Riding your bike in the rain can be a challenge; the road is slippery, lights are dimmed, and the force of the wind could throw you off when you’re trying to control your bike. To help you stay safe during the rainy season, here are our top tips to riding safely when it’s pouring:
Don’t run into puddles
Riding through a puddle and splashing water everywhere can be a lot of fun. The problem is when you can’t see exactly how deep the hole is, you could easily find yourself in a rut - literally! If you can’t at all avoid a puddle, you will have to steady yourself and go into it at a controlled pace without touching the brakes.
Avoid slippery surfaces
Smooth surfaces become ten times more slippery when they are wet, as there won’t be much for your tires to hold on to. If you can’t avoid running onto these surfaces, make sure you don’t accelerate or brake when you’re on them. Just cruise through it at your regular speed.
Do things slowly
When there’s a layer of water on the road, the tires will squeegee the water off of the surface as you cruise to have a better grip on the road. When you go too fast, there won’t be enough time for the tires to get rid of the water all the way. On the other hand, if you brake suddenly, the water will quickly rush back to submerge the tires. These scenarios make it much harder to control your bike, so you want to make sure you have a steady, controlled pace throughout your rainy ride.
Be deliberate with your movements
When the road is dry, you can do things with your bikes a lot easier as the traction will always remain consistent. When the road is wet, you have to be more deliberate with your movements. For example, if you’re coming into a corner, you want to start braking early, then take your hands off the brakes as you’re coming into it. Make sure you pass the turn first before accelerating again. These steps will increase the traction of your bike so you won’t have to worry about skidding on the slippery road.
Riding in the rain can be stressful, so you might unknowingly grab on to the throttle incredibly hard. This can tire out your hands, and you could accidentally speed up the bike, causing an accident. Try to recognize when your body is being too tense, and relax it a bit. This will actually give you better control over your bike.
Avoid oil spills
The rainbow puddles on the road are oil spills, and you should do your best to avoid them. They can coat your tires and reduce the traction, which will make the bike harder to handle.
Give yourself extra room
You will want to leave more safety room for yourself when it’s raining, as everything will take a lot more time to do in the rain. Whether it’s decelerating, accelerating, or coming to a complete stop, you want to make sure you do that earlier than you would normally to prevent a fall.
Follow the dry track
We mentioned before that bike tires squeegee out the water from the road—car tires do it too. If you can follow the dry track that a car in front of you makes, you might want to stick to that.
Wear bright and reflective gears
When it’s raining hard, you won’t be able to see very far ahead of you. To alleviate this problem, you want to make sure that the cars behind can see you and your bike. That’s why reflective waterproof gear with neon colors are a must.
Invest in a pair of goggles
When you’re in the rain, your eyes naturally squint to protect your eyeballs from the water. This may be good for your eyes, but you won’t be able to see much when you’re riding, and that’s bad for your chances of getting to your destination in one piece. You might want to invest in a pair of rain goggles or safety glasses so you can see more clearly when it’s raining.
Waterproof gloves are definitely a must when you’re planning to ride in the rain. It can help you to have a better handle of the bike, and that’s something you can’t live without when road conditions aren’t too friendly.
Stand up from time to time
When you’re riding in the rain, you will find that the water will quickly gather on your crotch, and that’s not very comfortable. If you’re feeling the weight of the water piling on your lap, just stand up to let it drip off. Side note: raincoats and heat gear are your best friend during these seasons, so we recommend you have them ready when the skies start to rumble.