Whether you are facing heavy rains or even just a sprinkle, riding in the rain can be a nuisance for cyclists. But before you call it a day and revert to using the trainer, consider these tips to stay comfortable.
- Dress for comfort and warmth. If you get wet, you will get cold. That’s why it’s important to remain as dry as possible. Work from head to toe. A hooded, waterproof jacket is an excellent start. Cover your shoes with neoprene covers, and wear a wicking fabric underneath any waterproof coverings. You will still sweat as you ride, so it’s important to remain dry, even underneath your waterproof coverings.
- Protect your eyes with glasses. No one wants rain spritzing into their eyes, so select a pair of comfortable, high-coverage glasses. Avoid sunglasses, as rainy conditions are dark already. A pair of prescription or non-prescription glasses (depending upon your vision needs) will protect your eyes and allow you to see. Spray some Rain-X or other anti-fog product on your glasses or they’ll fog up and be useless in the rain. An extra tip- you can purchase anti-fog products in wipe form. Tuck a few in the pocket of your jacket so you always have them handy.
- Careful for slick spots. Road surfaces are slickest just after the rain begins, so riding in the rain is most hazardous early after rain begins. Dried oils mix with dirt and debris, and can create hazardous road conditions. Use extra caution when the rain first begins. Monitor the road for oily surfaces or standing water. Also, remember that standing water and puddles can obscure potholes and dips in the road. It’s not worth taking chances and getting into a crash. Avoid these areas as much as possible.
- Increase your braking distance. Just like your car’s braking distance increases in rainy conditions, so does your bike. Check your brake pads often to ensure that they are in good condition, and allow extra braking distance.
- Fenders are a good thing. If you bike with any regularity in rainy weather, fenders are a must. It will add to your comfort and once you add them, you’ll wish you always had them.
- Lube it up! Your chain, that is. Apply a good, thick coating of a heavy chain lube to your dry chain. Wet conditions will rust your chain in no time. There are a number of lubes out there specially made to be heavier.
- Be seen! Rainy days are usually dark, dreary, and overcast. It’s easy to be overlooked when you blend in or simply aren’t visible. Wear bright, visible clothing and use LED lights. Flashing lights may seem a little obnoxious at first, but can make a difference between being seen, and being struck.
- Reduce your tire pressure. To keep your grip on the road, consider lowering your tire pressure by 15-20 psi below normal levels. Yes, this will slow your speed, but you’ll experience a much better grip on the road and will feel more secure riding on wet roadways.
Rainy days shouldn’t keep you from riding, and taking a few precautions can keep you safe and comfortable. As always, wear proper gear and be aware of your surroundings. If you have any questions about a bicycle crash or the laws in your state, contact an experienced bicycle crash lawyer at Kass & Moses. Exercise care and caution when riding in the rain!