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How to enjoy riding your bike in the rain

Don’t dread the rain. Become an all-weather rider and never miss a commute with our tips and advice on how to make riding your bike around town in the wet a pleasure not a chore.

Riding your bike around town beats the traffic queues and is an easy way to keep fit, but if rainy weather makes you reach for your car keys or bus pass instead then it’s time to find the fun side of cycling in the rain. With the right kit and a little bit of preparation rain will no longer be a reason to leave your bike indoors.

5 Wet-weather bike riding skills

  • Puddles can disguise how deep a pothole is, resist the temptation to go splashing through!
  • Rain and wet roads can be slippery. If you brake hard on a wet road, you may skid so give yourself more time to slow down.
  • Avoid riding on white lines, drain covers or tram lines when it is wet.
  • If you need to cross a slippery surface always approach them square on, never at an angle.
  • On wet days ride further out from the gutter as rain will wash debris to the edge of the road.

5 tips for keeping dry

  • When choosing a jacket look for long sleeves and a long back so that when you lean forward on the bars your back remains completely covered up.
  • A hood that goes over your helmet helps to keep the rain out of your face. Another option is a cycling cape or poncho which will also cover the top of your thighs.
  • Waterproof over trousers can be pulled on over your normal clothes to keep the splashes off.
  • Keeping your feet dry is the most problematic as they can easily get splashed by puddles if you don’t have mud-guards. You can buy specialist cycling shoes that look a bit like normal trainers, wear shoe-covers or simply carry a spare pair on wet days.
  • Water-proof cycling kit can be pricey but is well worth the investment if it makes rides more enjoyable and more frequent because you aren’t avoiding bad weather.

5 ways to prepare your bike for cycling in the rain

  • Mud-guards keep spray off your bike and your feet and bottom dry. Don’t worry if your bike doesn’t have them, they are easy to fit to most models.
  • Even in day light wet-weather means reduced visibility so make sure your bike is well-equipped with lights, especially red ones at the rear.
  • Ask your mechanic to check your brake pads frequently as the grit and water from riding in the rain can wear the pads down fast, making it harder to stop.
  • Rain, grit and salt from the roads will make your bike chain dirty, or even rusty if left for a long time. Wipe down your chain when it gets wet and ask your mechanic about a wet-weather oil that will not wash off easily so protect your chain from damage.
  • Don’t worry about taking your e-bike out in the rain. The battery and electrical connections are all well protected and rain won’t cause you any problems. Just be extra careful to cover the battery port when you finish charging.

Look for the rainbows

Riding your bike, even on a wet day, is still more enjoyable, better for you and better for the environment than being on cramped, steamy public transport or stuck in a traffic jam.

Rain is never as bad once you are out as you think it will be when looking through the window. Showers pass and the sun comes out and when it does you might regret leaving your bike at home!

To make sure your bike is wet-weather ready, head to your nearest Shimano Service Centre.