Learn when to keep going and how to protect yourself (and your bicycle) when cycling during the rainier months with these expert tips
September 5, 2022
While cycling in fair weather is enjoyable, there’s no reason why you can’t continue riding bicycles even when it’s raining. You can still cycle safely in the rain, with a bit of maintenance and a lot of caution.
Before setting out to cycle in the rain, it’s important to check the condition of your tires and brakes. Experts advise lowering the pressure of your tires a little (about 1 bar) to give them more grip on the ground when cycling. If possible, it’s better to use tires specially designed for rain. These special tires better shed surface water and help avoid aquaplaning. You should also check that your lights are in good condition to ensure that you can see perfectly between drops.
Finally, consider installing mudguards before cycling, in order to protect yourself from splashes of water and mud generated by the wheels. If you’re riding an electric bike and are worried about its components, don’t worry: most of the batteries are thoroughly waterproof. However, once the bike is parked, it is better to remove them and put them back in place once the rain has passed.
When it rains, wearing a helmet (ideally with a visor), and a waterproof helmet cover, is recommended more than ever. The risk of falling is greater when cycling in the rain. If possible, a cyclist’s equipment should also include cycling accessories for a firm grip on the handlebars during rain. Equip yourself with a poncho and muffs, as well as waterproof overpants or a rain skirt and gloves.
It’s also essential to adapt your riding style and technique to weather conditions. When it rains, it’s more important to anticipate actions you may need to take while cycling, starting with braking, which should always be done gently and over longer distances than usual — never abruptly. In order to be constantly on your guard, adopt a reduced speed. Finally, it’s key to avoid risky surfaces as much as possible, such as white lines, dead leaves and manhole covers.
It goes without saying that in the event of a thunderstorm, strong wind or heavy rain, it is best to take a break from cycling and take cover.