There’s no getting away from rain. Whatever the time of year, there are days when the heavens open and the rain comes down.
It doesn’t have to be the death of your ride though! With a few key items and a strong resolve, you can get out and ride on even the wettest of days. In summer it can even be refreshing!
First things first, what can you do to keep yourself as dry as possible?
Invest in a good waterproof jacket! One that will repel rain water, and that has a rear hem that hangs low to prevent water flicking up on your back.
Consider wearing overshoes to keep your feet as dry as possible. And don’t wear white or light coloured socks - these will get ruined!
Short-fingered gloves will help you to keep your grip on the handlebars and brakes once everything is wet.
A cap under your helmet will keep some water off your head and the peak will keep rain out of your eyes!
If it’s not particularly cold, you’re just as well wearing shorts, as leggings will only get drenched.
What about the bike?
Reduce your tyre pressure by about 10 psi to increase the surface area of tyre touching the road. This will give you more grip.
Mudguards are a great addition to the bike. These will save anyone you’re riding with from getting splattered with road grime as they sit on your wheel, and they will keep your shorts and back slightly dryer.
After the ride, your bike needs some immediate attention! Apply degreaser to the chain and give it a good wipe down with a rag until it’s completely dry. Apply more chain lube to finish the job. Spraying the front and rear gear mechanisms and brake callipers is a good idea too!
The rain causes shards of glass and other sharp bits to get washed into the road, so check your tyres for any debris that might have become stuck to them.
Riding in the rain.
Your braking distance will increase in the wet, so make sure you start feathering your brakes in plenty of time, and go steady on descents and when cornering.
Carbon rims can lose some of their braking performance in the wet, so be aware of that and ride conservatively. If you have the option, switch out your carbon wheels for aluminium ones.
Try to avoid riding through large puddles, there could be an unexpected rock or a pot hole that you won’t know about until it’s too late!
Give cars as much of a chance as possible to see you, as the rain and condensation reduces visibility - consider lights, bright coloured clothing and reflective strips.
A different perspective
Unlike winter, where the rain is accompanied by cold winds that cause your body temperature to really drop, summer rain can be quite pleasant! A wet day doesn’t have to mean missing a ride or jumping on the turbo, and the sense of achievement when you get home will feel awesome. The key is to be prepared before you head out and to take a few moments when you get back to look after your bike. You never know, you might just learn to love it!