Published on August 9th, 2010 | by Tredz Blog6
Guide to cycling to work in the rain
Does rain stop your ride? The thought of a soggy bottom is enough to put anyone off getting on their bike, but there are ways to make your ride to work more comfortable in the rain.
The first step is mental. There will almost always be a point where you'll half convince yourself that cycling in the rain is a bad idea.
Ignore this voice!
The worst part of cycling in the rain, is thinking about cycling in the rain. Get over that and you're over the worst of it.
There is some cycling equipment that will improve your comfort while cycling in wet weather hugely.
Nothing will improve your comfort like a good set of mudguards. It's the cheapest and most effective way of keeping your lower half dry and preventing an unsightly mud spray flicking onto your back.
Obvious one this. A good waterproof cycling jacket will not only keep the rain off you, but also ideally have a couple of reflective strips so cars can see you in their headlights. We'd recommend a bit of fluorescent material so cars can see you in semi-light conditions, which it will be when it's raining.
The more you spend on a waterproof jacket, the more breathable and lighter they tend to be. Bear in mind that the jacket hasn't been invented yet that can cope with the ability of the human body to sweat. The longer/harder you ride, the more likely it'll be that you'll get damp from sweat instead of rain.
Take it slow and easy (a good idea when it's raining anyway), on your ride and you'll stay drier.
We'd recommend packing a lightweight rain jacket even on days you don't expect to see rain. Even though many cyclists become addicted to the Met Office's forecasting page, it makes sense to always be prepared.
These are great for putting on top of your normal workclothes. If your cycle to work sees you stepping straight off the bike and into the office, these are the best way (in conjunction with those mudguards) of keeping your lower half dry.
Similarly to the jacket, a nice feature to look for is a little reflectivity on the trousers.
If you prefer carrying your work clothes (or leaving them at work), a pair of waterproof shorts might be a better option. You'll get wet legs, but on the plus side you won't be restricted at all when you pedal, or get sweaty if you cycle hard.
Rule of thumb, the same people who make good waterproof jackets make good waterproof overtrousers and shorts. Montane, Altura and Endura all make shorts and trousers suitable for commuting in the wet.
If you use a rucsac to carry your equipment to work, don't forget it's contents are as vulnerable to the weather as you are. Laptop, work clothes and (most importantly) lunchboxes are all at risk. A good waterproof rucsac cover will keep it dry, and have the added benefit of adding some much needed visibility.
Respro make a huge range of covers.
Overshoes not only help keep your feet dry and comfortable (and warm in the winter), but they also protect your shoes. Make sure you buy the correct style, as overshoes tend to be specific to road cycling, mountain biking or for commuting.
The Altura Night Vision Cycling overshoes are designed to be slightly wider to fit normal shoes.
Cycling in the rain does require a little more caution than usual. There are a couple of extra things to think about when the steets get wet.
- The road offers less grip in the wet. Painted road signs and manhole covers (or any metal on the road), become particularly slippery. Keep your bike upright and stop pedalling, don't break or turn when crossing these sketchy surfaces.
- Talking of braking, many bicycle brakes do not work so well in the wet. Only disc brakes maintain the same level of power whatever the weather. Go a little slower, think ahead and brake sooner.
- The first time it rains after a long dry period tends to lift a lot of the oil from the road, making it even more slippery – so extra care needed.
- As mentioned above, it's likely that rain also means reduced visibility. If you're cycling on the road it's a very good idea to use lights or some sort of hi-viz clothing, even during daylight hours, to increase your visibility to other road users (especially those that weigh a ton and have four wheels).
- However protected you are from the elements, take along a change of clothes. Nothing quite as bad as sitting in damp clothes all day.
- And most importantly, always remember that the cup of tea you make yourself when you get to work is far more enjoyable when it's raining…
If you've any further tips, please share with us below!