg into the headwind. Again, it is always advisable to ride under some shelters like the dense growth of hedges or avenues; but do watch for crosswinds as they may try to displace your cycling trail vehemently.

Tip #15 Work out your routine for small goals

Do not lose hope while fighting against the course of the headwinds and the crosswinds. Keep your mind steady and set small, instantaneous goals to keep you moving. For instance, aim to reach the next lamppost without being stopped by the wind, or perhaps, the visible telephone booth at a distance or maybe the water tank. This way, you would be able to motivate yourself with small goals for the bigger one.

Wrapping Up

Cycling in the wind is not something to be afraid of, but it definitely gets very perplexing as to how to steer the course of the wind in your favour. Not only regular cyclists like us but also professional individuals come at their wits end when it comes to riding in the wind. Whether you are riding in echelons or alone, you need to imbibe a few routine tips and tricks to carry on with your fitness routine. Skipping the cycling regime is really not a fitness freak’s motto as only a lazy person would opt for that.

Cycling benefits you every day when the weather is favourable and it would again benefit you even if the weather is not. Learn to identify whether the wind is blowing against your direction, along with your direction or horizontally to your movement. Learning so would make you quite strong enough to fight cycling wind resistance. Make sure that you are well proof against the cold and chilly wind as otherwise you would fall sick and your cycling regimen would be disturbed anyhow. Thus, fear not and put on your cycling gears and hit the road.

Keep calm and pedal on happily.

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