A ridiculously wet year, 2022 has been particularly frustrating for many cyclists across Australia.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney has endured its wettest year since records began, and many other capital cities and regional centres are not far behind.
What does this mean for cyclists? Well, it has been a shocker, with many riders well down on their year-to-date kilometre count, not hitting weekly targets or goals, and generally feeling less bike-fit than they’d like to be.
Before we get into some wet-weather riding tips, we are keen to hear your thoughts. How do you manage wet-weather cycling? Is it a case of more indoor training, enjoying some down and dropping the KM count, using an older training bike … or applying Rule #5 and still going? Have your say in the comments section below!
Wet Weather Cycling
The bottom line is this – we all need to keep riding, and with this in mind we’ve compiled a list of top tips to help you stay safe when out there pushing pedals in the rain.
Be Seen And Stay Dry
While visibility is far more more critical than comfort, the two can go together with top quality gear. Look for highly-visible, waterproof, jackets. Breathable fabric and ventilated design is also very important! You want to be as comfortable as possible while riding in the rain.
Drop Your Tyre Pressure
When riding in wet weather we recommend running either slightly wider tyres (28mm are great!) and slightly lower tyre pressures to account for conditions. Experienced cyclists often lower tyre pressure by 10 to 15psi to assist with a wider coverage area and more grip on the road.
Wet rides mean cooler temperatures. The last thing you want or need is to catch a cold. Dress appropriately, layer according to how you’ll feel 20 minutes or half an hour into your ride, and wear garments that will wick or at least repel any water that may get through.
Keep Your Lights On
It’s common sense but sadly we often see fellow riders out there, cycling without lights. Front and rear lights are highly recommended while cycling in the rain. Keep them on, keep them flashing, and do your best to be seen. Planning to ride the next day? Make sure your lights are on charge the night before so they’re 100% ready in the morning.
Slippery When Wet
Road surfaces are often slipperiest just after the rain has begun. Slow down and ride to conditions!
Car’s & trucks leave oil and residue on the road and there’s no way of knowing or seeing oil on the road ahead. Sure you might be lucky enough to see a rainbow hugh on the bitumen ahead, but it’s the oil you dont see that could lead to a wipeout.
Watch The White Lines
As many riders already know, road markings can be slippery in the dry. Add rain to the equation and they can be like an ice rink. Watch the white lines, avoid them if possible, and take particular care when riding over zebra crossings.
Potholes & Debris
While many of us know every bump and bend of our local roads, surfaces change after days of rain. Keep a close eye on the road ahead for potholes, pooling water or debris that may have been washed onto the road.
Wet roads hold far more tube-piercing debris than dry roads. Take an extra tube, just in case.
Disc brakes are a lot better than rim in the wet, but grit, grime and water can still reduce braking efficiency, particularly when the rain is falling. Brake earlier than normal and take it easy, particularly when slowing into the corners. Check your rims & pads before and after the ride as they’ll wear faster in poor conditions.
Protect Your Eyes
Your darkest lenses probably won’t be appropriate for these dull days. Many cycling eyewear makers provide clear, amber or yellow lenses for low-light situations. These are highly-recommended when riding in wet or inclement conditions.
A low-worn cycling cap can also help shield some or the rain (or spray) from hitting your glasses.
Phone & Electronics
While GPS bike computers are increasingly waterproof (to the point of being submersible), phones generally are not. Pack your phone, and anything else you want to keep dry, in a waterproof case, zip-lock bag or ride wallet.
Benefits Of Riding In The Rain
There’s a strong argument for the case riding in the rain will actually make you a better all-round cyclist! The more you ride in wet or inclement weather, the more confidence you’ll have in a wide-range of conditions. Over time you’ll build better bike-handling skills, develop more confidence and return home with an increased sense of accomplishment & achievement.
Your thoughts or tips? Have your say below!