6 Tips for Riding in the Wind

The wind has the potential to wreck any ride. It makes you colder, zaps your energy and can slow you to a crawl.

But there are ways you can punch back.

Instead of letting Mother Nature get the best of you, use these tips to stay positive and make your ride less of a drag when the breeze blows in.

More: 4 Winter Riding Tips

Use the Drops

A lower position on the bike will leave you less exposed. Place your hands in the drops to improve aerodynamics and to keep your chest out of the wind. This will make it easier to pedal and provide more stability should a strong gust sneak up on you.

Go Slower

To maintain a 20 miles per hour (mph) speed in a headwind of 10 mph, you'll need to produce twice the amount of power that you would in calm conditions. Avoid becoming frustrated by your lack of speed in windy conditions by gearing down and taking it easy. Riding into a constant headwind is similar to riding up a hill. Going hard to maintain your speed will only wear you out. You'll enjoy your ride more if you gear down and take it easy. You can use the opportunity to practice spinning at a higher cadence.

More: Be Prepared for the Elements During Winter Riding

Choose the Right Clothing

Loose-fitting clothes will act as a parachute in the wind. Clothing that fits you snug will create less drag, so choose a jacket that keeps you warm and hugs you tight. Keep your zipper pulled all the way up to the neck.

Ride With a Partner

In normal conditions, riding behind another cyclist will save you around 30 percent in energy expenditure. In the wind, the benefits can be even greater. If you can, ride with a partner and take turns at the front, switching positions every 30 to 60 seconds. When you're on the back, try to stay as close to the rear wheel of the rider in front of you as possible. This will help you recover physically and give you a quick mental break from the conditions.

More: 7 Tips to Ride Through Winter

Be Careful in Crosswinds

There will be times when you'll be forced to lean left or right in order to ride in a straight line due to crosswinds. Be careful when large cars or trucks pass you when crosswinds are strong, since these vehicles will momentarily block the wind and cause you to veer in the direction you're leaning. Keep your elbows and hands relaxed to avoid oversteering.

When riding downhill in a crosswind, make sure you continue to pedal. Steering is more difficult, and pedaling will help you maintain your balance.

When You Can, Use it to Your Advantage

The good thing about the wind is that it won't always be in your face. When the wind is behind you, sit up and let your back act as a sail. During a tailwind, it doesn't pay to be aero. Make yourself as exposed as possible to let the wind do the work for you. This is the reward for all of the effort it took when you pedaled against it.

More: 7 Tips to Pick the Perfect Winter Clothes

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.
Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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