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Minnesail 05-17-2013 06:45 PM

Bicycling as sailing
Last year I rode in a 100-mile gravel bike race, the Amanzo 100. The wind was from straight south all day. The weather service reported constant velocities over 30mph and gusts over 40mph. The high was in the upper 80s.

When heading dead downwind I quit pedaling, sat up in the saddle and put one arm out to the side for maximum windage. I watched my speedometer go past 25mph, headed towards 30mph. That's faster than I care go on loose gravel, because a spill at that speed would cost more skin than I wish to lose. (I guess I am risk averse and will never be an AC72 sailor). So I "reefed" by lowering my hands to the drops on the handlebars and going into a tuck until I was going a more manageable 20mph.

Turning 90 to a beam reach the wind was so strong that it was pushing my bike sideways across the gravel. I was making leeway, on a bike! :eek: I had to steer to weather to maintain a heading (i.e. stay on the road).

After another 90 turn to head straight up wind, well, grinding along with all your might in your lowest gear and barely making 5mph can only be described as beating upwind. :mad:

I ride this year's race tomorrow. The forecast is for winds around 10mph. Much more manageable, and would be OK for sailing too.

Have a great weekend, and may the wind be appropriate for your activities!

carl762 05-17-2013 07:10 PM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
Great story.

I did a charity ride around Mt. Hood to Hood River, OR - 45 miles. The last leg of the trip I remember seeing the speedometer hit 45. Fastest I've ever been on a bike. I was really sailing along. A bit scary.

Now, I'm trying to work up the nerve to start riding the bike to work again. I was hit from behind by a car while in a bike lane, which screwed up my left leg (probably permanently). I biked a few months more, then the monsoon season hit.

I see so much craziness with bikers and cars on a daily basis, it's really going to be hard to get back on the bike. :(

mad_machine 05-17-2013 07:41 PM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
I agree with you there. I do about 100 miles a week. A year ago, I broadsided a caddy that turned into a parking lot right in front of me. Destroyed my front wheel, bloodied my nose, and did a good job of wrecking his rear fender.

The old guy who turned in front of me was livid that I hit him. It took the cops to set him straight (and issue him a ticket for careless)

ccriders 05-17-2013 07:48 PM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
Good for you. It takes real grit to complete a ride like that. Not a lot of joy there until it is finished. Take away the gravel and you have a pretty typical south Texas springtime bike ride. I've never thought of bike handling in sailing terms, but you nailed it.
Get yourself a good rear view mirror and keep your ears open and keep riding.

MarioG 05-17-2013 07:53 PM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
I ride to work everyday across town. My ride is 30 minutes if I don't hit the draw bridge at an opening.(I don't complain, I have made alot of people wait for me to sail thru.) I'm not sure the speeds I hit but I have passed cars and I beat a co-worker from the bridge to the boat yard. Part of the 30 minutes is the dinghy ride to shore,including unfolding the bike.

If your into riding trails theres a state park in North Miami that you can anchor in and have great montian bike trails.

carl762 05-17-2013 09:02 PM

Bicycling as sailing
Had a rearview mirror that day. Smashing to the pavement broke it well. Installed a better one.

Yup I really need to get back to riding /sailing to work. Like sailing I love to feel the wind blasting in my face.

Capt Len 05-17-2013 09:16 PM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
Here on the coast the mountains are full of logging roads, mostly unused and unmaintained.Biking is mostly uphill to the huckel berries but the views are great and the rush back pass the black bears is a heart pounder.

tommays 05-18-2013 08:20 AM

Re: Bicycling as sailing

lancelot9898 05-18-2013 09:04 AM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
I'm in the mountains of North Carolina away from the boat so over the last year have taken up bike riding. It really is surprising how much benefit you get from drafting others as you ride.

sesmith 05-18-2013 09:14 AM

Re: Bicycling as sailing
Bring a spinnaker for this year's downwind sections :)

Watch those crashes. A pothole sent me to the pavement face first last October on a relatively fast downhill on one of my road bikes. Still recovering (good enough to sail and ride again, so life is good). BTW, thank goodness for helmets.

Have a good race!

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