The wind can be a key factors in your achievement and subsequent enjoyment on any day of any road trip but particularly a long distance ride. Having ridden through Provence twice, you get to learn very quickly about the wind – The Mistral – is an infamous gale that perpetually blows between 40 and 100kmh through most of the year, originating in the centre of France and heading down through to the Mediterranean.
If you’ve never cycled in proper wind, it can have an exhilarating and debilitating effect on your mood, day and overall progress depending on the direction. You can only hope for a tailwind but the balance of nature eventually leaving you riding into the wind at some point, usually bringing an onset of Tourette’s for me anyway.
A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache. Catherine the Great
The reality is that a strong headwind can affect your journey by upwards of 10%, which when you’re cycling seven to eight hours a day can put nearly an hour on the end of your oft exhausting day. Of course, the tailwind provides the same principle but is more of a joyful bounty when it comes. Take a look at windity.com before you set out.
There are various theories online about how to reduce the impact of the wind but the only one that I ever found of use was drafting, which is basically when you sit literally right behind the guy in front and miraculously actually makes a significant difference to your ride – probably easing it by 25%, which may not sound a lot but when you’re on the road for 100km a day is like manna from heaven. Picking routes that are sheltered are generally helpful as well but in the end you have to tough it out.
The older you get the stronger the wind gets - and it's always in your face. Pablo Picasso