Don’t let a little rain stop you cycling. It’s only water after all, and there are lots of reasons why riding through wet weather will make you a better all-round cyclist.
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- Get your road bike winter ready
- Best road bike tyres: what you should look for
1. A sense of slightly smug satisfaction
We don’t think it’s unfair to say that you can award yourself extra hardcore points if you make it out to ride through the rain. You get even more if you do it regularly. It means that you’re a proper cyclist. You laugh in the face of inclement weather, you grin at downpours and shrug off mud. You also know that there are a whole lot of other benefits that other fair-weather cyclists don’t get to enjoy.
2. Going out in the rain is kind of liberating
Remember when you were little and used to splash about in puddles? Fun, wasn’t it? We think that riding through the rain can give you that same simple sense of fun that you felt as a child. Once you’ve gotten over the worry of getting wet and just decide to embrace it, you’ll find yourself aiming for puddles and grinning to yourself as you fly along.
Of course, having the right kit will help you to stay comfortable (see point 8) and then there’s the wonderful feeling of getting dry afterwards…
3. Getting warm and dry again is absolute bliss
There is absolutely nothing that makes you appreciate clean dry clothes, a hot shower and satisfying food like getting tired and wet while out cycling. Grab yourself something tasty, satisfying and warm, and don’t forget to give your bike a little TLC too. The better you treat your bike the better it’ll cope with inclement weather and your pricy components and parts will last longer, too.
4. Your bike handling skills will be amazing
Riding in the wet presents its own set of challenges.
On the roads, the surface is much slicker, and painted road markings act like little patches of ice. Cornering requires careful and smooth control. Speed should be that much lower and braking should be deployed much earlier. Try to avoid braking hard and instead aim to decelerate gradually and in good time.
If you’re on the mountain bike, look out for roots that have transformed to traction-less tubes and mud that’s ready to send you flying. When it comes to roots, avoid braking as you roll over them and always look ahead on the trail for patches where you’ll find more traction for braking and checking your speed.
Check out the BikeRadar YouTube channel for loads more video hints and tips for improving your bike handling skills.
5. It gives you much more time to ride
In certain parts of the world it tends to rain a lot. Britain, we’re looking at you in particular.
If you don’t go out in the rain, whole months can go by without you riding outside at all. While a bike trainer can work wonders when the conditions really are too bad, it’s hard to give it as much effort on a trainer as you would on a road bike.
Riding through the rain also helps keep your winter riding and training consistent, so by the time the better, brighter and drier weathers arrives you’ll have a distinct advantage over other riders.
6. You’ll have the roads and trails to yourself
For some reason when the weather gets grey, wet and miserable fewer people seem to want to go and ride bikes outside. The up side of this is that you’re more likely to have blissful solitude on the trails or roads.
On the other hand, that can get a little lonely, so why not use your influence to encourage more people out into riding in the rain with you? If you do end up riding with others, particularly if you’re road cycling, make sure you’ve got mudguards on — you don’t want to be the person giving the rider behind you a face-full of road spray.
7. Everyone will regard you as a wet weather cycling guru
Be prepared for the questions, asked in a deferential tone. “Which mud guards do you recommend?” and “how do I keep my feet dry?”
8. There’s no such thing as bad weather
As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad kit. If you have the right stuff you’ll be able to keep on riding through it in comfort. We’re not saying you won’t get a little wet, but you won’t end up cold, shivering and hungry.
Ride regularly in the rain and you’ll quickly get to feel the difference between an okay waterproof jacket and a really good one. You’ll also appreciate the benefits provided by waterproof overshoes, sweat-wicking layers, waterproof gloves and more.
It’s also your responsibility to impart the essential wet weather riding knowledge, such as always use mudguards when riding with a group in the rain!
9. Everyone will think you are totally hardcore
You’ll see them out the corner of your eye as you pedal through the downpour, and feel the admiring glances. You know they’re thinking “wow, that cyclist is totally hardcore! Riding through the rain like it’s nothing? Impressive!” Everyone at work will be seriously impressed, too.
Well, that’s what we reckon anyway. Granted, one or two might think you’re crazy, but we know better. You’re just made of sterner stuff.
10. It gives you an excuse to buy new kit
Well, you do need to make sure that you have a decent waterproof jacket and waterproof shoe covers, right? And it would be a shame to trash that beautiful carbon bike on gritty wet roads. What you need is a second best bike, a winter bike, that you aren’t as worried about.