Wet and wild: making the most of riding in the rain

April 27, 2015

Sarah Braker, communications manager

It’s one of the most deflating experiences a bike rider can have. You get all ready for your ride, open the door to leave, and then you see it: rain. Immediately you picture slippery roads, apprehensive drivers, bottomless puddles and soaked clothing. There are plenty of reasons to stay indoors when it’s raining, but precipitation doesn’t need to be an excuse if you don’t want it to be. Outfitting your bike for the weather helps, and so does adjusting your attitude. Become an optimist and use these tips to have a sunny outlook on your ride even in the cloudiest conditions.

Puddle jumping

Image: Flickr

When you were a kid you would jump into puddles without a second thought. But now you’re all grown up and have fancy work pants and shoes to protect. Getting wet in your work clothes can spoil your day, but if you waterproof yourself there’s no end to the good times that can be had. Putting on rain pants, a rain coat and boots is like going back in time. Suddenly it’s fun to get wet again. You can smile when cars splash you instead of shaking your fist at them, all the while knowing that the money you spent on all that gear was well worth it.

Tip: One piece of rain gear not to overlook is a pair of gloves. Even in spring and summer it can be colder when it rains and cold hands can ruin an otherwise fun rainy day ride.

Nice and roomy

Image: Flickr

It’s exciting to see more and more bicyclists on the road, but there’s something to be said for being one of the lone riders out there on a rainy day. Riding on less populated bike routes will make you feel like the king or queen of the road. You won’t have to try and pass a rider ahead of you or get anxious about having a line of faster bikers impatiently waiting behind you. Go slow when you want, take a new route if you feel like it. After all, today the bike path is yours and yours alone.

Tip: Watch out for the painted lines on roads when riding in the rain. They become particularly slippery when wet, so make sure to slow down when you cross them.

Eyes wide open

Image: Flickr

For those of us who commute by bike, our daily ride can sometimes feel monotonous. It’s hard to remember what it was like that first time, when the ride was new, and we had to be extra aware of each turn and potential hazard. Riding in the rain is a lot like that. Your senses have to be heightened and it can bring a new excitement back to a route you’re a little sick of. Watching for, and dodging, potholes and puddles will make you feel like you’re biking through the set of an action flick and remind you of what made you first fall in love with your daily ride.

Tip: Stopping in the rain with wet rims and brake pads can take a little longer, so give yourself some extra time and space when braking.

Be the cool kid

Image: Flickr

The head nod at the red light from the driver next to you, the smile of approval from the only other bicyclist you see, the “wow” from your co-workers when you show up soaking wet. Many people just think it’s impressive to ride in the rain, and it can make you feel like a rockstar to get that kind of feedback. Whether you’re starting or ending your day with a rainy ride, knowing you can navigate the streets in a downpour will make you feel like you can take on any other challenges that come your way. If others applaud you for it, so much the better.

Tip: You get to go inside after a rainy ride and you should try and do the same for your bike. If you have to leave it out in the rain, put a plastic bag over your saddle to keep it from getting wet and waterlogged while you work or run errands.

Rainbow connection

Image: Flickr

Sometimes the best thing about a rain storm is the rainbow that follows when it ends. If you’ve been out in the elements, seeing a rainbow can be the ultimate reward. It’s like nature’s way of saying, “awesome job out there!” When most people would start suiting up to go on their ride, you can take solace in knowing that you’ve already finished yours. Then just sit back and enjoy the beautiful view.

Tip: You dry yourself off when you get to your destination, don’t forget to dry your bike off as well.

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