This past Saturday members of the Fitness Council and many other community members participated in the Mick Webster 7th Annual Memorial Bike Tour. Despite rain falling down upon us from the beginning to end, it couldn’t wreck our spirit. Riders could choose between 18, 28, 50, and 62 mile courses. Only a brave few rode more latter two long courses. 18 miles in the chilly rain was enough to soak a person completely though. We were welcomed back to P&T Fitness to a warm meal and dry clothes. While riding in the rain wasn’t anybody’s first choice with the right gear and precautions it is possible. Read on to find tips from bikeeasybay.org for safe and effective biking in the rain.
On your body:
- A synthetic or wool (non-cotton) base layer (underclothes) will keep the sweat from sticking.
- A wool or fleece (again, non-cotton) outer layer (shirt or sweater) will breathe but keep you warm in cold temperatures.
- A waterproof jacket or rain cape will keep the water out, but avoid hoods that cover your ears and keep you from hearing traffic noise.
- Waterproof rain pants and boots or shoe covers will keep you dry from all of the water that your tires will splash up from the roadway.
- Neon and bright colors are especially important in dim but not dark conditions.
- A waterproof bag, pannier, or backpack will ensure that all of your valuables stay dry even if you don’t.
- You can put a rain cover over your bike helmet but avoid wearing a hood that covers your ears. You need to be able to hear traffic to stay safe, especially in rainy conditions.
On your bike:
- Highly recommended: Plenty of bright lights AND reflectors to the front, rear, and sides of your bike (even during the day!).
- Fenders on your front and rear wheels will keep water on the road from splashing up onto you.
Things to know:
- Bike brakes are much less effective when wet. Take it slower than normal and give yourself LOTS more time to stop.
- Metal, painted, and brick surfaces in the roadway can become very slippery during and after the rain. This means watch out for train tracks, manholes, bike lane markings, etc. When you cross over them keep your handlebars straight, not turning, to avoid a slip.
- Hands and feet get the coldest when biking, if wet and unprotected. If you plan to bike more than just a couple miles in the rain, make sure both are covered with waterproof and well insulated material.
- Beware of bike-eating puddles! Even little ones can hide nasty things like potholes, nails, or glass, which can cause a flat tire or a crash.
- After your ride, take some time to wipe water and dirt off the metal bike wheel rims, front and back. This will ensure that the brakes are still effective the next time you take your bike out.
- Also wipe water off the chain after a rain ride, and squirt on a little bike lubricant if possible. This prevents rust from building up on the chain, extending its life.