How to Ride a Bike Against the Wind Without Risking Your Life?

Read about how to ride a bike against the wind to ensure your safety and comfort. We talk about the best bikes, clothing, and how you can ride your bike against the wind!.

I’m sure this situation is familiar to you: you go for a bike ride, look out the window, and it looks like the trees outside will blow away. However, staying indoors is not an option if you want to go out and ride a bike.

Let’s see how it can withstand the wind while riding a bicycle on the road. It is undoubtedly one of the weather phenomena that has the worst reputation among cyclists, especially if it blows against them.

How to Ride a Bike Against the Wind Without Risking Your Life? here are some tips.

Learn to Live With the Wind

It is important to learn how to handle this situation. If you live in Spain, there are large peninsula areas where the wind is common. For example, the wind blows more than 200 days a year in a city like Texas.

The headwind is a real pain. Even the toughest climbs end, but the wind can hamper your training for days and days. Even in calm weather, a portion of headwinds can become torture.

To give you an idea, let’s take an example.

Imagine driving on the flat, calm ground at 25 km/h. Now imagine a headwind of 15 km/h. Nothing special, just a typical breeze is waving the flags. To reach the same speed, the effort required is equivalent to climbing a 2.4% slope.

If the wind speed doubled (30 km/h), which would be inconvenient, it would climb a 6% slope. Imagine that you are climbing a mountain pass with an average gradient of 6% at 25 km/h. Professional runner pace.

how to ride a bike against the wind
Credit: Thomas Maheux / ASO

But let’s be positive. When the wind blows against you, you can take advantage of it to improve your physical condition. Every meter you cycle makes you work harder.

Wind biking is more physically demanding, but it also takes some mental toughness to hold on. A simple trick is to set small goals along its route, like climbing a mountain pass: that steep hill you’re going to climb, the end of that straight line, that cyclist you are going to overtake. After many days of training against the wind, riding calmly will allow you to notice the improvement in your physical condition.

Either way, don’t let the wind keep you from cycling unless it’s so strong that your bike is unusable and dangerous.

Adapt your development

Some cyclists are determined to fight the wind in an almost heroic way. You’ll spot them because they pedal in slow motion with an almost ridiculous cadence. As if riding with a light development seemed unworthy.

Avoid this image at all costs. Besides looking pathetic, your knees and your motivation will suffer much less. Take the headwind as if it were a climb. Shift up the gears and ride with a brisk cadence without worrying about speed. Remember: the wind wins every time and by knockout in a confrontation.

Adopt an aerodynamic posture

When you pedal, 70-80% of the wind resistance of the bike-cyclist combination comes from your body. To pedal against the wind, lower your stance on the bike until your back is nearly flat.

Place your hands on the brake levers or the lower part of the handlebars. Try to keep your forearms as horizontal as possible. The idea is that the wind does not hit your body directly but glides over your body.

Adopt an aerodynamic posture

It may seem strange to ride almost lying down like a time trial racer at 20 km/h or less, but any aerodynamic advantage counts. It is also true that for some riders, riding on the lower part of the handlebars for a long time is too much effort. It is therefore advisable to train this position from time to time to get used to it.

When the wind is strong, you will immediately notice that every change in a position directly impacts your aerodynamic performance. Find your ideal position by placing your hands on different parts of the handlebars, moving your elbows in or out, or slightly changing the position of your back. It’s a matter of practice.

Take care of your equipment.

Loose clothing can hurt you when the wind blows from the front or side. You can become like a drifting sailboat. It is also an aesthetic crime for a budding cyclist. Imagine, for example, that you are wearing a raincoat to descend a mountain pass. It is common that this clothing does not fit perfectly to the body and starts to flutter like a flag, slowing you down.

Facing the wind, it is better to be in a group.

On windy days, it is advisable to ride in a group. The miles will fly by. To give you an idea, riding in a group saves about 35% energy compared to the rider at the front of the group.

However, be careful not to get too close to the cyclist’s tire in front of you. If you brush against it, you will fall victim to the classic sharpener. You could be ejected and fall to the ground, with the danger for you and your group.

Suppose the wind is coming from the side. In that case, protection will only be possible if you place yourself on the opposite side to the direction from which the wind is coming. In this case, remember that it is illegal to ride parallel to more than two columns of cyclists in Spain.

Adapt your hikes to the wind

When cycling in windy weather, choose protected routes to enjoy a little respite along the way: the bottom of the roads, the forests, and the protection of the mountains.

Another option is to design routes with changes in direction. Otherwise, ride against the wind until you get bored and ride back downwind. You’ll progress as you get closer to the end of your ride, and you’ll come home thinking you’re a better cyclist than you are.

You’ll be tempted to let go or pedal slowly with the wind at your back. If you still have strength, don’t do it. Please make the most of it to keep applying the power and get to the end of your run like a titan. Big chainring, small cog, up to your goal. You will make up for a lost time, and your training will be more complete.

Watch out for crosswinds and gusts.

While headwinds are uncomfortable, crosswinds can be equally troublesome. And dangerous. When it’s constant, it’s usually easy to manage. The problem arises when there are gusts of wind. In this case, you need to take extra precautions, especially if your bike has wide-profile wheels.

If you drive on roads with heavy traffic, watch out for turbulence caused by heavy vehicles traveling in your direction. It is also not recommended to drive on the far right of the road, as a gust of wind could send you into the ditch.

Another essential point is the management of gusts of wind on steep and winding descents. In this case, the changes in direction and the inclination of your bike can destabilize you. Also, be careful when exiting the tunnels. You might encounter an unexpected gust of wind.

In strong side winds, pedal rather than drop downhill. The greater the traction, the more maneuverable your bike will be. By lowering your body position, you put a force on the front wheel, which can put you in trouble. In this regard, the wider the tires, the more they grip the ground, which provides additional safety and stability.

In both cases, a little practice and calm will allow you to face these situations. If you let fear hold you back, your position on the bike will become stiff, the bike will be unstable, and you will put yourself in danger.

In many cases, fear causes the accident rather than the wind. The more obsessed you are with a dangerous situation, the more likely you will fall into its trap.


Marcelline is a writer and covers several categories thanks to her multidisciplinary expertise.

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