It’s a common scene: You’re gearing up to bike to work, but Mother Nature has other plans. Don’t cancel your ride just yet. Instead, be prepared when drops fall from the sky. These simple bicycle safety tips for riding in the rain will insure that you arrive safe and dry.

Guard your bike. Fenders are a bicycle commuter ’s best friend. Mount them over the front and rear tires and then Commuting in the Rainenjoy watching them catch all the grit, grime and water that would otherwise reside on your frame and components. If you’re going to be commuting by bike in wet weather, consider applying a chain lube that’s made specifically for wet or all-weather conditions.

Wick water away. Invest in a good cycling specific rain jacket or cape. Be sure the jacket has some breathability, which is not always the case with waterproof jackets, and wear either light wool or another type of technical fabric that wicks sweat away from your body. A cycling cap under your helmet will keep your head dry. Because many cycling shoes are heavily vented, consider waterproof shoe covers. In a pinch, cover your shoes with two plastic shopping bags. Punch the bottom out to expose your cleats and use a rubber band to secure the top of the bag around your ankles.

Slippery when wet.  Stay alert, as tires are more likely to slide out in wet turns, and be aware that your braking distance is shortened considerably. Try to avoid touching any metal objects like manhole covers and railroad tracks. Beware of painted lines—some of the slickest parts of the road—and watch for oil residue. To give your bike greater contact with the road, let five to seven PSI out of each tire.

Light up the road. Because motorists have decreased visibility in wet conditions, it’s a good idea to wear bright colors and also attach an LED light to your seatpost and handlebars.  To increase your own visibility, wear lighter colored lenses, such as clear or yellow. If fogging is an issue, apply a product like anti-fog zooke-wax.

Give your bike a bath. Bike frames are made to handle the elements, but you should still give them some TLC after a rainy ride. Re-lube and dry the chain. Also give the bike a good rinsing to remove any grit lodged in the components, which will reduce their lifespan. Be sure to clean the brake pads as well to keep grit from wearing down your rims. Thoroughly dry the bike after cleaning.

Riding in the Rain

Image source and courtesy of Annemiek van der Kuil |