10 Tips for Riding in the Rain

Photo: Bruce Hildenbrand

Cyclists who live in Seattle, Washington, (or any place where it is guaranteed to rain on half of their riding days) are wet-weather professionals.

Those itching to get off the trainer and onto a real bicycle aren't going to let water and road grit get in their way. And those who live in San Diego, California? Well, there is an outside chance that one day, drops will fall from the sky and soil those perky racing singlets everybody wears.

Sooner or later, everyone will be faced with riding in the rain, and with a little knowledge and the appropriate gear, spinning through showers can actually be an enjoyable experience. How do we know this? We contacted our Pacific Northwest wet-weather expert Philip Booth for a short list of 10 ways to motor through the mist happily...more or less.

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Dress to Stay Dry

The wetter you get the colder you are going to be. Being cold and wet is a quick way to get sick. Keep your core warm. A waterproof vest or jacket with a dropped skirt in the back and a hood is critical for heavy conditions. Wear a wicking underliner made from wool or polypropylene and wool socks.

Cover your shoes with neoprene booties to insulate them when they are soaked, and use full fingered water- and wind-resistant gloves. Remember, your body sweats rain or shine, so your jacket and garments must breathe (chose Gore-Tex-type fabrics or ventilated outer garments) or you'll arrive wet from the inside, instead of the outside.

Clear Lenses

In low light, clear or yellow lenses for eye protection are critical. When riding in the rain, normal sunglasses cut out too much light and can make road obstacles hard to see.

If you are still having issues seeing, a cycling cap placed under the helmet will shield some of the rain and road spray from hitting your glasses. Use an anti-fog product (Rain-X is a good value) so you won't become legally blind after waiting for a traffic light.

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