Cycling is a lot of fun, and it’s a wonderful sport to help you get fit and out into new social circles. There’s a common saying in cycling which refers to someone who doesn’t cycle in the rain. They are called fair-weather cyclists.
We are often asked, “Can you ride your bike in the rain?” It’s not rare for a cyclist to want to avoid riding in the rain.
It can be a miserable experience, and if not done correctly, it can actually be detrimental to your bike.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know when riding your bike in the rain. We will be covering:
- Is It Safe To Ride Your Bike In The Rain?
- Factors To Consider Wet Weather Riding
- Tips To Make Wet Riding More Enjoyable
Is It Safe To Ride Your Bike In The Rain?
When it comes to riding your bike in the rain, it’s pretty safe. Provided you’re not pushing the bike to its limits, then you are going to get a similar experience to riding on a sunny day.
The gears will be worth the same, the suspension will be fine, and your tires are not going to go down any quicker. The only difference you might see is the brakes won’t be as responsive, and poor weather can wear down components on your bike quickly.
Many people use bikes in the rain when commuting. If it’s your only form of transport, then you have to accept that you’re going to get wet, and it could get a little miserable some days.
The Fun Of Wet Weather Riding
There are some people who really enjoy just being outside in poor weather conditions.
If you live in a country with a very warm climate, it can be lovely to ride in the rain as it keeps you so cool. I personally love riding in the rain. I feel it offers more challenges, and once you’re wet, it can really get much worse.
Factors To Consider Wet Weather Riding
When it comes to wet weather, riding is generally safe, but there are factors to consider to ensure you have a pleasant experience. Here’s what’s worth thinking about.
When riding in the rain, generally, the tarmac and most surfaces still provide adequate grip. However, some surfaces, such as mud and drain covers, become incredibly slippery. You have to watch these as they can cause you to fall.
When it comes to the rain, one of the worst factors is the poor visibility you get. Not only does water get in your eyes, but it makes you much harder to see when it comes to other road users.
If riding in the rain, wear hi-viz clothing and use lights.
Slow Response On Brakes
Water can make bike brakes less responsive at times. If you are using rim brakes, then the difference is very noticeable. If you are using disc brakes, then they are not so bad as they are designed to be excellent in bad weather.
It’s Much Colder
Not only does the rain generally bring colder temperatures, but it will also make you much colder while you ride. When you get wet, the cold air hits the skin and cools you much faster. It’s always worth taking warm clothing if riding in poor conditions.
Another big challenge when it comes to riding in the rain is water spray.
You will find while riding your tires will flick up water in front and behind you, which gets in your eyes easily. It’s a good idea to have mudguards to avoid this happening.
Riding in poor conditions can wear down components quicker if they are not protected properly. Chains without oil go rusty fast, and if bearings get water inside they can easily contaminate. Providing you keep on top of bike maintenance, it’s typically fine.
Tips To Make Wet Riding More Enjoyable
The rain doesn’t have to stop a good bike ride. There’s a lot you can do to make them more enjoyable and even fun at times.
Wear Proper Clothing
Rainy days on the bike can be really miserable. If you have the correct clothing, it will make it a lot easier.
Although you are still going to get wet, you will be warm, and you are going to stay comfortable.
Opt For Less Busy Routes
Cycling on busy roads in the rain is awful. The spray from the cars and poor visibility make it unsafe too.
We highly recommend those quieter roads with less traffic. Even if it takes a little longer and might be a little hillier.
Ride With Others
Just because the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t mean other cyclists won’t be out riding.
We highly recommend finding some like-minded cyclists who want to join you for a rainy ride. Riding with others makes the experience much more enjoyable and distracts you from the poor weather.
Embrace The Experience
A lot of how much you enjoy an experience comes down to the attitude you have towards it. When it comes to cycling in the rain, if you have a positive mindset, you will find much more enjoyment than if you have a negative mindset.
A Final Note
Cycling in the rain doesn’t have to be miserable. It can be a pretty fun experience, and it doesn’t mean you have to put your training on hold.
We highly recommend having the correct clothing and just making an effort to be a little more seen by other road users. Now, are you ready to go and get soaked?
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.