Trail Ramblings: The Wind, Our Constant Riding Companion.

It seems to me that the last few years have been windier than normal. 2023 was the second windiest year since the National Weather Service started keeping track in 1960, supplanting 2022, and I don’t believe it’s changed much. I’ve written about the wind before, and I’ll write about it again, as it doesn’t seem to be going away. It is possible to ride in wind like this, but the more you know about how to do that, the safer and more enjoyable it will be. Much of it comes down to attitude.
Here are two articles that have some sensible advice for windy riding. The second one even gives particular training tips (toward the end) to utilizing the wind in your workouts.
And here is a fun and interesting wind map for a bigger picture.

A broomstick has nothing on a bicycle in the wind. From The Wizard of Oz.

Here are some tips: Do try to make yourself as small a target for the wind as possible. If you have drop bars, (or aero bars) it will help to ride in them. This makes your back more horizontal, and you in turn, more aerodynamic. Keep your knees tucked up near your top tube and your elbows by your sides. Wear snug clothing that doesn’t act like a parachute by flapping. Avoid a front basket or rack that can catch a gust and twist the handlebars out of your hands, and try to keep a little more weight over the front wheel to keep it stable. Keep your center of gravity low. If you can use panniers rather than a backpack for commuting, it will make you more stable. Avoid bikes with deep rims. Maintain more neutral space around you, so the wind can push you a little. Along a highway might not be the best place to ride when the wind is strong. Head for the trees. Mountain biking, or at least riding a trail along trees acting as a windbreak will be less of a struggle, but watch out for gaps. A cross wind, or even a tailwind on a long, steep descent can make you more unstable the faster you go, especially on gravel if your tire tread isn’t grippy enough.

Hunkered down from the wind on the trail after having been on the roads. From a windy ride a few years ago.

Finally, a word in memory of Alice who was a Good Dog, Alice the trail dog, or more accurately, backpack dog, trotted off across the rainbow bridge recently leaving her human, Pat, to ride on without her. Here’s to Alice and our other four leggeds that make the trail a better place for having been there