This past Friday afternoon, I decided to take a quick 45 min ride before picking my son up from school. The weather looked like it might rain, so I put my cell phone in a plastic bag just in case it started to rain. As luck would have it, about 2 miles into the ride, it began to sprinkle. I decided to alter my route to avoid the rain.
It just so happened I didn’t check the radar to see the direction the rain was traveling and by mile 3, I was being drenched by a downpour with 1/4 mile visibility and 10 to 20 mph winds. At that point, I decided to make a somewhat hasty retreat back home.
During the ride back, I made the following observations and remembered a few lessons about riding in the rain.
- Riding a bicycle at 25 to 30 mph on wet pavement in cross winds can feel like you are on ice skates. Resulting in your backside firmly gripping the saddle.
- Cycling kits look like they are freshly painted on when you are soaking wet with rain.
- At 25 mph, rain feels like needles relentlessly poking you. Ouch!
- Cycling kits provide little protection from the aforementioned rain needles.
Lessons learned/ reinforced:
- Allow extra time and distance for braking.
- Take turns extra wide and slow to prevent tires from slipping out from under you.
- Put your phone and or wallet if you carry one on the bike in a plastic bag.
- Plan on spending some time to thoroughly clean and dry your bike, remembering to lube your chain, pedals, headset, brake pivot points, shift and brake cables.
- To speed up the drying process, the insoles out of your cycling shoes and put newspaper in them or put a fan blowing into them.
- Check the local weather radar to determine the direction of travel of any rain in the area.
- If you plan on riding in wet conditions, make sure you use your favorite skin lubricant or healing ointment (Aquaphor works wonders).
- Dont’ forget to wear your ICEdot band in case of an accident.
A positive note to the experience was, my bike was due for a tear down and thorough cleaning. So, the ride accelerated my plans to do so.
Important note, you should either take your bike to a professional for cleaning or plan on tearing everything down to make sure there is no water hiding in unsuspecting areas on your bike. I discovered this when I poured water out of my aero bars whilst tearing the bike down.
And remember, a clean bike is a happy bike and a happy bike is a fast bike…..
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