Friday, March 16, 2012

5 Tips for Bike Riding in the Rain

"April showers bring May flowers" - a phrase we know well. As Spring is just around the corner here are some safety tips for riding in the rain.

1. Exercise Caution
Slow down your speed! When it rains, roadways will naturally get slippery. But also be sure to pay special attention to manhole covers, roadway paint, leaves, and train tracks,  as they will become extremely slick when wet. Are you familiar with those rainbow patches in the road? Well beware, those patches may be a sign of oil on the road. Make sure you do your best to avoid puddles. A deep puddle could have a surprise sewer grate or pothole underneath it leaving you with a flat. Ultimately, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. This will help you to stay focused on the conditions and hazards of the road.

2. Brake, Brakes, Braking!
As the road gets wet, braking will become increasingly difficult. Remember to start braking early, and in wet conditions it can be helpful to gently squeeze your brakes in order to ease into the stop. It's important to take care of your brakes. Brake pads can wear faster with the buildup of water and dirt, so be sure to wipe down your brake pads and rims after riding. Also remember to dry off your bike to help prevent it from rusting. This is especially important for chains, so be sure to keep them properly lubricated.

3. Increase Your Visibility
When it rains, visibility is decreased for both the cyclist as well as any car on the road. As windshields get wet, foggy headlights from other cars cause quite a bit of glare. This can easily cause a driver to not see a cyclist in their periphery. Make use of front, rear and even side lights in order to ensure you and your bike remain visible during all conditions.

4. Rain Ready Bike
Fenders are key! You don't like getting mud and dirt spitting up in your face? Invest in some fenders for your bike. There are multiple options from quickly attachable clip-on fenders, to metal fenders that require a screw. Take your pick, but don't leave home without them!

5. Rain Ready You
Dressing for the weather may seem like a no brainer, but make sure you are fully prepared for the conditions of the day! Dress in layers in order to ensure you remain warm. But, keep in my mind that rain in shine your body will still sweat. So make sure whatever clothing you make use of is properly ventilated. Keep your shoes dry by using neoprene booties which will help with insulation. Using a visor on your helmet will definitely help to prevent water from dripping in your eyes. In addition to the visor, find a good pair of glasses to help prevent water and mud from getting in your eyes and to help with visibility.

Feel free to share your rainy weather cycling tips with us! Happy Riding!

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