Topic8FBimage1 After a pretty dry start to the summer, New York has gotten plenty of rainfall recently so let’s examine how to bike in the rain. Whether you’re looking to extend biking beyond fair weather riding or bicycling is your only mode of transportation, know that riding in wet conditions is not only absolutely possible, but can be quite fun.
Topic8FBimage2 Let’s start with what to wear: In cooler temperatures, the best way to go is with a rain jacket and rain pants that simply slip over your daily attire. There are many brands of cycling-specific rain jackets and capes. For examples, check out Showers Pass, Cleverhood, and J&G. These all do a great job of keeping your layers beneath dry. The best rain jackets have some type of ventilation, primarily in the armpit area, so that you don’t get soaked from within by sweat. Be sure to choose a bright color to increase visibility. Many sporting goods stores have rain pants for jogging or cycling. Just be sure they give your legs a full range of movement when on the bike. The best jackets and pants have reflective material incorporated. In warm or hot temperatures, especially when riding through a deluge, consider bicycling in a t-shirt, swimming trunks and sandals. Just bring a towel and change of clothes with you. Though not essential, a helmet with a visor can keep the rain from hitting your face, keeping your glasses clear.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when riding in the rain is the changes in road surface conditions. Riding straight on wet pavement shouldn’t give you much trouble, provided your tires have good traction, but the following surfaces can be slippery when wet: metal plates, railroad tracks, manhole covers, grates and drains, leaves and even some road paint. So ride at a slower pace and avoid those particular surfaces if you can while turning. Avoid puddles; you don’t know how deep that puddle goes.

As far as riding habits and road position go, take extra measures to be conspicuous due to reduced visibility: Bright colored outer layers, lights and of course riding where you are seen. Because water reduces braking power, give yourself more time and distance to slow down and come to a complete stop. To squeegee your rims dry, pump the brakes on a regular basis.

Topic8FBimage6 Let’s conclude with talking about the bike itself. Fenders are indispensable in wet climates. They keep the water your tires go over from whipping up onto your clothes and back. They can be purchased from any bike shop or you can make your own from plastic soda bottles. Because the rain can rust your chain so quickly, dry the chain off after a wet ride, reapply lubricant, and wipe off the excess. Storing your bike in a warm, dry place, such as beside a basement dehumidifier, will soak up a lot of that unwanted moisture.