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Any tips for rainy riding?(15 posts)

Any tips for rainy riding?Brian C.
May 31, 2001 2:32 PM
There's a charity bicycle event in town this Sunday: It has been planned for months, I've been looking forward to it for weeks - and wouldn't you know it, there's rain in the forecast.
To hell with the weather, I'm going riding with $200 in pledges for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Any tips for fools willing to pedal in the rain?
(Besides wear a rain coat and waterproof pants, please.)
Yeah, just get wet and enjoy it ...Humma Hah
May 31, 2001 2:51 PM
Warm weather rain is usually less trouble than people expect. I did a LOT of rainy commuting in college. Waterproof clothing is counterproductive -- you'll just get soaked with sweat instead of nice, fresh rainwater. If the rain is not cold, it may actually feel surprisingly nice.

Couple of tips -- one might consider applying a soothing skin creme, something like maybe Vaseline Intensive Care, on spots subject to chaffing. On a long ride, this could be the difference between misery and a nice ride.

Wearing glasses? Carry some soft rags to clean them with.

Wear some older riding togs. There will be a disgusting brown streak up your backside, unless you put fenders on the bike. Your shoes and socks will probably get spattered pretty well, too.

If you have an older bike, consider riding it instead of the cherry with the fresh paint. I used to have a chronic problem wearing the paint off my top tube, when mud spattered on my pants rubbed against the paint. You can prevent this by being careful to avoid rubbing any muddy body parts against paint, but this may be difficult depending on your riding posture.

Start out well greased and oiled, and clean, grease and oil everything afterwards. However, late in the ride your chain may start to complain (you should have heard the squeaking going on about 70 miles into Solvang this year, when the roads were wet and muddy). Either take a small container of chain oil, or check to see if the SAG stops will have oil available.
Forgot to mention ...Humma Hah
May 31, 2001 3:20 PM
... reading a post below reminded me!

Flats are more common in the rain. There seem to be two reasons. First, if you go splashing down gutters or through puddles, you can't see the glass, and that's where it hides, in the low spots.

Second, usually small chips of broken glass lie flat, and there's a chance you can ride over it without a puncture. But in the rain, your front tire stirs up the chips, and the rear catches it. Flowing water in gutters is even worse.

Carry the usual repair goodies, maybe some extras, and stay away from the hazards above whenever possible.
Slightly different suggestionBosephus
Jun 1, 2001 1:06 PM
I agree with all this except for the Vaseline intensivce Care. It';s too absorbent and won't last. I recommend you take a page from the triathlete and marathon runner's handbook and use "Vagisil" or even regular vaseline.

I know it sounds a little weird to Vagisil but it works. I gaurantee you if you throw a little of that goo in the chaffee spots you'll feel much better.

The hardest part is walking up to the counter at the drug store and buying the stuff ... at least as a dude it is. :)
Ranks right up there with ...Humma Hah
Jun 1, 2001 3:24 PM
... asking passing ladies which razor is best for shaving your legs, I'd guess.

The embarrassing product I bought recently (I bought the store brand and hoped nobody would recognize it) is Ensure Plus, or the competing brand, Boost. Old folks nutrition drinks. The choice of champions among RAAM riders. I've tried it. The stuff kicks arse.

I've known guys to wear pantyhose for several good reasons. Some divers wear them.

Fortunately for me, I never seem to chafe while riding, even on century + distances. Swimming in salt water is my downfall -- got so bad on my Hawaii trip I could barely walk one day. My cycling shorts saved me -- those didn't chafe. But the Vagisil might have worked, too.
It's mostly mentalAndrew
May 31, 2001 2:56 PM
I pretty much plan my riding season around Charity rides. I don't race. The thing that works best for me is to think about the people you are riding for. I am a lifetime rider in the MS 150. It has rained on us two of the past three years. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself because you are wet and cold. Instead I think about the people who suffer from Multiple Sclorosis and the pain and suffering that they go through each day. I can easily call it a day on my bike and take a SAG vehicle to the end. After a hot shower and a little rest I will be as good as new. Those with MS don't have that luxury. They can't take a break from what they are going through, and they are not going through it by choice. Having that thought in my mind helps me carry on. Knowing the suffering that they go through every day makes my few hours of wet and cold seem like nothing. The same thing goes for the charity ride that you are going to be riding. Many of the people you are riding for can't ride a bike because they are partially paralyzed from a stroke, or their heart is not strong enough to handle it as a result of a heart attack. Be thankfull that you are able to ride. Also realize that you are riding for a charity that you or someone very close to you could benefit from in the future.

