If you truly have a passion for cycling, sometimes not even bad weather can stop you from riding. While it is safer to cycle during clear skies, from time to time you can get stuck in unexpected showers. If you make the choice to purposely ride in the rain, there are certain safety precautions you would be wise to take.
The Right Clothing
When taking your bike out in the rain, always remember to wear the right clothing. It’s essential to wear layers that you can remove and choose reflective gear. If your clothing is reflective, it will make it much easier for others to see you through the rain.
A waterproof jacket and leg warmers should be included in your layers. No waterproof jacket is perfect. Those with breathability often let moisture through quicker. Those that don’t breathe result in you sweating and getting wet from your sweat (and then the water which eventually makes its way down your neck). That being said they keep you drier for longer, as well as warmer. Overshoes as well as waterproof (or water resistant) gloves also contribute to making cycling in the rain more comfortable.
Besides using reflective gear, it’s imperative to have bike lights when cycling in the rain. Not only does it help others see you from far distances, but it will also improve your view of the road ahead. Bad weather can tamper with roads and easily blow sticks and gravel into your bath. With bike lights, cyclists are able to keep an eye out for debris on the road which may cause punctures.
It is also worth considering carrying a spare front and rear light in case the battery goes flat or they fail.
Riding your bike in the rain is obviously going to be more dangerous than riding with clear skies. This is why it is so important to take your ride more slowly. Even with reflective gear and bike light, always take precaution with riding down a wet and slippery road. Make sure to ride slower than usual, particularly around corners.
It’s also especially important to allow more distance to break and break slower as well. As there is less grip on the brakes while wet and less grip for the tyres on the road, breaking can be more difficult and take longer to stop. It’s best to take it slow and break sooner than usual when coming to a stop (particularly if you have carbon rims and rim brakes).
Bring the Right Gear
To protect yourself from the rain while cycling, the best way to stay safe is by bringing the right gear. It’s certainly helpful to make sure you can fully see where you are going, so consider getting yourself cycling glasses with clear lenses to shield your eyes from the rain. Another item to consider on a rainy cycling day is mudguards to protect from road spray from the wheels up your back. Finally ride with durable tyres rather than race tyres. This could save you from getting a flat in the middle of the rain!