How To Ride In Rain And Wet Weather
Updated - February 5, 2020
There are three main problems with riding in wet weather — getting cold, getting chafed, and staying upright. So here are 10 tips which should keep you comfortable and keep you riding. Now you can wear as many layers as you’d like to protect yourself from the rain, but there is always going to be a trade off. You see, you will sweat, not as much as me perhaps, but you will. And realistically even the very best jacket will struggle to allow moisture to escape at the rate you are producing it. So it might be that you will actually end up staying more comfortable if you wear less and wear wet weather gear. So despite getting wet from the outside, you’ll get less wet from the inside but at the very least you should make the most of all the venting options available to you so that you at least regulate your core body temperature.
Lowering your tire pressure puts more tire on the road which gives you more grip. It’s as simple as that which is pretty important on wet roads as there is a lot less grip. It’s important you make the most of your grip when you can. As I mentioned in the introduction chafing can be a real problem when you’re riding in wet conditions. Now it’s firstly because damp skin can be a lot more fragile, but secondly because the water being sprayed up from your bike can contain grit which unfortunately can make its way quickly towards some delicate areas.
So a good way to combat this is to try using some chamois creme even if you don’t have to use it under normal circumstances. You might just buy that bit more time of staying comfortable if you’re facing a long day in the saddle. The clothing market is split into two segments when it comes to wet weather gear traditional soak-able hardshells that have got a water proof fabric and then sealed seams and then you’ve got softshells which are more breathable, less waterproof, but generally more closer fitting. That means that most pros use them because they stay aerodynamic, but in reality both types of shells actually serve different purposes. For longer steadier days out on the bike, a hardshell is going to keep you drier and therefor warmer but on shorter harder rides a softshell is definitely better because it’s more breathable and then it also doesn’t flap around.
Another great way of staying warmer on wet days is a very simple one. That is just to ride harder. Now this can be difficult to do if you’ve got a very specific session in mind, but there’s absolutely no doubt that it is effective at doing the job. However what you might find that in order to do this you need to stay clear of roads that don’t allow you to put that effort in so I’m thinking predominantly of long descents.
So on wet days try to ride on predominantly flat roads so you’ll be able to put the effort in all the way around and you’ll have the added bonus of that your brakes will last longer. It’s one of the best of value accessories you can buy. The humble casquette is also one of the most effective. Now it might only be made of cotton, but it will insulate your head in wet conditions and the peak will also keep some of the spray out of your eyes. Overshoes are great. Now they won’t keep your feet totally dry, but they will do a pretty good job on a shorter ride and of course the thicker pairs will keep your feet nice and toasty and warm but it’s also worth mentioning that they’re a good idea to wear just when it’s wet even though it could be warm outside.
As they’ll keep your expensive “fox” race cycling shoes in tip-top mint condition before you pop your overshoes in the washing machine. Unless you’re running disk brakes, you’re going to have to face the harsh reality that your braking is going to be dramatically affected and even if you have got disk brakes on it’s going to take you longer to slow down and of course your grip is going to be dramatically affected on corners, but there is a way to remedy this to a degree and that is to make sure that you brake in good time before the corners. Now braking before corners is something we always mention, but in the wet definitely back off that little bit more because the last thing you want to do is grab some brakes midway through the corner because you’re going to really increase the risk of wiping out and crashing.
So remember, brake in the wet a long time before the corner. As we mentioned earlier traction on wet roads is at a premium and some surfaces are worse than others so debris on the road is a really obvious one, white lines are slightly less so. Now these white painted lines in some countries can be absolutely lethal offering little or no grip at all. Maybe it’s a different type of paint or something, but what ever it is – it’s a good idea to avoid them especially when you’re braking, cornering, or you’ve got power coming out of your ears like mat when you’re accelerating. Keeping your hands warm when it’s raining can be particularly tricky when the temperature starts to drop. now you can get fully water proof gloves, but in our experience they don’t particularly work. your hands still get damp and cold. So the alternative is try neoprene gloves. Neoprene being the same material used for wet-suits. It doesn’t keep the water out rather it traps a layer inside the glove next to your skin where it gets nice and warm.
So there we go ten ways to keep you more comfortable and upright in the rain.
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