Sooner or later we all have to ride in the rain but, with some knowledge and the right gear, spinning through showers and even the occasional downpour can actually be fun. Here’s our top five tips for cycling in the rain.
Dress to stay dry but know that you’ll still probably get wet
The wetter you get the colder you are going to be and no one likes riding cold. Keep your core warm with a waterproof vest or jacket. Wear layers. You can always take them off if it stops raining or warms up. Remember your body sweats regardless so wear a wicking wool or polypropylene under-layer and outer garments that breathe or you’ll get wet on the inside.
Make sure you can see
When riding in the rain, normal sunglasses cut out too much light and can make road obstacles hard to see. Try clear or yellow lenses in low light. Many manufacturers make glasses with interchangeable lenses. If you still have trouble seeing clearly, wear a cycling cap under the helmet to shield your glasses from the rain and the road spray.
Rain makes it harder for everyone to see, including drivers. To avoid a potentially deadly run-in, make sure you can be seen from every angle. High vis clothing is a great idea as are rear and front lights. Take extra care not to pull out in front of cars and be vigilant when riding through intersections. A wet road is more dangerous for all users.
Avoid puddles and rainbows
The idea of gliding through a puddle may sound like fun but those things can be death traps. Even a very shallow puddle can hide a hazard. Best to go around it or, if that’s not possible, slow down and ride through with care.
The road surface is at its most dangerous just after the rain has started. When the drops start falling the oil on the road will float to the surface and create an oil slick. Watch for those little tell-tale rainbows and never brake or corner in the middle of the roadway, especially at intersections where cars drop most of their oil.
Don’t forget your socks
A spare change of clothes is on your list right? Well, don’t forget a nice dry and clean pair of socks. It’s the one thing we all seem to forget but, even if the rest of your body stays fairly dry, your feet won’t. So nice at the end of a ride to slip on a pair of dry socks.. so awful to squelch around in wet ones.