September 22nd, 2017
Cruising down picturesque lanes on your bike with the warm glow of the sun on your back is one of life’s great pleasures if you’re a cyclist.
Unfortunately, these moments are all too fleeting if you’re a cyclist in the UK.
Changeable weather conditions are a staple for many riders and with summer officially over (at least meteorologically) it’s time to start thinking about the winter months ahead, and more importantly, getting yourself ready to cycle in the rain.
Unfortunately, it is inevitable, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
Whether you’re taking part in a soggy sportive, club ride or you’re just braving the weather for the fun of it, these top tips will help you stay, steady safe and comfortable on your ride.
First up, you need to make sure that you’re kitted out for a ride in the rain, no matter how long or short it is going to be.
There is a huge array of technical clothing available in today’s market, with price points suitable for bargain hunters as well as those with more cash-heavy wallets.
Remember the wetter you get, the colder you’ll be so keeping the rain off your skin is vital in your battle against the cold.
Try to ensure your core stays warm. At a minimum, you should invest in a quality water and windproof coat.
But don’t forget, your body sweats come hail, rain or shine, so whatever you choose to buy, make sure it’s made from a breathable fabric.
Most products these days will say whether they are breathable or not on the label, making it easier to avoid any mistakes.
If you’re planning on long rides in the winter then you’ll need to invest in more than just a coat.
Full-finger wind resistant gloves are essential if you want to maintain a firm grip on your handlebars come the wet weather.
If you really want to splash the cash, then treat yourself to a set of fleece lined bib tights like the Aeron Deep Winter Bib Tight will keep you cosy whilst you’re in the saddle.
Riding in the rain can be a dirty business. You can be left battling spray from the surface, water from the sky and at points it can feel like you’re facing everything in between too.
One way to keep your wet ride clean is to install some mudguards on your bike.
Mudguards will stop water spraying up your back, and splashing you in your face. A muddy puddle in the mouth is no way to enjoy your ride.
But the benefits of having mudguards don’t stop with your own ride. Having rear guards installed can also save any cyclists behind you from getting a face full of water.
Mudguard sets like the SKS Bluemels are generally easy to install and are available from most bike shops.
This one is key to helping you stay safe on the roads.
Cycling in the rain means that you’ll have to have a more considered approach on your ride. Your pace should be slower than your average speed during a dry ride.
This will help you have increased control of your bike, and reduce your need to brake hard.
Sudden braking can cause your bike to skid in the wet, increasing your chances of a crash or fall. Try to pulse your brake lightly way in advance of your eventual stopping point.
Applying a gradual burst of pressure, rather than one hard squeeze of the brake will help you stop more effectively in wet conditions.
Unfortunately, rain can make roads treacherous and extremely slippery.
Painted lines both in middle of the road and the lines by the curb are particularly dangerous and the tell-tale signs of the rainbow patches from oil should be avoided at all costs, but if you can’t then make sure you don’t brake whilst you’re going over them or it could spell disaster.
It’s all well and good cycling along with rock solid tires in the summertime, but when it comes to winter and wet weather riding, it’s a whole different ball game.
By dropping your tyre pressure by around 10-20 psi from your normal dry weather levels, you can increase your tyre’s grip on the wet roads.
The only downside to doing this is a loss in performance, but it’s a worthwhile compromise in a bid to stay safe.
As well as decreasing your tyre pressure, you can also swap out your 23c summer tyres for the broader 25c or 28c treads.
This will give you more surface area, helping you to decrease the chance of skidding when you brake and give your wheel more contact with the wet roads causing more natural friction, which will help you stay grippy in the wet.
Visibility in the wet can become a major issue. When you’re travelling at speed, the rain can feel like needles in your eyes and leave you squinting and hoping you spot any oncoming hazards.
A pair of cycling glasses with clear lenses like the Northwave Team Photochromic glasses are the perfect way to shield your eyes when you’re riding in the wet.
If something goes wrong
With the tips above, you should be able to stay safe when cycling in the wet, however, sometimes accidents do happen.
As specialists in cycling accident claims, we can assure you that our solicitors keep up to date with all the latest developments in the cycling world including the most recent law relating to cycle helmets, reflective clothing and requirements for fitting lights and reflectors to your bike.
If you’d like to discuss a potential claim with one of our team, give us a call on 01625 506 672, or complete our online enquiry form.