We live and cycle on the southern tip of Vancouver Island so wind is no stranger to us. You may set off for a cycling adventure when the air is calm only to find yourself in a surprise windstorm sometime during your ride.
The wind can make you feel colder, slow you down and put your energy levels to the test. We’ve pulled together a few tips to make your next encounter with the wind a little more doable.
When it comes to cycling clothing, think snug. Do not wear anything that can turn into a sail. Keep the zipper done up to your neck. And don’t forget your gloves.
Windy conditions force you to put out more effort to maintain the same speed, increasing your caloric burn rate. When riding in a group, wait until you’re at the back so you can safely reach your food. Open your packages before stashing them in an easy-to-reach side pocket.
Stay tuned to the wind. Keep checking ahead for blowing trees, grass and dust so that a gust doesn’t catch you by surprise.
Gear down and take it easy. You won’t be able to ride at your normal pace. Riding in a headwind is like riding up a hill. It’s hard, so slow down, accept the situation and lower your frustration level. Lower your center of gravity by using the lowest position on the bike (drops), This position will keep you more balanced, less exposed to the wind and it’ll be easier to pedal.
You’ll be leaning left or right, depending upon wind direction, to ride in a straight line. Be extremely careful of vehicles, as the wind can pull you toward them In a crosswind, pedal when cycling downhill to maintain balance. To achieve some level of wind protection (if you are riding with a partner or a group), the rider in front moves to the side, into the wind, while the rider behind can seek shelter by positioning themselves slightly behind, overlapping the lead on the lee side. This formation can accommodate several riders. Watch geese fly someday. They have this thing mastered.
This is called bonus. Enjoy it when you can. Sit right up and let the wind do all the work for you. You deserve it.