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What's wrong with riding in the rain? ( :o(20 posts)

What's wrong with riding in the rain? ( :ocharlieboy
Sep 22, 2003 4:04 AM
Apart from the obvious (we don't like getting wet) what is wrong with riding bikes in the rain? I see many posters have a special (i.e old piece of junk!) rain bike, or ads for second hand bikes 'never ridden in the rain'. Why not ride your bike in the rain? Is it really true that all our super duper components really can't handle getting wet? I note that Campagnolo instructions state that even a garden hose will force water past their seals!

I ride a third hand, cosmetically challenged Trek OCLV with campy zonda wheels and centaur gruppo, which I ride, clean and lube regularly, come rain or shine. It's a nice bike - should I really care about getting it wet? (BTW the campy wheels have a small hole in the rim, just inside the braking surface, I guess to drain water)

Answers from the real world (where it really rains, say Vancouver, Seattle, England) would be appreciated.
Sep 22, 2003 4:13 AM
many people invest so much money on bicycles that they're afraid to get them dirty, wet, dinged, scratched, touched, stolen, etc, etc, etc.

thats fine, if thats your thing. IMO, though, no point in owning it if your not going to USE it.

Not just a bike phenom... the same applies to porsche owners who dont want to 'rack up' mileage, or SUV owners who dont want salt on their there prized baby in the snow.

To quote another poster, it's just a thing.
I love it....PEDDLEFOOT
Sep 22, 2003 4:38 AM long as it's not a lightning storm or gale force winds it's alot of fun.Plus you get alot of strange looks from people wondering who is this nut.As for the bike I just make sure I rinse it off as soon as I get home to get all the road grime that sticks to it off.Then make sure you clean the drive train later and relube .
It's liberating and builds character...biknben
Sep 22, 2003 4:49 AM
At least that's what I tell myself as I leave for a rain ride.

I have a rain bike but it's primarily a commuter (FG and all). It's not good for training rides but I'll use it for a rainy commute or recovery/fun ride.

The rain will wear certain parts prematurely. The rain doesn't just consist of water. You have to deal with sand, grit, and other debris that comes off the road with the water. The water is no big deal, but the other stuff will hurt the bike.

That being said, if I'm planning on a ride that requires gears, I take out the good bike and get all wet if I have to. The greatest motivation to train is knowing that your competition isn't.
Rain is fine but the sand and dirt can be a problembimini
Sep 22, 2003 4:57 AM
Most bikes will tollerate getting wet. I have had problems with significant wear of drive trains, hubs and bearings when riding on wet streets with a lot of sand on them. The tires pick up the wet sand and it gets into everything.

We have a lot of problem with this in the Midwest in the Winter and Spring since they put a lot of salt and sand on the roads in the Winter. Very hard on the bike.

Once the sand washes off the roads, no big problem.
not made for the wet...C-40
Sep 22, 2003 5:02 AM
An open drivetrain is very poorly suited to use in the rain. Water coming off the road is often full of grit that will greatly accelerate wear on the chain and cogs. Many folks have found out the hard way that the hubs and bottom bracket bearings can get water and grit in them, which results in a very short life. Old or cheap parts are often used to reduce the cost of frequent replacement.

I personally hate riding in the rain. Did it once on purpose and after spending an hour cleaning the bike, never did it again. Depending on the roads and surrounding traffic, it can be quite dangerous.
re: What's wrong with riding in the rain? ( :otoomanybikes
Sep 22, 2003 5:20 AM
Lived in Vancouer for years and rode a steel bike in the rain for all of those years.

No ill effects. I mean think about, your car is made from steel.

I do not get fixated on cleaning it soon as I get home - etc. I will usually wipe the bike down, mostly to keep it from dripping everywhere, but the rest of the cleaning, re-lubing, etc is on the regualr cycle. Use waterproof grease and lubes - going for a ride in the rain is fine.

The only real danger to your bike from it comes the firts rain after some dry weather when the oil rises to th surface in the wet, then the roads are like a skating rink, best to give that first day or two a miss and let the crap rinse off the street.
if you like pina coladas...mohair_chair
Sep 22, 2003 6:12 AM
...and getting caught in the rain

Everybody sing along!
There are safety issues...ClydeTri
Sep 22, 2003 6:13 AM
Decreased visibility and increased stopping distances. More accidents happen with autos in rain, so, be careful!
besides being cold, painful, dangerous and extra work?Milliet
Sep 22, 2003 6:29 AM
Summer showers (year round really) are quite common down here near the Gulfcoast. In 6 weeks of commuting, I have been caught in the rain a few times.

If it rains hard enough, it stings like hell. Especially while pedaling into it.

It is cold. Each time in the rain, I shivered and shook all the way home.

Dangerous. Hard to count all the ways. Reduced visibility for you and the cars, reduced traction and braking for you and the cars. Then there is always the less likely: lighting strike, flooding, wind blown debris, etc.

Extra work. All gear (computer, saddle bag(s), head light), shoes, and clothes totally soaked. Must be dried out. Add to that additional care of a wet and gritty bike.

Other than that, it is not too bad really.

