The wind can be a problem to even the best of cyclists. This was proven earlier this month, when Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee were among a field of 153 cyclists who saw their Volta a La Marina race abandoned due to hurricane force winds.
If you are keen to get out on your bike regardless of the weather, here are 10 tips to ensure your ride in the wind is still enjoyable and safe:
Ride tucked up
So long as it’s comfortable for you to do so, riding in a tucked position will help to lower wind resistance. Your body will be as small as possible so will be more capable of slicing through the wind.
Use the surroundings to your advantage
Your surroundings really can be your ally when you’re cycling in high winds. Shelter yourself from the wind by riding near hedges and trees.
Work as a team
Instead of trying to brave gale force winds alone, try to ride in a group. This way you will be able to alternate who is ahead of the pack and taking the brunt of the harsh weather. According to RoadCyclingUK, you can save 20 to 30 per cent of energy when riding in a group or sitting on a teammate’s wheel over trying to cycle at the same speed in the same conditions by yourself.
Wear form-fitting clothing
Always opt for form-fitting clothing and a jersey that is fully zipped when cycling in the wind. Leisure Lakes Bikes has a fantastic selection to choose from, ranging from hi-vis clothing to base layers and all-in-one bodysuits. Fail to wear this clothing and the wind will get under your t-shirt or jacket, effectively turning it into a parachute and adding to the amount of resistance you will need to battle through.
Go for a lower gear than normal
Riding along flat terrain is akin to cycling up a hill when it’s windy. As a result, it is wise that you cycle in a lower gear than you usually would, ensuring your cycling remains smooth and your legs continue to spin. Churning the pedals will see you run out of energy a lot quicker.
Take care when descending a hill
Racing down a hill in gale force winds — especially cross winds — is an accident waiting to happen. Opt for a much slower descent than usual to considerably cut the chances of being blown off course, or your bike.
Map out the best route
It’s best not just to go with the flow when cycling in the wind. Instead, take the time to map out your route, aiming to avoid any open or exposed roads and sticking to routes lined with hedgerows, walls and trees.
Try to cycle into the wind at first
It’s a wise move to cycle the first half of a bike ride into the wind. That way, you are getting the most difficult part of the route out of the way first and will need to use a little less energy as you work your way back home.
Know your limits…
If the wind levels are so high that it’s causing tree branches to fall onto cycle paths and roads, it’s best not to take the risk and delay your cycling until the weather improves.
…But embrace the wind whenever possible
So long as you aren’t putting yourself in a lot of danger, embrace the wind and see it as more of a resistance training session. If you’re able to get along the route in such testing conditions, your body will become stronger to the point where you should be able to complete the session much quicker and harder once the finer weather returns.