Warm weather has finally arrived! The wind came with it.
For those not accustomed to riding in gusty wind, here are a few suggestions from cyclingperformancetips.com.
- Get down. Get aero and hone your riding position. When riding into a headwind, watch your computer and notice how small postural changes affect your speed. Get low with your back almost horizontal. Try aligning your head and back, but without keeping your head so low that your back is hunched. In fact, if you try to keep your chin on the stem, it actually increases the turbulence and wind resistance as the air travels over your back.Keep your elbows in to minimize your frontal area instead of splayed outward. Then bend them a little more to see what happens. Hold them in line with your body . A second tip is to eliminate the side to side motion of your head. So keep that head still and your chin 4 to 6 inches above the stem.When you find your most efficient position, it’ll give you greater speed with less effort in calm air, too.
- Gear down. Pushing your normal gear into a wind is hard on your knees (and your motivation). Just as with a hill, drop down a gear or two to allow you to maintain your normal cadence.
- Don’t fight to keep a set speed. Remember, to maintain 18 mph into a 10-mph headwind you need about twice the effort as when riding 18 on a calm day. Gear down and work on a fluid spin. If you are riding in a paceline, rotate more often and in slower motion.
- Don’t wear a loose fitting jacket. A baggy jacket can act like a drogue chute, flapping loudly and slowing you down. An alternative might be a jersey with a wind stopper under it – a piece of wind proof material or even a plastic bag will keep the cold air off your chest.
- If possible, start rides into the wind. Do battle while you’re fresh, then let the gale blow you home.
- Time your ride. Wind is usually lighter in the early morning or in the evening. If you start your ride a little earlier, the headwind could be relatively tame before you’re treated to a roaring tailwind on the return trip.
- Watch for cross winds., especially on roads with truck traffic. When you’re leaning left to maintain a straight line and a passing vehicle momentarily blocks the wind, you might veer into the lane. Fight the tendency by keeping your elbows loose and upper body relaxed.
- Pedal downhill. Your bike will be more stable on descents if you’re applying even a little power to the rear wheel. But especially on a windy day when you’re being buffeted on descents, shifting to a high gear and pedaling will give you a noticeable edge in stability. Coasting lets the wind push you farther off your line.
- Get shelter. Pick a route with trees, buildings, stone walls or other wind blockers.
- Keep a good mental attitude. Stay positive. Wind, day after day, can beat you down mentally. But head winds actually help improve fitness.