A women’s guide to cycling in the wind

cycling in the wind

cycling in the windA few weeks ago I talked about riding in the rain, so I felt it would be good to cover off the other inclement weather condition, and deal with the issue of cycling in the wind. I avoid riding in really high wind, but there are occasions when you won’t have a choice so it’s good to know how to handle it. Here’s a few tips:

Get low

Being aerodynamic makes you go faster in good conditions, and the same theory applies when you ride in windy weather. So get down on the drops on your road bike and tuck yourself in to avoid the full brunt of the weather. This also lowers your point of gravity which helps you stay upright. It won’t eliminate it altogether, but it will help.

Drafting

If you’re riding with a group, take turns on the front, and keep close behind each other to shelter from the wind. Encourage stronger riders to take longer turns on the front. You can learn more about the benefits of drafting in my previous post.

Wheel choice

If you have a pair of deep profile wheels, you should leave them at home on windy days. They catch the wind and make it much harder to stay upright. I have two similar road bikes, but one is heavier (about 1.5 kg which really makes a difference) and has shallower rims, so it’s always my windy day choice.

Clothing choice

It’s also important to wear fitted clothing on windy days. If your clothing is flapping around in the breeze, it will cause wind drag and make riding even harder. Do all your zips up to be as aerodynamic as possible.

Plan your route

If you have an option to change the route of your ride, or to alter the direction then it’s better to ride into a headwind to begin, and enjoy a tailwind for your return journey. This only possible if your ride is a loop but it’s far more enjoyable to make it harder at the beginning when you’re feeling fresh.

Choose a sheltered route rather than open areas like waterfronts, and be prepared for gusts as you pass large buildings or other large objects with breaks in between. When gusts strike make sure you don’t turn abruptly and hold both hands firmly on the bars.

Use gears

You’ll need to use an easier gear in windy weather, so head for your small chainring on the front and the most appropriate gear on the rear.

 

Please share your tips for cycling in the wind via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.