–By Charlie Seymour
Riding in the rain can be a very intimidating or tough task. Many people would rather just ride the trainer when the weather is less than ideal because of convenience. However if it is done the right way, riding in the rain can be a very enjoyable experience. I have compiled a list of important tips and tricks to make riding in the rain fun.
The first topic is clothing choice. No matter what you wear, you will get wet so keep that in mind when choosing a kit to wear. I went for a road ride in 60 degrees and my choice consisted of regular mountain bike shoes, cycling socks, Giordana arm warmers and knee warmers, Giordana bibs and a short sleeve jersey, a wind vest and a Giordana rain jacket. I chose not to wear gloves as I like to keep a natural grip on the bars. Glasses are a must, and a cycling cap helps with rain getting behind the glasses. If your ride is in the evening then go for a clear lens rather than a shaded one.
Riding late in the day while raining brings me to my next point, which is visibility. Front and rear lights are an essential piece to have, as many drivers sight is affected by the rain and they are less likely to look for cyclists. A flashing front and rear light will help dramatically. I chose to use a 900 lumen front light and a 60 lumen rear light. The front light is very important because there is no sun to light up the roads and the rain makes things look even darker.
My next tip is about bike setup. I chose to ride my mountain bike on bike paths and a few roads. Make sure to plan your route before, and try to leave out tight and fast corners because grip is very limited in the rain. An added tip is to lower tire pressure to provide a larger contact patch with the road. I also applied rock n’ roll extreme lube to my chain before my ride. The rain will make your drivetrain very gritty, which will wear your components out faster than dry conditions. Using a wet lube displaces water from the chain compared to a dry lube.
For many people riding in the rain has a big mental block. The biggest way to get over this is to accept the fact that you will get soaked. You can only get covered in so much water, so enjoy riding through puddles! Another tip is to keep your phone and other things in a plastic bag so it does not ruin them. Once you have returned from your ride, try your best to get most of the water off of your bike with a towel, especially the chain and cassette. This will prevent your drivetrain from rusting and avoid a large bill for new parts. Also, if possible, wash your kit immediately after your ride because if it is left wet and folded on top of itself, it will create a lot of bacteria. If a washer is not available, hang you kit to let it air dry and then wash when it is available.
Many people find riding in the rain to be a lot of fun, so try it out to change things up a bit!