Hattiesburg, MS
More flats !!yellowspox
Sep 22, 2003 6:47 AM
Your tires pick up more junk which means more flats....lots of fun to change out in the rain! Spring is the worst. That's when all those worms get crushed and caked on to the sure to wash it off before they dry. After they dry, it's like trying to peel off epoxy.
The first few minutes, poor handling, and cleaning the bike.dzrider
Sep 22, 2003 6:51 AM
A jacket gets me through the early part of the ride. Once I'm wet I'm usually fine as long as I have enough clothes to keep warm. As others have pointed out, safety and cleaning up the bike is a necessary drag, so I usually use my fixie with larger tires and fewer parts to clean. I do at times ride my good bike and neither it nor I melted!
Sep 22, 2003 7:43 AM
bikes used to be made exclusively out of steel, and not all of them were treated; stainless cables/coated housing is resent invention; seals on hubs/BB didn't used to be as good; threads still rust/freeze/cold weld, esp on threaded fork, etc, etc, etc.

from bike maint point of view the biggest issue is the lower piece of RD housing getting clogged.
how 'bout increased risk of injury?ET
Sep 22, 2003 8:05 AM
This thread so far has downplayed this. I don't know about you guys, but I'm not exactly gonna fly down a descent when wet. In fact, I'm not gonna go downhill more than about 10 mph, because there's just no way to be sure you won't hydroplane out of control when you brake, if not when turning or at some other time. Such necessary caution often ruins the ride, if the pain of cleaning the whole bike afterwards isn't deterrent enough. So I don't ride in the rain. Of course, I may chance that it won't rain or that I'll beat it home, and don't always guess right. When I get caught in the rain, I notice the cars don't see as much either, don't slow down enough and don't give a cyclist the additional space needed.
It's not that bad...biknben
Sep 22, 2003 8:36 AM
You may be surprised how well a bike can be handled in the wet. There is no reason to slow to 10 mph just because it is wet. Hydroplaning on a bike is only a myth. If you're gonna loose traction it will most likely be caused by changes in friction from a painted line, tar strip, or manhole covers. Yes, the few minutes can be especially hazardous until the oils clear off the road.

I would compare riding in the wet to driving in the snow. You just need to anticipate your next move. You need to use caution while accelerating, slowing, and cornering. Going down a relatively straight road is nothing to be concerned about.

Cars can't see as well in the rain so you have to be aware of that and make yourself more visable. I keep blinkies on all my bikes for dawn, dusk, or rainy rides. If I know it's gonna rain, I wear some reflective stuff and choose a route to avoid the higher speed, busy roads.
I saw this happen last yearbimini
Sep 22, 2003 11:00 AM
on the last day of Ragbrai. A guy came screaming down a big hill during a downpour doing 40-45 and went down. He slid down the highway about a hundred yards or more before coming to a stop. He got back on the bike with only a minor case of road rash! His whole body must have hydroplaned so the road did not dig in too bad. It looked a lot worse than it turned out.

After seeing this I slowed down a bit on the downhills.
They say it only rains once in Seattle...October - AprilLC
Sep 22, 2003 9:16 AM
Most of my miles are done in the rain because this is the time I need to put on the base miles for next race season. To even be allowed to show up for a ride with most teams you have to have full fenders including a mud flap to keep spray off the guy behind you. The fenders do help alot since they keep the cold spray off your legs and rear and you much cleaner as well. They also keep your drivetrain from being sprayed with dirty water off the road. Still you are going to go thru more chains and brake pads for sure. You have to rebuild your hubs more often and you might go thru more cassettes and chainrings as well. The fenders tend to wear the paint off both the seat stays and the chain stays where they contact the frame and your shoe covers tend to wear the crank arms finish so most riders have learned to not use their million dollar race bike. If your serious about riding all winter (fall and spring too) then you are pretty much going to have to have a rain bike. Older steel bikes have the advantage of being both cheap and usually have plenty of room for fenders so you see alot of them used as rain bikes, however I have seen just about every type of bike used along with some very creative ways of getting fenders on them. The good thing is that it almost never snows, so you can keep riding all winter if you like and summers might actually less rain than the rest of the country.
Similar in Londonboneman
Sep 22, 2003 1:59 PM
It's wet from September (first rain ride in a long time today) through June. I ride both steel and Ti. Doesn't matter and I don't overthink the moisture in the tube bit. I've always ridden in the rain and never had a problem with moisture in the frame, even with my min-70's Italian steel frames with cutout BB shells. Completely agree with LC on getting fenders. SKS have a new set out called race blades which will actually fit most tighter clearance race frames and have excellent hardware for those without eyelets. Some sort of bootie scheme is a must. I have Northwave Husky's and use them with Assos rain boots. They work okay and there are better solutions.

Keeping the chain lubed and clean is a priority. I generally use a sealed cartridge BB, Ultegra for the Shimano DA setup and Phil and Record BB for the Campag setup. Brake blocks go fast, and for me more so in the rear. Kool Stop Salmons are worth looking into. The rest is normal maintenance. Tires with controllable grip are also handy and always remember that wet manhole covers, botz dots (they call them studs in the UK), trams tracks, etc. are like riding on ice, ie, meet pavement quickly. Good news is that when it's wet and you go sliding, little or no road rash or at least less than when it's dry.
if you don't ride in the rain...gtx
Sep 22, 2003 11:47 AM
you're a wuss. It's not that big of a deal. Yes, if you do it a lot, get a rain bike and proper clothes, and fenders are nice. I don't think it's more dangerous if you have decent bike handling skills, some experience doing it and don't act like an idiot.
Garden Hoses Create Much More Pressure than Rainmgolebiewski
Sep 22, 2003 12:31 PM
A hose has alot of pressure behind it and a much greater concentrated flow than even the heaviest rain. It also comes, typically, from the side of the bike, not the top/bottom like rain will.

A garden hose will force water into a seal much faster than rain will.