Prepare by bringing along the rain gear, but I think that your mentality will ultimately get you to the end. I commend you for your efforts to help others in need.

more infoAndrew
May 31, 2001 3:03 PM
I forgot to mention that your bike should be properly lubed before the ride, and cleaned and relubed after the ride. Some good glasses to keep the rain out of your eyes will also make the ride more tolerable. Have a good time on the ride. Think about when you were a kid and wanted to go play in the rain, or wanted to ride your bike through all of the water puddles after a rain.:)

word. getting all teary-eyed over here. Nice Post. NMHaiku d'état
May 31, 2001 3:17 PM
re: Any tips for rainy riding?mike mcmahon
May 31, 2001 3:01 PM
Watch out for anything and everything on the road that might even potentially turn slippery when wet: cross-walk markings, manhole covers, gutters, etc. Any time you see paint on the road, avoid it like the plague; it's like ice when it's wet. If you have to ride over any of this stuff, go straight over it. Even a slight turn may send you sliding. Most of all, relax. You're more likely to have problems if you're tensed up because of the wet roads. Have fun.
You can always count on this board for good advice.Brian C.
May 31, 2001 3:46 PM
Thanks guys.
There were things I'd forgotten about (oil change) and never thought of (slippery surfaces, glass).
At my age and this being a ride for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, it will be doubly for my benefit.
Just too bad it wasn't being held in San Fran (see calendar posts below).
re: Any tips for rainy riding?MikeC
May 31, 2001 3:51 PM
DON'T EXPECT YOUR BRAKES TO WORK LIKE THEY NORMALLY DO (unless they're discs, but then you'd probably be on another site). Last year, during a VERY wet MS150, a guy who I was riding with almost got killed when he approached an intersection at 20 mph, braked too late, and ended up fifteen feet deep into the cross street. It's weird because your tires might not be sliding...your wheels just keep turning.
The "mental" part mentioned in the other posts is true, too. It seems that after a period of discomfort, you sort of enter a kind of desensitized "coccoon" where everything outside of your head just fades away. I've had a lot of endurance athletes tell me it's a regular part of their experience.
re: Any tips for rainy riding?Jz
Jun 1, 2001 3:50 AM
I have never tested this with my road bike, but the theory should be the same. I live in Oregon and have/get to ride in the rain and mud a lot. When I go mountain biking in the mud and I have to stop, I always
sorta pump the brakes (both front and rear) a couple of times to clean off the mud and water from the rim. After that, I just try to stop like normal and most of the time it is no problem. For some reason, if you just grab the brakes like normal without the pumping, they never seem to really grab due to the excess in water. I don't know if this is the same for all brakes/rims, but this technique I have developed over the years has sure saved me from sliding off a few singletrack corners (and subsequently tumbling down the mountain). Hope it works for you...
Of courseHoochieMamma
Jun 1, 2001 12:45 AM
I get out my trainer, garden hose and workout the details!!! The rest is up to you...check out Naked Chef!
re: Any tips for rainy riding?TC
Jun 1, 2001 12:54 PM
Just a few little things that might make the rain ride a little easier. I always like to wear a cycling cap under the helmet. Keeps the rain that would otherwise drip on to your face off. Cover your computer with a baggie. If it's suspectible to shorting out. Mine gets the weirdest readings and with a baggie it stays dry. Wear shoe covers if you can. I took that cheap plastic raincoat and cut the sleeves out of it. That way I'm not overheating. You might consider letting a little air out your tires. 10-15psi, you'll get better traction with a little less pressure in them.

In a paceline I stay just off center of the rider in front of me as to not get the full brunt of his spray.

I'll be honest unless it's cold out I'd skip the waterproof pants IMO. They're just too hot.

Two more things.boy nigel
Jun 1, 2001 1:25 PM

First, good job on the charity ride; they're a great and worthy organization.

1) I don't know how long your ride will be, but I've found "chamois cream" to be very, very good on long rides (I'd imagine it would be just as--if not more--important on a rainy ride, when things can chafe more). Many bike shops sell it. Just stick your fingertips in the tub it comes in and spread some on your bottom area, then pull your shorts on; it helps the chamois "stick" to you better, rather than moving around, bunching, and chafing. It also helps with bacteria, softens/conditions any chamois, and makes a long ride much more comfortable. I use the stuff on anything further than a 40-miler. For what it's worth, ALL the pros use the stuff--and they know what it takes to be comfortable on a long bike ride.

2) Someone mentioned the flatting tendencies in the wet. Every so often, reach down (carefully) with your glove and, using the area between the thumb and index finger on the palm side, wipe off the tires. This is particularly advisable immediately after you've ridden over something which may be glass or little rocks. Just takes a second or two per tire, and it can really save you from flatting. I do this on each ride I go on (wet or dry), and I have excellent luck avoiding punctures (knock wood). In the rain, it's especially important, since you don't want to be standing around (and getting your muscles all cold) while having to fiddle around with tubes and pumps in the dirt and grit and wet). Plus, things stick much better to wet, gritty tires, and you don't want anything but the road to stick to your wheels. :)

Enjoy the ride, feel good about doing a wonderful thing for your fellow man, and ride strong.