There is nothing worse in cycling than getting out for a ride on your bike, only to be hit with gale force winds making the going tough if not near impossible. While uphill may be harder and the rain more uncomfortable, cycling into a proper headwind can really sap your morale.
Cycling into a strong headwind can cut your speed by half which means you obviously have to work twice as hard to get anywhere near the same speed. Don’t get discouraged; there are some things you can do to help counteract the effects of a strong wind. So here are our top tips for cycling in the wind;
1) Get Low, Get Aero!
Pretty obvious but really think about the amount of resistance in area you give to the wind, try getting down on your drops and keeping those elbows tucked in. Your clothing should be form fitting, an oversize wind jacket can act like a parachute and really make things tough. Keep your jersey and pockets zipped up!
If you are riding in a group, drafting is a very effective way to cut wind resistance. You can lower your energy expended by up to twenty percent by drafting properly. Check out the wind direction as you ride and draft to the side away from the wind and behind the other riders. Remember to take your turn on the front and share the workload where you can.
3) Plan your Route
Once you know the direction the wind is blowing then plan your route so you are riding into the wind, this will mean that your second half of your ride will be easier. There is nothing worse than being out doing a big ride and then hitting the headwind on the last leg home! It is also worth planning routes that take in sheltered roads through the woods or in small sheltered valleys.
4) Gear down
Don't be afraid to drop down the gears to increase your cadence (75-100rpm), staying in a higher gear and chewing the handlebars will just overwork your legs and drain your energy quicker. On long straights you may wish to do some impromptu strength intervals which will give you focus and break it down.
5) Keep it Safe
The wind can also be dangerous so keep your wits about you and leave the aero wheels at home. Take note of open gateways along hedged roads, especially in crosswinds and think about how much room you need when on busy roads.