Tag Archives: solo riding

Happy New Year

Dear Rouleurs,

This is my  last blog for 2015.  At the start of the year, I set myself a goal to ride 5000 km before 1st January 2016. Despite illness and a couple of really enjoyable holidays I was able to achieve this easily.  I’m actually pretty chuffed. The grand total was 5947.39 km from 432 individual rides.

So this my ride log care of my GPS ->2015-Bikelog

And this my monthly ride total -> November and December were great months.


As I have a fetish for charts here’s another 2.  This time its my weekly total below,


and ‘worm’ charts showing progress to target.


Woo hoo…I’m off to a barbeque.  Happy New Year, see you all in 2016.


Making the best of Melbourne’s windy days

Riding into the wind

The Lead Out

If you are like me, you dread riding into a howling headwind.  Whilst the tougher and dare I say fitter members of the Melbourne cycling fraternity might say ‘Harden up’, the reality is learning to cycle intelligently in the wind is a better option.  This post briefly describes how someone new to cycling can adjust to cycling in windy conditions, either alone or o as part of a group.

The Breakaway

Bottom line: Plan your route and check out http://www.bom.gov.au/marine/wind.shtml, to see the most recent wind forecast.

The Peloton

There are three basic conditions that the cyclist must deal with:

Headwind  Headwind Where the wind is predominately in your face. Using the ‘clock analogy’, the wind is somewhere between 11.00 am and 1.00 pm.
Crosswind Crosswind Where the wind is coming from either your left or right and catching your side profile. Using the Clock analogy, the wind  is either blowing from 9.00 to 11.00 am or 1.00 to 3.00 pm
Tailwind  Tailwind Where the wind is directly assisting you from behind.  The wind is behind you somewhere between 3.00 pm and 9.00 am.

Riding into a headwind

Rise to the challenge use headwinds as a means to build conditioning.  However if that’s not your thing, here’s a few tips for working into the wind.

Cycling by yourself  Your best tactic is tuck down into an aero position where you are seeking to minimize the vertical area presented to the wind, thus reducing drag.  Think racing car profile versus that of a bus.  Tuck your elbows in and place your hands on the drop part of the handle bars.  Try to align your head and torso with top bar of the frame.  If you are like me and have a bad back and tight hamstrings, try to duck down as best you can.  Word of warning, don’t fall in the trap of road watching, or you’ll run up the back of someone or collect an obstacle eg street furniture, pedestrian or as in my case a parked car….ouch.
Cycling with group  Your best tactic is to draft  the rider in front of you and let them create a pocket of broken air that you can slipstream into.  Its worth watching tour coverage of time trials or track cycling events to see how the pros do this.  Most columns I’ve read about this seem to suggest being no further than a bike length back to achieve the most benefit.  Word of warning, don’t overlap wheels with rider in front, lest risking a very angry conversation post-crash

Riding in crosswinds

I’ve always found these the toughest to ride in, particularly where the wind is blowing from 10 o’clock to 11 o’clock and pushing your line out into either the rest of cycling group or oncoming traffic.

Cycling by yourself Again, there’s not much you can do other tuck down into an aero position or plan a route that has some cover to break up the wind up.  On really windy days I’ve done laps of Albert Park Lake to break up the ride.
Cycling in Group Pelotons tend to arrange themselves into an angled formation called an echelon.  The leader bears the brunt of the wind and the rest of the group try to draft in the wind shadow created by the bike/body profile.  The formation resembles a diagonal line pointing away from the dominant direction of the wind. Last year, I saw the peloton bunch up so closely into the crosswind, that the formation looked like a gigantic elongated teardrop.  This made me wonder if this isn’t the preferred pattern for very large groups of competing teams.

Riding with a tailwind

Everyone’s favourite wind and makes you the rider feel like a tour champion, for as long as it lasts.

Cycling by yourself  Plan your route so that you return home with a tailwind.  There is nothing worse than a long slog home.  Keep an eye on the weather forecast to determine whether a change will come through and whether the direction may change.  I look at the BOM wind forecast (see above) to check strength and direction.
Cycling in a group  If you are racing, using a tailwind is a perfect time to launch an attack. Up the cadence, Tora! Tora! Tora!.  But like all good things, favourable winds will end.  Make sure you have left something in the ‘tank’, lest be left  behind.  Also don’t take unnecessary risks with newly found speed, going faster means landing harder in a crash.