It has been a bit rainy of late, pretty much up and down the whole Eastern seaboard. So, I thought it was time for some riding in the rain tips. Yes, riding in the rain is unpleasant but it doesn’t have to be a whole sloppy mess. A few things can take the dread out.
Get a waterproof pannier
This is the biggest tip. Get yourself a good bag or pannier that is waterproof. Not just splashproof or weatherproof (whatever that means) or sheds water. Really, I wont melt if I get a bit wet and my clothes might get dirty but they will survive. The same can’t be said for my phone or paperwork or other electronics that I need to ferry around. Get a bag that is a proper dry bag type closure (roll top) so your know your stuff is going to be in the condition you put it in, at the end of the trip. If you aren’t sure how waterproof your bag is, stuff it with newspaper, close it up and give it a good soaking with the hose. Wet newspaper will show up any leaks that you might be able to patch up with some silicon or seam sealant. Pay particular attention to any zips or seams as these are the most likely places for water to seep in.
Unfortunately, it’s time to ditch those natural fibre clothes. Cotton, wool and other natural fibres just don’t dry that quickly. Anything with a high polyester, rayon, nylon count is going to dry a lot faster if you happen to get wet. A good set of synthetic fibre clothes will be able to handle a bit of rain if you get caught in that shower but dry quickly enough to keep you looking good at your destination.
Visibility is the key
We all know that the wet weather seems to bring out the worst in some drivers. Even if it is fairly light out there, it’s a great idea to put your lights on anyway and keep your usual high visibility accoutrements (if you use them). Practise good defensive riding, keep visible in the lane and stay out of the gutter.
Apart from the whole see through thing, white clothing is going to show up and pick up all and any road grim that you happen to encounter. Not a great look.
Obviously, to keep you dry. There are plenty of nice looking rain jackets out there that don’t look like you have duct taped a garbage bag around your torso. A rain poncho is also a good option with a lot more coverage than just the jacket.
Even though I don’t have them, every time I ride in the rain, I wish I did. The absence of mud guards has forced me to use a rain jacket even if it isn’t currently raining to make sure I don’t get my clothes dirty with the spray coming off the wheels or other things.
Because the rims of your wheels and brake pads are going to be wet and slippery, when slowing down, brake early and gently. Give yourself a bit of extra room to stop.