Unless you’re training on an indoor bike at home or at the gym, you and your bike are subject to weather conditions. In this post we discuss the joy of cycling in wind: easy when it is in your back, tough when facing it. I grew up in Provence, where there are sometimes very strong winds, the most famous being the mistral. When it’s winter time, cold and the mistral blows in Provence it can feel like a much colder place than it is. Wind accentuates heat loss. When it comes to cycling it can be even tougher as the speed of the wind + the speed of your bike add up.
Today was the first sunny day in a while, I took the bike and went out. To give an idea of how windy it was, on the lake was a surfer with a paraglide, and the guy was flying just holding on to it.
Here are a few things to think about when cycling in windy conditions:
- Cars can always move unexpectedly, windy or not. When riding on a road and being close to cars, it’s possible that cars shift slightly to the left or the right due to the wind. But more likely it is the rider and the bike that may move sideways as a results of wind disturbances. Be extra aware, cautious, and leave a bit more gap than usual if you’re riding on a very windy day.
- When cycling at pace, it is harder to hear your surroundings as the air blows through your ears. I discovered a few years ago the Cat Ears and am always wearing them in any riding conditions. By wearing protective gear for your ears you hear better: cars coming from the back, other cyclists, nature, etc. So there is a safety benefit. Because of the striped shapes of these protections your friends might tell you look like Elvis, as an added bonus.
- If it is cold, extra wind means you may get extra cold as the heat loss accelerates. A light jacket will do the trick. Don’t add too much bulk on yourself and on the bike as this will slow you down.
- Take it easy on yourself when it comes to pace. Wind can significantly slow down your pace, and when it’s full facing and strong, it can get frustrating. If your route is a loop, what you pay with front facing wind will eventually turn to your benefit, assuming constant wind direction. Riding on a windy day is worth it: you’re out, exercising with your favorite hobby. Next time you ride without wind things will feel orderly and efficient.
As I wrote this it made me think about the song from the Scorpions, Wind of Change. Have a safe ride everyone.