I’m lucky enough to live in a city that is not often very windy but there is the odd occasion where I find myself riding a bike in the wind. I avoid riding in really high wind, but there are times when you won’t have a choice so it’s good to know how to handle it. Here are a few tips:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.