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17 votes

Does side wind hit bigger cyclists much harder than slim cyclists?

Humans are approximately cylindrical/spherical. This means the square cube law applies to us. Our volume (and therefore mass) grows faster than our surface area. Or put another way: A 100kg human ...
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  • 19.1k
14 votes

Headwind issues

Take it easy and shift to an easier gear. It sounds like your main problem is not the reduced speed but exhaustion. The good thing with headwinds (unlike hills) is that most bikes have low enough ...
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  • 19.1k
13 votes

Headwind when riding in a loop

If the effect of wind resistance was linear with respect to speed, then yes, the forces would balance out. That is to say: if pedaling into a 20 mph wind was only twice as hard as pedaling into a 10 ...
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  • 1,388
12 votes
Accepted

How to know you have tailwind?

The most accurate way to do it would be with a pitot tube to measure wind velocity and then to contrast that against speed-over-ground from your GPS or wheel speed sensors. Before one laughs about ...
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  • 28.4k
11 votes
Accepted

Riding into a headwind faster than my top speed - how is it possible?

You can do it, because your bike is connected to the ground. The work done when moving an object is proportional to distance and resistance force (which consists of air resistance and rolling ...
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  • 19.1k
11 votes

Headwind issues

When your biggest problem is a headwind, being more aerodynamic helps. In a severe headwind, it becomes more important than many other considerations. I posted a link in the comments to GCN's ...
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  • 44.7k
10 votes

Headwind issues

One thing to understand is that wind resistance is roughly a function of relative wind speed squared. That is, if your speed, relative to the wind, increases from 10mph to 15mph, the "drag" ...
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9 votes

At what temperature do you say its too cold to ride a bike?

Anything colder than -55F (-48C) is difficult to mechanically maintain. Most lubrication products on the market for cold weather are rated to -60F (-51C). Which means that at -50F (-45C) they become ...
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  • 9,858
9 votes

What's the best way to shield a rider from the wind in a group (most aero position in the group)?

When you're in font of the rider that you want to help, then the more aero you are, the less shelter you give. Riding in a low body position, head tucked and arms narrow makes it easier to ride at ...
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8 votes

What speed of wind gust will cause a cyclist to swerve by 1m or more?

Having ridden near Bristol this morning in a similar forecast gust speed, I'd say you're right to be worried, but keeping aware of the wind direction and speed can make a huge difference. For example:...
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  • 44.7k
8 votes

Riding into a headwind faster than my top speed - how is it possible?

You can do this because of the gearing of the bike. When you're riding at a slower ground speed, if you shift to a lower gear to keep your pedal RPM the same, then the same force on the pedals ...
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7 votes

Can it be estimated when it would actually be beneficial to increase drag in tailwind?

A tailwind reduces your relative airspeed and therefor the drag you generate. You can go faster relative to the ground with the same power output. The only time increasing your profile might be ...
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  • 750
7 votes

How to know you have tailwind?

We like tailwinds as the effort to ride at a given speed is lowered. In the same token we like slight downward slopes. If you base your riding on effort, rather than a fixed speed, you will ...
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  • 8,657
7 votes

Do deep rims increase the chances of falling in strong wind?

Yes absolutely. The depth of a rim is directly related to the side-area, and a gust of wind will have more of an effect on a larger surface. The largest wheel surface area is a solid disk, and even ...
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  • 96k
6 votes

How to know you have tailwind?

@Daniel has made several comments that capture what experienced cyclists have learned. You think something like I'm going well, or killing it, or even (as happened today) this looks like it's uphill,...
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  • 17k
6 votes

Does side wind hit bigger cyclists much harder than slim cyclists?

There's also bigger as in taller, which definitely affects your response to wind, for several reasons: The wind is stronger further from the ground. Similarly, but not the same, tall people are more ...
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  • 44.7k
5 votes

How to know you have tailwind?

If you are biking along and you encounter a terrible smell -- look around and realize that it's you yourself that you're smelling -- then you're in a tailwind -- and that it's time you washed your ...
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  • 28.4k
5 votes

Windproof jacket for winter riding

Specific product recommendations are off topic on this site as they tend to become obsolete quickly. There are plenty of breathable windproof, cycling specific jackets available and reviews are easy ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Rear view ears at speed

The stock advice is to put zero reliance on your ears ever. There's this issue, there's the related issue of wind direction keeping you from hearing a car even not at high speeds, and there are ...
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5 votes
Accepted

How do sidewinds affect forward speed?

The answer to your questions is not straighforward, as shown below. The easiest to answer is your first question: are X and Y the same? No, they are not. This follows from the formula for the air-...
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5 votes

Headwind issues

Apart from improving efficiency (well covered in other answers), which quickly gets into marginal gains without spending big money, it helps to also tackle this from a phycological point of view - ...
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  • 39.2k
4 votes

How to relate wind chill, temperature, and cycling

Ok, let's start with wind chill. The faster the wind, the more chill Wind Chill chart from the National Weather Service Read along the top for the temperature without wind, then down for wind chill ...
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  • 659
4 votes

Headwind when riding in a loop

@Superdesk has the right answer, but I thought I'd add some math to give an impression of the size of the difference. As others have stated, drag is a quadratic function of relative wind speed. This ...
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4 votes

What speed of wind gust will cause a cyclist to swerve by 1m or more?

There are more factors: bike speed bike style / tire size rider skill I ran the math If you are going 10 kph, get pushed off 20 degrees, and it takes 1 second to correct (point into the wind) ...
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  • 15.4k
4 votes
Accepted

Bike modifications against side winds

Some things to try to make your bike less susceptible to wind gusts. Maintenance - check your headset is not loose and has no discernible play. Ensure your bike frame is true so that the front ...
4 votes
Accepted

What's the best way to shield a rider from the wind in a group (most aero position in the group)?

This question was analysed both numerically and by drag measurements in a wind tunnel by a research group of the Technical University Eindhoven-NL. You can find answers in a couple of free-access ...
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4 votes

How do sidewinds affect forward speed?

For constant input pedaling power, a sidewind will slow a cyclist down. The sidewind exerts a force on the cyclist, so they have to steer into the direction of the wind to keep on their intended ...
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3 votes

Counter-intuitive steering in crosswinds with hands off the bars

If the wind is from the left, you need to lean to the left to stop the wind blowing you over to the right; leaning left makes you turn left.
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3 votes

Riding into a headwind faster than my top speed - how is it possible?

Partly it's due to the way that wind speed is measured. The standard for wind speed is to measure it 10 metres above ground level. Closer to the ground, an effect called the boundary effect kicks in ...
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