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cycling rain

Cycling Rain Strategies – Dealing with Wet Spring Weather

Cycling rain strategies are required in spring! Spring brings its own share of joys and challenges for cyclists, and one of the most unpredictable challenges is rainy weather. While the promise of blooming flowers and warmer temperatures might beckon you to hit the road, you should also be prepared for sudden downpours and wet conditions. Let’s discuss how you can gear up with confidence regardless of the weather.

Cycling Rain Gear

Firstly, investing in proper rain gear is essential. A waterproof jacket and pants will keep you dry and comfortable throughout your ride. Look for gear that is breathable to prevent overheating, and don’t forget waterproof shoe covers to keep your feet dry. Wearing bright or reflective clothing will improve your visibility to motorists, especially in low-light conditions typical of rainy weather.

Fenders – A Hidden Unlock?

Equipping your bike with fenders can also make a significant difference in keeping you dry. I say this as someone who for years thought they were unnecessary. Fenders help deflect water and mud kicked up by your tires, preventing that unpleasant spray onto your butt. Make sure your fenders are wide enough to cover your tires adequately and adjust them as needed to prevent rubbing.

Maintenance – Our Old Friend

When it comes to your bike itself, regular maintenance is crucial, especially in wet weather. Ensure your brakes are in top condition and your tires have good tread to grip slippery roads. Consider switching to wider tires with a lower pressure to improve traction. Applying a thin layer of lubricant to your chain and other moving parts will help repel water and prevent rust. See our articles on prepping for spring rides and on checks to conduct before your ride.

Riding Style Adjustments

Adjusting your riding style based on the weather can help you stay safe. Slow down and leave extra space between you and other vehicles, since stopping distances increase on wet roads. Definitely avoid sudden movements or sharp turns, and be mindful of painted road markings and metal surfaces, which can become very slippery when wet.

Be Seen

Visibility is key in rainy weather, so make sure your lights are fully charged and functioning properly. Consider using a brighter light than usual to increase your visibility to others on the road. If visibility is severely reduced, don’t be a hero! Pull over and wait for the rain to ease up. See our article on riding tips in the dark weather, since many of the same principles apply to rainy weather.

Mental Preparation

Be mentally prepared for the challenges that come with riding in the rain. Stay focused and alert, and be prepared for unexpected obstacles or changes in road conditions. Remember that rain is just part of the cycling experience, and with the right gear and mindset, you can still enjoy amazing rides even on the most disgusting of spring days. Remember also that its completely fine to decide “not today”, if you don’t feel comfortable with the conditions. Sometimes, I’ll defer a ride simply because I know I won’t enjoy it as much in the rain.

You can confidently tackle rainy weather and continue to enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of springtime rides with a little extra prep! Follow these tips to better prepare your rides regardless of what nature throws your way. Remember that with just a little prep and common sense, cycling can be very safe even in poor weather (see our in depth look at safety in a city as big as London).