Yesterday, a friend was talking to me about her upcoming race this weekend, and was worried because the forecast is calling for rain. She asked me if I had any good tips for biking in the rain. I gave her a few suggestions, but I didn’t have a whole lot on my own. I’ve only ever raced in the rain twice, and neither time really bothered me because it was light rain. So, her and I did some searching on the internet, and we found a couple good articles. These two here and here were the ones I found most useful. This was convenient timing for me too, because as we were discussing riding in the rain, I was currently prepping for an afternoon ride that had a strong chance of rain as well! It didn’t end up raining on me, but I was prepared at least! After preparing for a rainy ride, doing some thinking from my own races, and reading these articles, here are my 10 official tips for biking in the rain.
1. Prepare for the worst.
It may not rain during your triathlon or bike training ride, but it also might pour. Be prepared for both if the forecast is foreboding. On the other hand though, try not to obsess about the rainy forecast. Check it a couple days before, then on race day (or night before), and make plans accordingly. Worrying about it won’t help you and it definitely won’t change the forecast.
2. Be flexible.
One of the articles I read emphasized the importance of adjusting your racing/riding strategy depending on the weather. Don’t act like a robot and race the same way you trained; be careful, and willing to adapt to changes.
3. Wear clear sunglasses lenses and treat them with Rain X.
I’ve always used clear lenses when biking in low light or rainy conditions, but I’ve never tried Rain X on them, so I’m excited to do that next time!
When riding on bumpy roads, it’s helpful to have slightly less tire pressure in your tires. The same goes for wet roads. When it starts raining, and puddles form on the roads, it makes the roads slick. Less tire pressure will help you have better grip on the road.
5. Put tires on your bike with slightly more tread.
I usually don’t bother switching out my tires, but I know they don’t have a whole lot of tread, so if you are a nervous rider in the rain, you might want to go with a tire that has more traction.
6. Turn with your body, not your bike.
I had never thought of this before, but I tried it yesterday, and it helps so much! We were riding on wet roads with a little gravel on top, so traction was less than ideal. We were also doing hill repeats, which meant biking DOWN the hills as well. Of course, the hills had tight corners too, so I used my body to lean into the turns, and it made my turns go so much smoother. Also, I didn’t have to worry about my tires skidding out from under me! Along with this tip is another one–don’t ride your breaks, just pump them. It will save your break pads, but it will also keep you from skidding down a steep, wet hill.
If it’s not a super hot day, you may want to wear a biking jacket. Especially if you’re already wet from the swim. If it’s just a training ride, you’d probably be fine getting wet.
Also consider wearing biking gloves. This will give you more control on your handle bars, and you won’t have to worry about sliding off them as they get wet from the rain.
8. Prepare for post-ride.
Weather this is a training ride, or a triathlon, you need to prepare for post-ride/race. In the rain, you’ll cool down a lot quicker once you stop moving. Pack clothes for after, and a towel to dry off with. I do this for any race even if it’s close by, but I’m the kind of person who immediately gets cold after finishing a race.
9. Relax and have fun!
The rain may be a blessing in disguise because it will help to keep you cool and go into your run feeling more fresh! I’ve raced twice in the rain, and enjoyed it both times. If you’ve prepared for it, you’ll be fine!
10. Carry your essentials in a plastic bag (or a waterproof container).
If this is a training ride, you’ll likely want to bring your phone with you. Putting it in a plastic bag (or tennis ball holder) will keep it from getting drowned! Also, if you have any energy bars, it might be nice to keep them from getting water-logged!
Have you ever raced or ridden in the rain? What tips do you have for safely doing so?