Device on bike to measure wind?

Where I live, there are many open areas with a lot of wind. I always try to plan my route carefully using weather information (e.g., avoid head winds when possible).

I have found, however, that local weather information is not accurate. For instance, headwind is often shifted 10-15 degrees. For example, if the weather info reads north-west, it often feels like north/north-east.

Now, I looked around and it seems that wind is very erratic and there is a lot of local wind variation. Especially where I live, there are a lot of intermittend wind bursts.

Thus, I am wondering: are there devices that measure wind that you could take with you on your bike? I would be interested to plot measured wind strength alongside my ride information.

Yep - it’s called your speed and power data! :grinning: :grinning: - sorry - no I don’t know of any because I would imagine it would be skewed by your speed of movement as all normal wind gauges are stationary.

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hmm, I live in a similar area, its flat and winds are usually from southwest and often strong and gusty. The head winds are my friend, and make it easy to simulate climbing.

Look at wunderground.com and see how many amateur weather stations are near your route. Not everyone with a weather station has a wind gauge. Some have wind gauges but not mounted in good location. Accuracy of amateur weather stations is also something you need to look at.

I don’t know of anything you could use on your bike. However, I use Windy (the app on my phone and the website). I live in a more hilly area but near a lot of canyons so it gets pretty breezy. That way I can make sure I go out into the headwind first so I get a quick ride home :slight_smile: . I’ve used the app and website for a while now and while it’s not perfect, it does a decent job of wind direction and you can zoom in and see which areas might be more windy than others.

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Epic Ride Weather is a cycling-specific app for detailed local weather info. Not sure how well it aligns with your specific needs but pretty cool…

Modern aircraft have flight management computers (FMCs) which compute the wind in flight by comparing the aircraft’s airspeed and heading, to its actual ground-speed and ground-track (in a nutshell… don’t want to get too technical). This value can be obtained and displayed on the Navigation Display (ND) or Primary Flight Display (PFD). In fact this data is often data-linked to weather services to help meteorologists with their forecasts:

You would need some sort of device (anemometer or sensitive dynamic pressure sensor) to measure the “relative wind” (speed, angle of attack to bike “track”), and those inputs would have to be fed into software. Or you could kick it old school like when student pilots are learning navigation and use a special slide rule type device to do it manually, but you really should be keeping both hands on the bars :wink: .

Not sure this exists for a cycling application.

I just look at flags, trees, grass, smoke, etc. and use my ears. :slightly_smiling_face:

Headwinds make you stronger, but yes, it is nice to have them at the outset and have a nice push on the way home.

I’ve thought about that, if you have a standard route and mostly ride in the same position (same tires, same pressure, etc) its possible to make an app that would estimate wind speed based on power and speed.

yes, intervals first to improve quality of workout!

Perhaps a Pitot tube mounted to your head tube would help in this calculation.

That’s exactly what I’m looking for – thanks!

Only now to make it smaller…

Velocomp makes devices measuring your wind resistance to calculate either your power output or aerodynamic drag. Not sure if they can also determine wind direction. (Also would probably be way to expensive, just for measuring wind)

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Wouldn’t wind measured on the bike just be the (vector) sum of speed and actual wind speed? You’d need to carry an anemometer.

It writes to your .fit file if you want as well. I love this field!

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It does exist & copies the aeroplane stuff quite a lot. For example the velocomp ‘aeropod’ has a pitot tube to measure pressure forwards (actually 90 degrees to the handlebar) to get an air speed and it also connects to an Ant+ speed sensor to be able to subtract ground speed. I think the cheaper “powerpod” also do it.

The main limitation is that it’s very directional, so no good at cross winds. We all know cycling with a stiff crosswind is harder & this would miss that completely. You could have a 25mph crosswind and it would report 0 wind speed because it was the wrong vector. I’m guessing that planes always go significantly faster than the wind. Maybe helicopters?

Velocomp devices connect to Ant+ speed sensors so can subtract the ground speed, but without that it would be a combination.

I know this is an old thread, but … :upside_down_face:

I have a PowerPod v4 on my bike and it does, indeed, provide headwind speed data to a Garmin head unit using a widget downloaded from the Garmin ConnectIQ app.

It works pretty well and the displayed number ‘feels’ about right. Interestingly, the same widget also provides very accurate incline data (ie without the lag that you see from the barometric altimeter on a Garmin).

What i haven’t found is if that data is recorded by Garmin, and so is viewable. I think it is if one downloads the data from the PowerPod itself, but I haven’t bothered to do that.

