As a cyclist, cycling in the rain should be the least of your worries. Especially if you’re a competitive cyclist. What you need is knowledge on how to prepare and equip yourself for a downpour. Whether it’s expected, unexpected, or required.
Read this guide down to the last letter as it provides all the necessary information you need. It answers various questions such as “What do cyclists wear in the rain?”
Pro-cyclists enjoy uninterrupted training sessions in the rain with a set of gear that protects both them and the bike from rainfall and the adverse effect of rainfall. The gear consists of:
- Waterproof jacket
- Gloves and overshoes
- Cycling cap
- LED lights
- Chain degreaser
Gears For Cycling In The Rain
- Waterproof Jacket
This is quite an important gear for cycling in the rain. It protects your torso from rainfall and it regulates your temperature as well. You can make use of water-resistant clothing such as a raincoat. Or you can get the special jacket that can provide you protection from both rainfall and overheat.
This is possible as some special waterproof jackets in the market are both well-layered and breathable.
- Gloves and overshoes
Riding in the cold wet woods or trails with cold hands and wet feet is the most uncomfortable experience. Cyclists that go through such tend to give up their sessions for the day. Thus, not being able to meet their goal for the day.
To avoid such a predicament, you need to get yourself some gloves and overshoes. Overshoes protect your feet from the cold as well rainfall. It’s the easiest to find overshoes. The same can’t be said about gloves as they have a certain requirement, which is not to be too thick. If they’re too thick, then you may not be able to have a good feel of your bike’s gear. Such as the brakes.
This is another gear, but instead of wearing it, you attach it to your bike wheels. Its purpose is to prevent mud and dirty road fluids from spraying onto you via the wheels. With the mudguards attached, your feet, shins, and black are protected from filthy stains.
- Cycling cap
A cycling cap, helmet, or any other waterproof headgear is another important item that ensures easy riding during a heavy downpour. The appropriate headgear should be waterproof and should have a thick extension that protects the user from water spray. Such as a cycling face cap.
Also, if you desire to save on a cycling cap, you could make use of your vented bike helmet with a regular face cap underneath it.
- LED lights
Treading in heavy rain can be dangerous especially when it’s done on the open road where vehicles may not see you in their path on time. LED lights are just what you need because they are visibly bright enough to be detected even when it’s foggy.
- Chain degreaser
This is a special lube-like fluid that is used to lubricate the chains, gears, and brake calipers. It helps to increase the life expectancy of the chains which can be shortened by rusting.
Note: The chain degreaser is to be applied immediately after a cycling session in the rain. Right just after washing up the bike. It’s not to be applied in certain parts such as the wheel rims, brake blocks, bottom bracket, and Hubs.
Tips For Cycling In The Rain
Keep Away From Standing Water
Try your best to avoid standing water as it could be a deeper puddle in disguise. Riding through such could lead to severe tire damage or a terrible accident. Even riding over standing water can cause gradual rusting of your bike chain.
Slip In Plastic Bags
Despite the overshoes and mudguards, it’s still very possible to get your feet wet after biking in the rain for a long while. The best way to avoid wet feet is with the use of a plastic bag. Wear a medium-sized plastic bag over your sock, then pull it down over your shoes and overshoes. Then you tighten it up. Do the same for your other foot.
Look Out For Debris
Treading during rainfall is somewhat tricky as debris usually wash up on pathways. From time to time, you should check for debris that could be stuck on your treads. Make sure to remove them during or immediately after your biking session in the rain.
Reduce Tire Pressure
Your bike treads better on wet surfaces once you lower your tire pressure. This is possible as low-pressure tires will cover more surface area. Thus, giving you a good grip for smoother riding on the slippery pathway.
Note: The appropriate low tire pressure should be within 5-10 psi. The aim is to make your bike heavy.
Watch Your Braking
While riding in the rain, try as much as possible to control your speed. Why? wet weather conditions may cause your bike’s brakes to be less responsive. This usually occurs with rim brakes.
Also, braking heavily on a wet pathway can cause you to skid out of balance.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
This is very essential to your safety. Try as much as possible to look ahead for puddles, sharp debris, and slippery sloping pathways.
How Do I Clean My Bike After Rain?
Here are a set of steps to take in order to get your bike clean immediately after use:
Remove Debris And Foreign Fluids
After a long ride in the rain, there’s bound to be all kinds of debris, mud, fluids, and gunk that could end up on any component of the bike. Especially the bike frame and the wheels.
What you need to do is scrub them off. You’ll need the following:
- Bucket of water
- Vehicle sponge
- Dish soap
Once you’ve got them all in place, scrub the metal components such as the handles, frame, and every corner of the seat’s underside. After a full body scrub, hose down the scribe parts of the bike.
Note: try as much as possible to avoid scrubbing or washing certain parts of the bike. Such as the bottom bracket and wheel hubs.
Clean the Wheels
To effectively clean the wheels you need to detach them from the bike. Once you’ve taken out the wheels scrub each of them extensively with the sponge. Start with the wheel hub, then to the spooks, and end at the tire. You could use a hardened scrubbing brush to handle the treads.
Clean the Brakes
With the wheels detached, cleaning the brakes is a lot easier. As you can reach the calipers and brake pads. So what you need to do is get the soapy Spong then wipe the braking pads and calipers. If the gunk persists then you should use a brake cleaner which will effectively remove oil and stubborn gunk from the calipers and pads.
Note: the brake cleaner should be your best option as it can also help to dehydrate your brakes to become effectively responsive.
Make sure to use a towel to soak up the wet parts of the bike dry, so as to prevent rusting. This will prevent the bike from undergoing gradual deterioration.
Note: A leaf blower could give faster results.
Take Care of the Drivetrain
The drivetrain is an essential part of the bike from which the human-powered perpetual motion of the bike is caused. Such a part needs to be cleaned and lubricated. That way you can prevent a pricey maintenance cost for your bike.
First, get your degreaser. Dispense a bit of it into a separate container and dip a small rag or old toothbrush into the container. Try scrub out stubborn gunk from every corner of the drivetrain (chains, crank, front & rear derailleurs, and the cassette). If you are interested in a quick, efficient and easy to use bike chain cleaning kit follow this link to Amazon
Once you’re done with that, you can then lubricate the chain. And also the points that hold the braking cable.
How Often Should I Lube My Bike Chain?
The drivetrain is the part of the component that’s prone to wear as it’s where the user’s energy is converted to mechanical energy. So lubrication and cleaning should be practiced regularly.
If you’ve finished a biking session in the rain, then the bike should be cleaned and lubricated immediately. This should be practiced after every bike ride in the rain so as to prevent gradual damage.
You can consider cleaning and lubricating once a month if you use it sparingly. Or if you don’t really tread on terrible pathways.
Riding in the rain shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your biking experience. Instead, you should sought-after an extension of your biking session, despite unexpected rainfall. Be it heavy or light.
The best way to go about rainfall as you cycle is to possess all the necessary gears mentioned in the guide. With them in place should be clear for the wet, muddy, and cold environment.