For a bicyclist, when the rain is coming down, the danger goes up. Visibility becomes poor, the roads are slippery, and conditions can go from okay, to not okay, real quick. But with a little preparation, the usually frustratingly damp task of getting somewhere on a bike during a storm turns into just another average day of biking.
Here are 5 quick-and-easy tips to riding in the rain:
1.) It May Not Be Night, But Use A Light
Sure, it’s not pitch black out –just gloomy and grey– so motorists can still see a bike, right? Most of the time, wrong, and additionally with the water over windshields, it’s never a bad choice to strap on a head lamp, handlebar LED light, or some red flashers in the back to make it easier for cars to see you. You wouldn’t drive your car in a storm without the headlights on, would you?
2.) Corners Are Not Your Friends
Maybe you have experienced it yourself, already, but coming around a wet corner, especially on asphalt and on a rode bike, is really a bad situation with some speed behind you. Momentum slides the tires right out from underneath the bike and that can send a rider into traffic. Catch yourself trying to turn on a painted line, or on top of a hard-to-see oil slick, and you can have some bad road rash.
Remember to shift as much weight possible to the outside pedal. Lean with your body, not the bike to make sure your tires keep under you.
3.) Fenders Are Your Friend
Where ever you are biking to on a rainy day, having a splash guard or pair of fenders to keep the water from kicking up into your face and onto your back, not only saves you from a mess, but keeps your vision clear. It’s a rain must.
4.) Dress To Impress
Being comfortable is a big part of being safer; when you rush because you’re worried about being wet, you lose focus on the road and the cars on the road. Take the time to grab a rain jacket, a pair of clear lensed glasses, and if you can, even a pair of waterproof pants would be a great addition. And for the really prepared, maybe bring along a extra pair of socks. It won’t make you safer on the road, but it will make you feel better when you get off the road.
5.) Have A Backup Plan
Sometimes the rain beats us and no matter how prepared you are, it’s just too dangerous to be on the road with the cars and water. Keep an extra few bucks in a pocket for the bus or a taxi. Don’t push the limits, and remember that its not yourself you should be worried about out there on the road… it’s the other people who don’t know your biking in the rain.