There is an Austrian company currently developing a wind sensor for bikes and an app to display the exact wind direction in movement. With that solution you can see the actual wind in real-time and record wind data during your training. They are called windpuls and their aim is to have wind data integrated in Strava within the next few years. The sensor will be released this year. You can get in touch with them via their website or on social media.

windpuls

I live in an area with similar wind problems and have put a lot of time into searching for a way to get accurate forecasts and then validate those forecasts with actual wind readings taken while biking. You might be the only person I’ve found online who has a clue what it’s like to ride in wind that’s constantly gusting up and down, changing direction and never matches the forecast. I’ve almost died when crosswinds gust right as a vehicle is passing.

There are no trees on the great plains and looking at crops or even grass doesn’t work (I’m so sick of hearing those suggestions). WindField looks interesting but I don’t have a Garmin and I also really doubt it would be accurate out here.

Windpuls is one of the most promising products I’ve seen. Unfortunately it’s not available and no release date is listed. I will email them.

CdaCrr with the weatherFlow anemometer looks great but very hard to read while riding and for me would require using two phones because I already use my phone as a bike computer (Supercycle app).

I used a photography clamp to hold a handheld anemometer in front of my bars over the front wheel. The display was unreadable in the sun. The bluetooth smartphone app that went with the device displayed the reading in small text and again would need two phones so I returned the anemometer.

The PowerPod probably works great but it’s just too expensive. $300 I think.

So I gave up on measuring the wind and focused on forecasts and weather station data.

Forecasts are basically useless here. I noticed a tremendous improvement when I ditched Google Weather for Hyperlocal Weather because hyperlocal includes gust speeds. It’s still very inaccurate, and seems even worse now that Apple purchased it.

Epic Ride Weather gives you route forecasts using Strava activities, which are super useful, but it’s a paid app and you can get basically the same type of route forecast by using Windy. It’s a little harder to use but not much, and you can test it out using windy.com before downloading the app.

The trick to getting the most accurate forecast so far is to use multiple models. Here’s my process:

  1. identify potential biking opportunities using the 10-day graphs for precipitation, temperature and wind gusts from Hyperlocal Weather on Android or Apple Weather on iPhone.
  2. Open Flowx app and long-press on the wind graph to open the compare window. This lets you compare 9 forecast models that have wind gust forecasts. It’s really hard to read but I adjusted the settings so the center line is 12 mph, which is my go/no-go limit.
  3. If at least 4-5 of the forecast models show tolerable wind I open Windy and check route forecasts for my top routes (you can save 3 without paying, make them by hand or import .gpx’s from Strava, and be sure “speed” is turned on). Windy uses the ECMWF model by default and usually shows gusts higher than most of the other models. It’s still worth checking tho; I’ve been on rides where 9 models said low wind but ECMWF said high and it was high.
  4. Use Windy to check the last reported gusts from nearby weather stations within the last hour or two before leaving. Sometimes the forecasts are all a total lie and actual wind readings make the go/no-go decision easy for me.
  5. This would be the step where I take wind readings on a ride and use them to validate the forecasts and improve my interpretation of the various models in the future.

Those steps are the best I can do. I’ve posted online in multiple places, contacted the developers of numerous weather apps, anemometer manufacturers, a wind sock manufacturer, etc. I even considered building my own device. At this point it’s a waste of time and I’m stuck dealing with bad forecasts and crappy wind conditions until I can move in a few years.

If anyone has a suggestion/tip I’ve missed I’d love to hear it.

Everywhere is different, however that seems a little low unless actual is much higher. It’s windy here, and few trees in the SF bay delta. I was riding Sunday into a headwind at easy endurance pace, doing 11mph. I think the wind was 20mph gusting 35 but don’t remember. Bike and riding location play a part. Shallow wheels on the gravel bike help. My Tarmac has Roval Rapide CLX gen2 and although they are 50+mm deep they are well behaved in the wind. County highways and passing trucks can be a problem on really gusty days, I stay in neighborhoods on those days and am careful of gusts between houses or bridges or large buildings. Staying loose on the bike and slowing down reactions is also key imho.

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As a cyclist and wind energy professional, I have a love/hate relationship with the wind.

What I can say is microclimates are very prevalent and wind conditions can change dramatically in less than 1km.

Also worth noting the kinetic energy in wind grows exponentially at the cubed relationship of wind speed. Therefore, it’s the differential in wind speed that makes the difference, ie a 20mph headwind plus 15mph bike speed is a differential of 35mph and is going to create far more resistance than a 20mph tailwind at 20mph bike speed will help.

We use digital anemometers on our turbines but have picked up a few handheld units off Amazon for cheap that provide convenience and fairly accurate data.

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