The wind is the number one enemy of cyclists that almost every cycling once in his life would have faced. Then the question comes, when is this enemy too powerful so we shall surrender, problems this wind cause when cycling, and how you can deal with it – In this article, I will be answering all these questions in detail.

Before we get started, you must know what sort of wind you’ll be riding in. If it’s a light wind, it will feel more like the gentlest breeze. If the wind is really strong, however, you might feel like you’re going backward when you’re on the bike.

Wind does affect cycling and can reduce your cycling speed by half, make it hard for you to balance, blow you off your track, and may even make you fall off your cycle. Dust and cold is another problem cyclists face while cycling in strong winds.

When cycling in wind, you must move fluidly at all times. This can be near impossible if you’re constantly being pushed back by the wind, especially in stronger winds.

How Does Wind Impact Cycling?

Girl cycling in strong winds

I’ve learned some things about riding a bike in the wind, how it impacts cycling, and the problems you’ll face if you cycle in wind.  If I was to put together a list of things a cyclist hates I’m pretty sure that headwinds would be right up there near the top.

My heart sinks more than turning a corner on my bike only to be slapped full in the face with a strong southwesterly. It feels like peddling away and just getting nowhere, it is like riding in treacle.

Strong winds on the steep, long descents can sometimes become extra dangerous as you ride fast. It can cut your speed in half because the wind’s power is multiplied as your speed creates a strong headwind and then crosswinds grab your bike and push on the side.

As far as the cyclists’ concerned wind is essentially coming in three basic flavors: head, tail, and side, and aerodynamic drag accounts for between 70-90% of the resistance we feel when cycling. Basically, our body acts as a sail for the wind to push against.

And if you’re like a fairy large person, the surface area of that sail is going to be that much bigger and the effect that much greater.

Problems You’ll Face While Cycling In Strong Winds

Cycling in windy conditions can be tough especially when winds are strong. And along with that, there comes a lot of problems you’ll face while riding your bike. Following are some of those common problems you’ll likely to face while cycling in wind:

Dealing With Dust

It feels like a miniature tornado when it’s very windy. You won’t able to see them moving across the landscape. Dust and full-fledged dust storms cause a problem in riding.

It prevents riding because of their power and of course, an overtaking driver would not be able to see you because of too much dust. So, it’s better to stop moving off the roadway, if you’re about to be caught in a dusty wind and wait for few minutes till it’s settled down.

Dealing With Thunderstorms

You could be caught in a fast-approaching thunderstorm while riding in a gusting wind. In that case, you’ll need to make a shelter for some time until the storm passes. Hiding under a tree or any tall structure if lightning is present is a bad idea. Try to duck into a building or beneath a house porch or underpass.

Deal With Colder Winds

Windy conditions can sometimes mean that it’s also cold, so to make sure you warm and nice, wear something windproof. Wind at various speeds lowers the temperature and increases the risk of frostbite.

Especially in winter, the wind is even stronger than it can blow ribbons of snow across the road and is guaranteed to freeze cyclists quickly. Head towards the calmer roads during that time or make sure to wear a proper jacket while going out to ride.

Getting Blown Off Your Lane

Side winds can sometimes blow you sideways into off the lane or into traffic, which is too dangerous in crosswinds. A hard gust of wind coming from the side can suddenly move you over a couple of feet. It can even sometimes take out the front wheel of the bike when the side winds are too strong.

In strong side winds, you should ride in a low aero position to become more compact and lowers the center of gravity. If your shoulder is wide enough and you’re riding in the center, you can allow your bike to be moved to the left or right, going with the gust instead of fighting them.

Ideal Wind Speed For Cycling

Wind Speed Rideability
>10 Mph Easily Rideable – Safe
15 Mph Rideable – A little Tough
20 Mph Rideable – Tough
30 Mph Rideable – Very Hard
40 Mph Not Rideable
50 Mph+ Very Dangerous For Cycling

What Wind Speed is Dangerous For Cycling?

In general, controlling the cycling in 15mph wind speed will become hard for many of us. While cycling at 20mph can be done but becomes even tougher. While cycling at 30+ wind speed will be super tough and riding in more than 40mph wind speed is very dangerous and you may even fall off your cycle.

What Wind Speed Is Safe For Cycling?

Any Wind speed below10Mph is the best condition for cycling and this much wind won’t affect our cycling. Wind speed ranging from 10-15 Mph will have some impact on Cycling but it can be done. The more the wind speed the harder for you to balance, so the safest wind speed for cycling is anything below 10 mph.

Is 15 mph Wind Too Strong For Cycling?

15 mph wind speed is rideable but becomes a little tough, advanced cyclist can just ignore this much wind speed while it can be a little tough for newbie cyclists to balance but it will also not be a big deal.

Can You Cycle In 30 Mph Wind?

Technically you can cycle in 30 Mph wind but it is going to be very hard to maintain balance and most of the newbie cyclists will not be able to cycle at this much wind speed. Pro cyclists can cycle in this much wind speed but they are also going to face many difficulties while riding at 30mph or more.

Cycling In Headwind

A headwind is when you are cycling against the wind, it becomes super hard to cycle in headwinds because the wind tries to stop you. Many times, if you cycle when the wind speed is more than 15 Mph, the wind speed may slow you down 50% so if you were cycling at 16 Mph, you will get to 8 Mph and face a lot of difficulties in pedaling down further.

Here’s a table showing how hard it is going to be to cycling in a Headwind. You may even fall off your cycle in a headwind of speed more than 40mph

Wind Speed Rideability & Toughness
10 Mph Rideable – A little hard
15 Mph Rideable – Very Hard
20 Mph + Rideable but Super hard
30 Mph + No Rideable
Cycling in a Headwind

Cycling In TailWind

Tailwind is the wind when you are cycling with the wind speed. It is fairly easier to cycle in tailwinds – much easier than headwinds. When it’s a tailwind, this can be a distinct advantage, but by contrast, a headwind can sometimes turn what would normally be an enjoyable day on a bike into a long painful slog.


Crosswinds can be even dangerous than headwinds when there are strong gusts, you may even get blown off your cycle.

Tips For Cycling In Wind

Cycling in strong wind is as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. There will come issues like constant sound in your ears of wind blowing, the feeling of harder storm, etc. in that condition, you can follow the tips given below that’ll help you deal with cycling in strong winds:

Lower Your Center of Gravity

When your position is straight, you’ll be more exposed to the winds. You’ll need to lower your center of gravity, by riding with your hands in the drops, bending your elbows to 90 degrees, and lowering your head towards the handlebars. In short, put yourself more downward and stay stable, when a gust of wind pushes your wheel around the road.

Get a Baggy Jacket

As mentioned above, you need to wear form-fitting clothing in windy conditions. As it’ll be cold, so you’ll need one to keep you warm.

Choose Sheltered Routes

Choose your route with care. Always go for the sheltered routes when in windy situations. That includes woods, buildings, walls, even low barriers will benefit. These would protect you and your bike if you ride close to it.

Avoid Aero Wheels

Aerodynamic wheels with deep rims will not help you during windy days. Instead, they’ll offer much more bicycle instability. Standard wheels with low, box-section rims will better suit windy days.

Sit up in a tailwind 

Sitting higher will increase your surface area when the tailwind is 160 degrees behind you. And when it’s coming from the side, it is suggested to angled your back so a huge amount of its surface catches those high-velocity air molecules.

Know Which Way the Wind is Blowing

Get some accurate weather forecasts through apps on your smart device. There’s no shortage of ways about learning the wind direction and strength. It is important to know as it determines where the greatest draft is found.

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