Reply To: Tips for Riding in Wind

Ryan Vaart

Best advice I can offer is practice, practice, practice…  There’s nothing better for your confidence and skills than to ride in windy conditions (note that a steady wind = easier than gusty wind) with any/all of your race gear, including your wheels.  However, I can’t pretend that I would have gone out last weekend — 30+ mph is well beyond anything I’d wish on anyone… even on race day!

Little strategies for riding in the wind for me include: leave extra room between you and the edge of the road/trail (and other riders) on the leeward side (opposite side from where the wind is coming from), to give you space to work with if the wind moves you over that direction; stay “loose” — I find it much easier to deal with gusts if I’m loose and able to flow with the wind a bit instead of fighting it with a tensed up body; pay attention to the terrain around you — expect puffs of wind in open areas and a bit of shelter in areas where there are trees and buildings (and puffs between the buildings); watch your level of effort in headwinds — its really easy to creep into a mode of working far harder than planned to maintain a speed instead of a level of effort; and watch things around you — there are lots of hints to help you  see gusts in the grass/trees and be able to prepare for them.

In the end, it’s pretty tough for wind to actually blow you over on the bike — dealing with it is more about getting comfortable with the feel of another force on you and your ride.  I’ll agree that you’ll definitely feel more effects of crosswinds with deep wheels — all the more reason to practice with them.  I don’t know that anyone here is using a rear disc wheel (many don’t like them because they’re  expensive, noisy, easy to ding, a bit geeky looking, and sometimes heavier), but there is some decent evidence on the Google-webs that a rear disc wheel actually has a stabilizing effect in windy conditions (plus they are aerodynamically fast).  Totally counterintuitive right?  Go figure…