Translating Uphill Cycling into a Head-Wind and Vice Versa.


  • Sjoerd Groeskamp Columbia University


Cycling, Power, Air Drag, Uphill, Head Wind, Drafting


Forces acting upon a biker, can be expressed in terms of power (in Watts). Such forces are for example (but not limited to) air-drag, rolling friction and changes in potential energy (due to gravity, when riding up a hill). Here I will specifically compare power related to air drag, with that related to cycling up a hill. This allows me to define the Incline-Equivalent Wind Velocity. The Incline-Equivalent Wind Velocity translates a slope of a mountain into a wind speed, such that overcoming both forces require the same power. Therefore, the Incline-Equivalent Wind Velocity can be interpreted as the velocity with which the wind has to push a rider such that the rider does not roll down a slope of a certain angle, and the net movement is zero. This can be used to recalculate mountain profiles into Incline-Equivalent Wind Velocity profiles and can express the effect of drafting in terms of a reduction in wind speed and incline, rather than power.


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Author Biography

Sjoerd Groeskamp, Columbia University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow,

Ocean and Climate Physics



How to Cite

Groeskamp, S. (2017). Translating Uphill Cycling into a Head-Wind and Vice Versa. Journal of Science and Cycling, 6(1), 32-37. Retrieved from



Original articles