Riding in strong cross winds

2021 has certainly been off to a great cycling season start but we have experienced some very gusty winds on almost every ride. At the top of Highwood Pass the winds suddenly kicked up dust, at the top of the valley near Drumheller we were surprised by some gusty winds that came out of nowhere and on Tuesday evening my cycling group met in Spingbank for a training ride. Just as we arrived at our meeting spot the wind pick up significantly. This was a perfect opportunity to learn how to best handle gusty cross winds.

What I learned was that when faced with a cross wind you can ‘edge’ your tire, much like you edge your skis when you want to turn. Do this by leaving the pedal on the leeward side to the wind down which will cause you to lean ever so slightly into that cross wind. The result is that you feel much more stable. Another tip I learned is that cycling too slow or very fast can make you feel more unstable in a cross wind, so maintain a reasonable mid range pace. Unless you are a pro rider, don’t cross tires with the rider in front of you in a gusty cross wind, even if that is the best location for drafting. One strong wind surge could push your front tire into the back tire of the rider in front of you. Here a link to an example of what can happen in strong cross winds.

If you are a pro rider, this video will provide you with some tips on how to take advantage of a cross wind situation to over take another rider if that is your goal. My goal, at the moment, is just to feel steady and stay on my two wheels in strong cross winds.