Riding in the Rain
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing (and tire) choices”
Winter might be over, but spring doesn’t necessarily mean dry roads. Wet weather doesn’t have to keep you from riding, though! The right combination of riding habits and gear will keep you safe and warm even if you get caught in a spring downpour.
Tires: Wider tires with a bit of tread will generally perform better in the rain than skinny slick tires, but regardless of what kind of tire you find yourself on you can generally improve your traction in wet weather by letting out a little air to reduce the tire pressure. This will increase the surface area of the tire actually making contact with the road.
Speed: Choose a speed that’s appropriate for conditions. Cyclists and drivers both have less traction and less visibility in the rain. Slowing down decreases your odd of losing control, gives you and drivers more reaction time, and decreases the likelihood and severity of injury if you do crash.
Lights: Even during the day, making sure you have bright lights on the front and back of your bike can help mitigate the visibility issues that come with riding in the rain.
Puddles, paint and rainbow patches: All of these can potentially cause accidents in the rain. Puddles can hide potholes or other obstacles, or just be deeper than they appear. Painted lines in the road are smoother than the rest of the road will be significantly more slippery. Rainbow patches are usually a result of rainwater mixing with oil spilled on the road and can be very slick. Avoid riding over all of these things, especially when cornering.
Gloves: The road isn’t the only thing that gets slippery in the rain, your handlebars will too. Choose gloves that are not only waterproof but maintain a good grip when wet.
Jacket: A thin, breathable shell won’t take much space in your bag when the weather’s nice, will keep the rain and wind away when needed, and with the right layers underneath can be appropriate for a wide range of weather conditions.
Stay seated and upright: Many cyclists instinctively lean into corners and stand up on the pedals when they want to accelerate. Keeping those instincts in check will help you keep the rubber side down when riding on wet roads.