Tips for cycling in the rain
Riding in the rain is part of the life on two wheels. It is not always pleasant. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare yourself properly for a ride in the downpour. On this week’s blog, we’ve got some practical tips for you to protect your body and your bike when cycling in the rain.
Cover up yourself from the rain
The no. 1 essential garment for a rainy day is undoubtedly a raincoat. You ought to pick a tight-fitting rain jacket rather than a baggy one that can produce a parachute effect, which will hamper you from moving forward. Also, a raincoat with reflective patterns or neon stripes would make you more visible in the rain.
If you’re cycling regularly in the rain, we highly recommend that you should invest in some waterproof trousers or over trousers to keep your bottom half dry. For your feet, waterproof boots or shoe covers are helpful when your tyres splash up water from the road. More significantly, if you’re riding in heavy or constant rain, your feet may get wet despite wearing those waterproof garments. In this case, a cheap option to prolong your dry condition for as long as possible is to utilise plastic bags (as crude as it sounds!). Slip plastic bags over your socks, put on your shoes then wear overshoes.
Apart from keeping your feet dry, your hands also need keeping warm to maintain core temperature. Apparently, the hands are exposed to the extremities of the weather the most as they are fixed and open to the elements on your handlebars. If they get wet, or worse, start to feel frozen, you’ll struggle during the ride. To prevent this circumstance, waterproof gloves are crucial in the rain. Some cycling gloves are so thick that they might hinder your bike control. So, choose a pair of gloves that can keep the rain out but still allow you to maintain dexterity with the brakes and gears. You can always layer your gloves, with a thin waterproof layer and then an inner layer for colder days.
Another essential accessory includes a waterproof cycling cap. Since many cyclists opt for helmets with air vents to cope with the heat, they are not so good in the rain. Therefore, a light cycling cap worn under your helmets is a great option. Better still, a cap with a peak in the front gives your eyes extra protection from the spray. Notably, don’t assume you must stock up with a plethora of layers in the rain. It might be raining, but it can still be warm. Overheating causes you to sweat and feel exhausted faster. Nobody wants to get wet both outside and inside while on the move. Looking into wicking fabrics when buying clothes, they allow your clothes to ‘breathe’. This means that any internal heat you’re generating can escape, so you’ll sweat less.
Prepare your bike for the wet weather
Now you’ve got your body covered up against the rain; your bike needs taking care of, too. It is highly recommended that you equip your bike with bright lights and reflectors to the front, rear and even sides of it. The point is to make yourself as noticeable as possible in the downpour so that other road users can see you easily at all angles.
Moreover, fenders or mudguards are essential as they prevent all that filthy water on the road from splashing up onto your legs, back or even head. Longer fenders will keep some dirt and grit away from adhering to your chain and gears, maintaining the smooth run. Even if the rain doesn’t catch you, the roads remain wet afterwards. Hence, you can still get some dirt kick up whilst cycling post-rain. All in all, mudguards added to your bike will make your life a little less dirty and a little less wet moving forward.
Ride carefully on the road
Bear in mind that bike brakes are much less effective when wet. Plus, slippery roads make it slower for the bike to halt, so give yourself more than the usual time and spacing to stop. Be cautious of puddles on the road. They may look small in depth, however, not only will you get wet from the splash, but puddles can also be incredibly dangerous as you don’t know what’s lurking underneath. It could be a deep pothole that makes you fall off your bike. Worse still, nasty things such as nails or glass might hide in there, which can cause a flat tyre or a crash.
No matter how extreme the unfavourable weather can be, if well-prepared, you can ride through it all, even snow on one of our Fat bikes!
Give your bike a maintenance session post-ride under the rain
Last but not least, taking good care of your bike after the rain is essential. Normally, you immediately dry yourself after a rainy ride, you should treat your bike the same. Wiping water and dirt off the bike wheel rims, front and back, ensures that the brakes are most efficient for your next ride. Also, it’s important to clean your chain and remove the grits to prevent rust from building up on the chain, which will prolong its lifespan. If you want to be at the peak of careful, cover the chain, gear mechanisms and brake callipers with degreaser, then vigorously wipe it down. However, it is recommended to avoid getting degreaser on the hubs, bottom bracket, wheel rims and brake blocks.
Ideally, your whole bike would get washed down during a wet ride. Nevertheless, we all know that muds and grits could stick onto places you’d rather them not. Therefore, spraying water on your bike to clean it properly afterwards is recommended.
For more details of how you can self-maintain your bike, check out our blog: Basic Bike Maintenance That Any Cyclists Can Do.
With those aforementioned tips, we hope that the rain won’t discourage you from feeling the freedom on two wheels.
For Reid, we believe that on two wheels, so much more can happen in life. Reid is for everyone united by a desire to do things differently. Whether roaming about town, commuting to your city job, climbing the winding country roads, or zooming down a trail, we’re here to give you everything you need to get out there and explore your freedom the way you want to.
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