Riding in the rain isn’t something we readily choose to do as cyclists. Could it be because we simply don’t like to get wet or is there an underlying reason in most of us that stops us from riding in wet weather?
It doesn’t take a lot of preparation to physically ride in wet weather, a few additional pieces of clothing and a dash of common sense.
Guide To Cycling In The Rain
When riding in the rain the thing you must understand is that that the grip is still there, but you must adapt your riding style to find it.
If you think of riding on dry roads on a warm day you will carve through the corners, leaning the bike over and you take the abundance of grip for granted.
With wet roads you have to stay upright for as long as possible before turning, maximising the grip available to your tyres, particularly whilst braking.
Though you may know the road, or think you do, even familiar roads can prove to be far more difficult in the wet. Things that you do not notice in the dry can lead to an accident when wet if you are not careful:
- Painted lines and road markings become like ice when wet.
- Metal drain covers again offer very little grip when wet.
- Brick surfaces and paving stones are very, very slippery when wet.
- Tram tracks or level crossings present a danger with the tracks being extremely slippery.
Clothing For Riding In The Rain
In terms of clothing and layers to use in the rain;
- Make sure you cover your hand and feet as they get coldest when wet on a bike.
- A synthetic or wool base layer will keep the sweat from sticking to you.
- A good waterproof jacket is invaluable, not only to keep you dry but warm.
- Neon or bright colours keep you visual to other road users.
Watch Out For
Two main things to remember always when riding in the rain.
- Brakes are much less effective so stopping distances will be greatly increased.
- You are less visible to other road users so lights in inclement weather are a must, the more the merrier and the brighter the better!!
When on public roads also consider that puddles tend to form on the inside of the road, where you normally ride. If you have to go around a puddle, make your intentions abundantly clear to all other traffic around you and don’t be afraid to wait until it is safe to do so.
Bike Preparation For Wet Weather
What changes can we make to the bike and the way that we look after it in wet weather?
- Mudguards!! They don’t look cool but by heck do they make wet weather riding a lot more bearable. They also keep the bike a lot cleaner than it would be without them, trust me! Head to your local bike store, they will be happy to help you get your bike prepared.
- Wash the bike after every wet ride, this will save you money in the long run. Pay close attention to the braking surfaces and drivetrain. Wash all road grime off and dry and lubricate your drivetrain, it will last a lot longer.
- Check brake pads on a regular basis as they will wear quicker in wet conditions.
- Use a wet old based lubricant, stay away from sprays as when they get wet they get everywhere and are quick to wash off.
Most of all stay safe and have fun!!