If you’ve done much riding at all, you’ll have done it in the rain. Here are a few tips to make riding in the rain safer, more comfortable — and drier.
- Purchase and carry high quality rain gear. Look for clothing that:
- Fits properly over your other gear, without being too loose. Flapping causes premature wear, ineffective protection and it’s not at all cool.
- Packs down easily and takes up minimal room.
- Is highly conspicuous.
- Is breathable. Gortex is ideal and will help keep you warm and dry.
- Fits snugly around wrists and ankles.
- Has a high collar that fits under your helmet so water doesn’t seep in.
- Remain calm if it starts to rain. Allow extra distances for stopping and reacting. Smooth moves are more important than ever and be more attentive to making one maneuver at a time – i.e. braking, turning, leaning, shifting.
- Pull off the road if necessary and wait it out, especially if you find yourself hydroplaning or unable to see where you’re going. I know it sounds logical but trust me, it doesn’t always happen. It’s a good idea to wait out the early part of the rain when roads are their slipperiest. If you need to pull off to put on your gear, make sure you’re well out of traffic. It’s a lot easier to do it ahead of time than once the roads and you are wet.
- Wear extra layers in the cold. Warm and wet is better than cold and wet. Even if the rain gets through your gear, extra layers will help keep you warm and deter the onset of hypothermia.
- Avoid painted lines, metal covers, grates on the road and of course oil or gas spills. All can be slippery.
- Double check your tires to make sure they are in good repair, there is lots of tread and they’re properly inflated.
- Ensure sure your indicator lights and headlights work properly. It’s always important but even more so when visibility may be impaired.
- Wear a full face helmet or at least have a face shield. Make sure your visor is clear, and free of scratches.
- Carry extra apparel so you can change into dry clothing if necessary.
- Make sure your luggage is waterproof. If not, have plastic bags on hand to stow clothing and/or fragile items.
Bonus: Be prepared. The weather can be unpredictable and even a day that starts out sunny might have raindrops later on. If we’d have stayed home every time rain was predicted, we’d have missed some nice riding opportunities.