Rain is a beautiful thing, but it can throw a wrench in riding plans if you’re not prepared. This guide will keep you pedaling when the skies open up. Don’t let a bit of water keep you inside.
There will come a point in time when you will be forced to expose yourself to one of the many life sustaining elements Mother Nature has to offer, rain being one of them. Whether you’re about to head out for a structured training ride, or commuting to/from work, school, a loved one’s house, or wherever, you’ll have to be well prepared to take the rain head-on and prevent it from ruining your plans. You must act as if it’s just another minor bump on the road of life. Here’s a list of tips to help you make the most out of riding in the rain. Be aware that the only way to stay completely dry is to just stay indoors, but that’s boring… You don’t want to be boring, so head out and live it up, yo!
Wear rain/cold weather specific clothing (e.g. wind vest/jacket, waterproof shoe covers, cold weather gloves) to stay as warm and dry as possible throughout the entirety of your ride. Of course, sweating will occur, so find a jacket that is also well ventilated or else you’ll have to choose if you’d rather be soaked from rain water or your own sweat. Full zippered jerseys and jackets are recommended so you can open them up once things start getting heated.
Lower your tire pressure. Reducing the tire pressure increases traction which reduces the chances of your tire slipping out. Make sure that you don’t lower the pressure too much to where your sidewalls fold over which could cause pinch flats or loss of control. One bonus is that lower air pressure often results in lower rolling resistance as well (AKA it makes you faster!).
Add front/rear fenders to keep water/mud/debris from being catapulted straight into your face and onto your rear. Trust me, you don’t want to look like you’ve got a mad case of skid marks when you’re done riding. There are easily attachable fender options that can be slapped onto just about any bike, anytime.
If you’re getting cold during your ride in the rain, use the chill as motivation to ride harder. The harder you ride the warmer you’ll become as warmer blood will be pumped throughout your body during harder efforts. However, remember that the grip of your tires will be reduced so approach corners and braking segments with a bit of reservation.
If commuting, you’ll want to bring an extra set of clothes to change into once you arrive at your destination. Make sure to pack them in a ziplock or grocery bag so that they stay dry and warm as well. You don’t want to ride in the rain for an hour, then have to go through the rest of your day uncomfortably wet and smelling like a wet dog. Just be prepared. Simple as that.
Chafing can occur if you’re out riding for more than a couple of hours, especially in wet conditions. Use some chamois cream to prevent the chafing and provide comfort to your sensitive parts. Chafing and saddle sores can keep you off the bike longer than most rainy spells.
Don’t forget to remain hydrated. Being pelted by rain might make you forget that you still must drink water. You’re likely still going to sweat and lose water even though it may not feel like it. Remember, you’re not an amphibian with the ability to absorb water through your skin, but that would be pretty rad, wouldn’t it?
Bring your lights with you. Using lights will keep drivers aware of your presence, even during the day time. Remember that visibility goes down for drivers, especially during heavy downpours. You might also want to wear bright colored or reflective clothing to remain as visible as possible and decrease the likelihood of getting hit by a car.
Wear cycling glasses with clear lenses or don’t wear any at all. Water and muck can accumulate on the lenses, and daylight is generally reduced on rainy days. You’ll want near perfect, clear vision so you’ll be able to see the road ahead of you and quickly spot any changes to the terrain ahead of time to prevent accidents.
You might also want to consider putting your electronic devices and important documents such as credits cards, I.D.s and cash in a sealable plastic bag to prevent them from being damaged. Note, most touch devices will still work fine through a plastic sandwich bag.
Have fun with it. If you’re exposed to the rain for long enough, there will come a point where you will be completely soaked and their will be nothing else to do about it. Once you’re wet you’re wet, so you might as well have fun with it. Ride through the biggest puddles you can find! But also remember to dry and relube your bike once you’re amphibious excursion has concluded.
These are just a few tips that we recommend. Of course we’re sure you can also come up with some great ideas on how to make riding in the rain more enjoyable. Just remember to cover the basic necessities before you head out. Who knows. You might already be the type of person that happily splashes through every puddle of water you come across. Congratulations. You already live life to its fullest buddy. Keep doing you, and keep pedaling.