As you are aware, my new commute has much heavier traffic than my old one, meaning that taking a car to work is even less of a reasonable option than it used to be. So I’ve been riding more to work, and in these winter months it means I am riding in the rain more often.
It isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I’m not sure I can stand the alternative. (Sitting in traffic and hoping to get home sometime before I have to go back to work)
There has been a lot written about this already and I’m not here to write yet another guide on how to ride in the rain. Here are a couple that I thought were good:
I’m not sure I have much to add, but it’s my blog so I’ll share a couple of thoughts about what often surprises me about riding in the rain. Since typically I don’t ride in the rain that often, and with the drought it hasn’t rained much in the last couple of years there a couple of things I had forgotten that are actually pretty important.
To start, it isn’t as bad as I remember, I worry so much about traction and how slippery it is that I find myself being very tense. That doesn’t help, and while you definitely need to ride much smoother than normal (and Slower), you don’t need to or want to be tense while doing so. You have enough traction to do everything you want to do, it’s just going to need to be done a bit slower.
I was pleasantly reminded that I have good gear, and I think this is key for riding in the rain. It seems a bit silly to say, but it’s really important that you stay dry when you ride in the rain. Make sure it’s only your gear that is getting wet, and that it keeps all that wet away from you. You won’t be riding smoothly if you’re uncomfortable, and no one is comfortable wet and cold. (funny story here, my gear all failed in an hour ride home in the rain yesterday, details later)
Traction is of course one of the things you worry about. I have to say I probably have more traction than I think, but I still focus on going a bit slower and being much smoother than I would be normally.
The biggest thing that I was “surprised” by was I had forgotten how bad visibility gets. Helmets don’t’ come with wipers, and unless you’ve taken steps to prevent it from fogging up you’ll miss the fact that it doesn’t have a defroster. With the extra moisture in the air and the fact that you’re going slower means your visor will be much harder to see through than normal.