World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tips
Close on the heels of the cold weather riding tips we pushed out last week, it seemed sensible to do something on riding in the rain, seeing as how the two things seem to go together so frequently. Not to mention our fit guru Craig Upton has a group of riders headed down the coast to San Diego this week. Talk about drawing the short straw, there’s no question they’re going to get their share of rain. In fact, forecasters are calling it one of the worst weather patterns to hit the west coast since 2004. Pack your galoshes fellas.
Riding in the rain can be inspirational, fun, a welcome challenge or a great big shit sandwich. Like painting a room, having a baby or heading out for a night on the town, making the best of a rain ride comes down to how you prepare before rolling out and how you recover once off climbing off the bike. Unfortunately, much of being able to roll with the punches when the rain begins to fall comes down to practice. One time that living in a rain soaked locale can actually do some good.
So, without delay, here are World’s Three Greatest Rain Riding Tips
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tip #1: Pack a warm thermos of tea
OK. We mentioned this in the cold weather riding tips, but that goes to show you how great it is! Don’t believe us? Ask certain Tour winners (or their people) who are obsessed with hot tea on a wet ride. A nice thermos of hot tea at a strategic point in a three or four hour rain ride will not just make things a little more tolerable; it'll make the difference between feeling miserable and punching people’s tickets! Us, we like a flask full of steaming yerba mate with a strong dose of natural agave nectar. Hippies, yes……but hippies you don’t want to mess with on a rainy day.
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tip #2: Don’t Ride On Painted Lines
Sure, you may know this already. Chances are that you know it because you’ve fallen. Fallen very hard! Fact is that not all painted lines are slippery, but those that are, well, prepare for impact.
You might be thinking that it’s impossible to ride in the rain and not hit some painted traffic lines. And you are correct. Yet, it’s what you do when you hit those lines that matters most.
Rule #1: Never touch your brakes when you’re on a painted traffic line. This is easy to understand and difficult to do, but braking on painted lines can be avoided by going a little slower than normal and paying a little more attention.
Rule #2: Never try to corner on a painted line. This means you need to go a bit slower overall and you should set-up for your corners a little more precisely and more in advance than you normally would.
Also, everything that we just said about painted lines goes for metal surfaces like manhole covers and those huge steel sheets they lay across construction zones.
What’s more, that stuff we just said about metal surfaces, that goes about tenfold for metal bridges! Yes, those human cheese graters paid for with your tax dollars.
World’s Greatest Rain Riding Tip #3: Get Naked Fast
It doesn’t matter who needs to see your pasty white cyclist’s arse, as soon as you dismount, peel your wet clothes off and slip into something dry and warm. You may wonder why European pro outfits wear those goofy team warm-up suits, but having one as back-up after a cold, wet ride is all the proof you’ll need to be a died in the wool member of the team. Don’t forget a hat and something around your neck (like a small towel pulled around your throat and shoved into your jacket.) Ideally, you’ll be so warm that, in ten or fifteen minutes you’ll need to peel back a little. In addition to warming you up and drying you off faster, I have some possibly romantic notion that drying off quickly will prevent any kind of illness.
OK. That’s pretty much all you need to know to go from rain riding avoider to lord of the damp. As ever, let us know how that works out for you….