Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top 4 Tips for Safe Cycling in the Rain

The morning rises under a sheet of heavy rain, blotting bike paths with deep puddles and muting the burst of peak hour traffic, rolling slowly against the natural onslaught. If you're a dedicated, all-weather cyclist, it's important to remember you aren't infallible. It may be tempting to tear through run-off, the change of traction introduces a new challenge and rolling speed becomes fast and fluid. Follow these top five tips and maintain your safety before the tail-end slips out.

Check Your Brake Pads

All-weather riding is demanding, placing immense pressure on the bike to perform optimally each time out; grime and water are the leading culprits of brake erosion. If you're a fan of wet-weather journeys, check your brake pads weekly – while a fair weather bike requires comparatively little upkeep, regular rain rides will make short work of even the best brake pads, lasting a month to six weeks. When we drive, we're urged to slow down and anticipate surface differences, acknowledging the natural slip and slide of a wet road; the same principle applies to cyclists, break early and anticipate.

Watch Out For Rainbows

Keep your eyes off the sky, the threat will not come from above you. Oil slicks materialise as rainbow dyed water, where two liquids have met but not combined – while path riders don't need to think about this so much, road enthusiasts should be diligent and avoid these colourful patches. Similarly, take note of any metal utility covers, grid changes or manhole covers.

Resist Temptation

Puddles are fun, aren't they? Sluicing their surface and sending spray out inspires feelings of freedom and speed; unfortunately, puddles are a common culprit of broken limbs. Puddles often obscure deep pot-holes, dangerous cracks, rocks, kerbs or uncovered construction pits, doubling as paddling pools. Resist the urge to thrash it out and keep speed to a modest reading – your wheels and brakes have to work harder in the wet and won't always be able to handle last minute reactions to last minute perils.

Keep the Cold Out

Prolonged exposure to rainfall will knock your immune system for six. Avoid the dreaded cold – or worse – by suiting up before leaving home, insulating your core with a breathable weather jacket – you don't want to swim in your own sweat! If you're a fan of particularly heavy conditions, opt for a dropped back and a thick hood to minimise face splash. Under clothes should be thick but flexible, allowing for free range movement while protecting the body and hands should not be neglected, as full fingered gloves will keep your digits dry and mobile. Clear googles will give you a wide field of vision; usually inexpensive, these essentials are available from most bike shops in Hobart and Australia wide.

Remember, you need to be visible to other cyclists and motorists; a bike light will help you signal to your fellow travelers as your bike negotiates sharp corners and congested intersections. Whether you decide to invest in a wet weather bike or maintain an all-purpose roadster, be safe, don't speed and anticipate your environment.

About the Author:

Michael Brown is a retail manager who loves to cycle in his free time.
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  1. Good tips for cycling in the rain. Then again...we should probably wait for the rain to stop. :p

  2. Good tips. I used to ride my bike to work every day. I was always careful because it was still dark in the morning.

  3. cycling in the rain sounds exhilarating! great tips! ;)

  4. I think waiting for the rain to run it's course would be what I would do :) but these are great tips.

  5. oh, i didn't notice the image when i first came here Beth. back commenting from PBH :)

  6. We love biking but not as a pro hehehe. Thank you though for these helpful tips. I wonder if I can endure a long bike ride like the cyclist do? Maybe if I train, I will..

  7. awww I wanna go through the puddles, we always watch for rainbows both on the ground and in the sky! :)

  8. the hardest to learn is resisting the temptation. it is so much fun to ride through the puddles! lol