Heads or Tails

Si

Simon

China

“We’ve got a headwind, so you must have a  tail wind”

This is a comment we regularly get from cyclists who are coming in the other direction, and in many cases, we hear it when we reckon we’ve been slogging into a headwind too. In most places, wind changes direction throughout the day, and due to topography, not to mention the road changing direction. Wind rarely helps the cyclist, unless it’s coming directly from the rear, or within 45degrees or so. If it comes from either the front or the sides, it slows you down. The only time I’m glad of a headwind is when it’s really hot, and so a cooling gust becomes a welcome break.

Another misunderstood fact about cycling is that cycling in hills is quite a bit slower than cycling on the flat. Many people reckon that you make up the time on the downhills but typically this is not the case. I was thinking about this the other day, getting back to my secondary school maths, which I’m ashamed to say, I quite enjoyed. So lets take a simple problem to show this:

Say we take a 20km stretch of road and we compare the time taken if it’s flat and if it’s hilly. I’m going to round the figures here to make it simple.

First, lets say that on the flat you do 20km/hr, then the section of road will take 1 hour to cycle.

Now lets put in a hill with a 10km uphill and 10km downhill. Then lets say you do 10km/hr on the uphill and 40km/hr on the downhill. That means it will take 1hour for the uphill and 1/4 hour for the downhill, making the total 1 1/4 hours in total.  This is made even worse on on really steep hills, or on bumpy, unpaved roads as it’s more difficult to make up the time on the downhills.

Now that we’re on the subject of numbers, I may as well give you some of our stats that some readers have asked us to include:

Farthest cycled in a day: 212.km (Northern Desert, Peru)

Shortest cycled in a day: 60km (Near the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia)

Average cycled in a day: 110km (The Andes really slowed us down!)

Highest speed: 73.4km/hr (Peru)

Slowest speed: 4.7km/hr (Climbing in Bolivia)

Average speed: 21km/hr (Again, the Andes really slowed us down!)

Highest altitude on bike: 4500m (Bolivia)

Total distance since Ireland: 12900km

P.S. If anyone has any other questions or subjects you’d like us to include, pease ask in the comments box below, thanks!

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11 thoughts on “Heads or Tails

  1. Thanks for the stats…so that must mean you’re approaching half way round. Time for another bottle of Bubble Brothers sparkly I think!

    Keep spinning!

  2. here’s one for you:

    what have you thrown away as being useless and what have you picked up along the way as being useful beyond belief (a plastic bottle, and old toothbrush for the chain?)

    Richard

  3. ‘Highest speed: 73.4km/hr’ with the trailer? thats damn fast. I dont think id hit that on a racer on a hill I knew even.

    I cant think of any PC questions

    keep on keeping on

  4. I’ve no idea what 74kmph on a bike with trailer feels like that particular record was set by Evil Si Kneivel.

    Fastest I’ve managed or intend on ever managing was 63kmph.And that was sketchy.

    Above thirthy the bob is likely to jackknife if you brake too fast,so at 74km its going to take about 100m at least to come to a stop.

  5. I love the fact that there are only ever headwinds. You don’t notice tailwinds, you just think you are cycling like a bit of a legend that day!

  6. HELLO FEARGHAL,SIMON,MARINA,PLEASE TOTRANSLATE IN SPANISH,ENVOY FOR PERSON OF CHACO ARGENTINA,CHICOS HOLA ESPERO QUE ESTEEN BIEN LES QUERIA CONTAR QUE TENGO UNA PHOTOGRAPHY OF FERGHAL AND SIMON IN LA VERDE CHACO ARGENTINA Y SE LAS QUIERO ENVIAR PERO NO SE COMO, ESPERO SU PRONTA RESPUESTA, ENVOY FOR ADRIANA OF ARGENTINA.THANK YOU BY BY ENVOY FOR ADRY.ROUSE@HOTMAIL.COM

  7. Keeping track of your progress with great interest here back in st kevin’s greystones! Kids here wondering where what route you have decided on for the return home. glad to see you are avoiding pakistan! they reckon you should definitely check out baghdad.

  8. I’m not sure exactly what route Fearghal is planning on doing through Central Asia. I am currently in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and head today towards Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). I will then cycle over the mountains to Tashkent (Uzbekistan) followed by Turkmenistan then Iran to Turkey.

    We’re still pondering what route to take back to Ireland from Turkey, whether to go via North Africa, or to come straight in to Ireland via Romania, Hungary etc. We’ll keep you posted.

    Simon

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