To bike or not to bike…

DSC01651Outside, the wind is howling. This wind is strong and fierce, blowing at close to 30 mph with sudden gusts reaching up to 60 mph. Wind this powerful is so unusual for our area that the weather dudes have issued a “high wind warning” and the local school has canceled any after school programs. The power has gone out several times already.

Because I occasionally have the brains to make intelligent decisions, I went for a bike ride this morning before the rain and wind had a chance to make their appearance.

As I am sitting here, looking out my bedroom window, I am rather curious. What would it be like to ride my bike in such high winds? The force and passion of the wind is a thrilling and terrifying thing, I just want to get out there and experience it firsthand. Okay, you know what I am really thinking.

What does a 60 mph tailwind feel like?

But I already rode today and I have no obligations, no where I have to be. I suppose I should just do the sane thing and stay put, lest I get knocked off my bike by an angry tree branch. Not likely of course, but I guess I don’t need to risk it, right?

I was out walking my dogs a few minutes ago and looking up I saw a few large birds circling overhead. They simply spread their wings and let the furious wind toss them through the air at it’s whim. They laugh at me.

“We aren’t afraid of the gusts, are you? No? Then why are you heading back inside?”

DSC01645

No wind can knock this football down…

And as I am typing this, I can see a football swaying in a tree close to my window. It laughs at me.

“I am doing just fine in this wind, come out here and see if you can hack it!”

Today I am going to let inanimate objects and soaring birds laugh at my weakness. I don’t care what they think, I am staying inside. Really.

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17 thoughts on “To bike or not to bike…

  1. From what I can remember, a still tailwind (not sure if it was 60 mph) felt like I was going downhill, except it was flat. Going into a 60 mph headwind? Well, if you can, just get into a really tight tuck, and just pedal hard. Not much else you can do.

    Of course, my local Shoreline Village ride after work always has stiff headwinds, so that gives me a “workout”. If only my bike computer had a pitot tube, where it could measure wind speed.

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  2. Wise choice. A tailwind at that speed would be exhilarating but it’s the trees and debris on the road that makes me go inside in high winds.

    Last year I saw a really interesting science documentary about the wind. They used a wind simulator to see what wind speed made people airborne. The small child became airborne at 120km/h and the female adult (who was twice the child’s weight) became airborne at 140km/h.

    “For each doubling of the wind speed, the force goes up four-fold. In other words, what might seem like a small increase in wind speed delivers a massive lift in sheer power.”
    Here’s a link to it: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4117934.htm

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  3. Ha, ha, as I started reading your post, what came to mind was…..how fast you could go with that tailwind! Almost immediately, I thought how hard it would be to fight the headwind coming back. I don’t know if it would be worth it, but you probably made a wise choice to stay in. I fought a headwind once that slowed us down so that we were going about 5mph downhill. It was tough, but still a wonderful memory.

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    • I find that so tough mentally-when you get to a hill and say to yourself, “okay, I can relax and coast down this hill”, only to find out that you have to pedal hard just to make it to the bottom! That headwind is certainly one to remember.

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  4. I’ve cycled in 40mph+ winds, but I don’t honestly recall how much + … we get 60mph winds here, but usually it only picks up like that at night I think… I don’t know why that is. Side winds with heavy gusts are tough and risky… I’ve clipped a kerb with my pedal with that before now, and also had motorists not give me the extra space I need when the wind is blowing me all over the place, like, a few inches rather than a few feet… a 60mph tail wind would be nice… until you have to turn round and get home! When riding into heavy winds I tend to stand up in the pedals and battle the weather head on, it seems the only way I can keep the power going through the pedals and maintain balance when those heavy gusts threaten to stop me in my tracks.

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    • It was still pretty windy out today so I did have some interesting moments. The wind was like, “Okay, I just want to let you know who is really in control here!”
      That is interesting that you stand on your pedals, I feel safer staying seated, but that is probably because I don’t get out of my saddle much on a normal ride either.

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  5. 40-60 mp/hr. winds aren’t pleasant. And for those of us who live in the prairies (like myself), it really can become dangerous. I’ve read local guys cycling here in town who are close to 6 ft. tall, who fell over by strong gusting winds.

    The trees here also seem to me, much more fragile and dry ( lacking lots of moisture), not as thick in trunks and sturdiness, that the trees topple over. We don’t have much maple, walnut nor oak trees here. More birch, popular, etc.

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    • I remember a trip my family took when I was younger. We drove through the prairies of Montana and Alberta. It was fascinating to watch tumbleweeds blow in gusts of wind. Biking in those conditions must be tough!

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