Any cyclist will know that riding into a block headwind can be more difficult than going up a hill. Many tips for riding into a wind are common sense, but it is worth repeating for completeness.
- Get low and aero. Riding on the drops is more aerodynamic that riding on the tops. Also, if you can bear the pressure, get as low as you can. I spend a lot of time riding on Time trial bike, so have adapted to a relatively lower position. It is a big help for keeping low in headwind riding. See more tips for being more aerodynamic
- Make sure your clothes are not acting as a wind break. The worst is to have a jacket half zipped up billowing out the back. It is better to have the jacket flapping around than half zipped up to catch the wind and act as a parachute. If possible, take off any surplus jacket, though often when it’s very windy, it’s raining too.
- Don’t worry about average speed. When riding into a headwind and you’re doing 15mph on a flat bit of road, it can be demoralising. But, the important thing is to maintain a sustainable power, rather than trying to keep a typical average speed. This doesn’t mean you will try keep the same power into headwind as tailwind. You will want to make more effort into headwind, but sometimes, you will just have to go into a lower gear and keep going at a lower speed.
- Improve quality of group riding. Riding in a group is best way to take some shelter from headwind. Taking it in turns and forming effective paceline. Don’t let gaps appear or let anyone drop off. Stronger riders can take longer turns.
In very windy conditions.
- I will tend to ride into headwind, to get tailwind on way back.
- I will look for routes which are more sheltered and leave the overexposed moors for another day.
- I have been known to occasionally take a train into a block headwind. e.g. train from Bingley to Clapham North Yorks. It costs £10, but it’s a real treat to miss out on 20 miles of headwind.
Pacing a time trial into headwind/tailwind
Generally, it does pay to make more effort into headwind than tailwind. This is because the aerodynamic cost increases exponentially with speed. You get more effort for increasing power at lower speeds.
I did a 10 mile TT with a 25mph (40km/h) wind. My time was 20.35. Average power of 325 watts. Continue Reading →