Heading into the winter months, cycling in adverse weather conditions is sadly part and parcel of life, if you want to continue riding and commuting during the colder months. One of the main things to contend with on a winter's day cycling is a headwind, and headwinds can be incredibly demoralising to your riding, slowing progress and turning every yard gained into a battle against the wind.
Use your riding mates
Riding in behind people you are riding with, can decrease the effects of a headwind by around 30%. It’s fair when riding in a group to take turns at the front, the most tiring position - taking turns in sheltering each other from a headwind.
An aerodynamic riding shape can really help minimise the effects of wind, ride on the handlebars - get your back in a flat as possible position, and tuck yourself down towards the bars. The lower and smaller you are, the less impact the wind will have.
If you check the weather forecast, and can see it’s going to be a windy day - you can either time your ride around the wind levels at different times of the day, or alternatively - you can choose a more sheltered route to ride.
It’s never advisable to have loose clothing with excess material flapping around when riding - which is even more important when you are riding on the tops, or in windy weather conditions. If you check the weather forecast and it’s a windy day - choose tighter fitting clothing. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s well zipped up.
Gear selection is vital when riding full stop, and much in the same way that you would change your gearing before a steep ascent, you should change your gears when riding into a headwind. If there’s a long and tough headwind ahead, select a gear which is easier to pedal in.
Think about Changing Wind
What may be a headwind for now, can easily become a crosswind as you ride and change directions. Consider the impact of the wind on a route, and lookout for gaps in hedges and trees which may expose you to stronger winds. Lastly, when the headwind becomes a tailwind, enjoy it!
Leave the Aero Wheels at Home
Although aerodynamic wheels may seem like the right choice for riding through winds, the ‘deep dish’ nature of the wheels leaves the rider liable to suffer from crosswinds and gusts.
Enjoy the Grind
Enjoy the challenges that a headwind poses, it’s like climbing a hill without the hill - puts your body under greater pressure to perform, and improves not only your riding skill, but also your fitness levels.