There is no such thing as “bad biking weather”, just ask those happy folks cycling around the Front Range every day of the year. Most cyclist have experienced a sprinkle, shower, or torrential downpour at some point during their cycling career—but with the right gear and attitude, riding in wet weather can be acceptable, and maybe even fun. Here’s what you need.
Rain jacket – Cycling rain jackets are optimized to be fully waterproof and breathable while allowing for a range of movement, and they often have subtle (or unsubtle) reflective accents. The thing to be mindful of when choosing one is the hood. If you ride in a helmet, is the hood big enough to fit over it? If not, opt for a head cap. A cycling cap, worn underneath your helmet, will help keep the rain from running into your eyes while you ride, and help shield your face from the rain.
Shoe covers or waterproof shoes – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from wet, cold, and wind. There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Sometimes, even shoe covers aren’t enough protection. Waterproof cycling shoes and boots can be a very smart investment, especially if you’re determined to ride in the rain frequently.
Gloves – Perched out on your handlebars your hands face the brunt of the weather. As your hands become numb from the constant rain, their temperature quickly cools, and before too long you can have some very frozen fingers to deal with. Frozen fingers aren’t much good at changing gear, braking or clinging to the handlebars, and they’re extremely uncomfortable. Opt for full finger / windproof gloves and waterproof gloves.
Lights – Even if it’s daylight out, you should ride with lights—for the same reason cars turn their lights on in the rain. The sky is darker, rain can obscure your outline, and drivers are already distracted. Using lights will make you more visible, and help you stay safe.
Maintenance – Experiencing mechanical difficulties in wet conditions is not fun! A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride – even in the rain. While bike maintenance can be a chore, having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference. Good reminders for riding in wet conditions is to wipe down and inspect the frame. Then, follow that up by applying lube your chain and pivot points.
Finally, adjust your attitude! Learn to love riding in the rain. Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop or visit us at BikeParts.com to select the cycling apparel that matches your riding style and wet riding needs.