PACTIMO REWARDS(0)  |  FREE SHIPPING ON $50+ ORDERS  |  FREE EXCHANGES  |  877-291-6238  |  NEED HELP?   US Dollar British Pound Euro

Bike Handling Tips for Wet Conditions

May 31, 2016

Bike Handling Tips for Wet Conditions

Wet roads present a whole host of possible dangers for cyclists. If you watch the Giro d'Italia or Tour de France, you’ll see even the best bike handlers in the world crashing out in the rain.

While it is impossible to eliminate all the risks associated with riding in the rain, there are tips and techniques that will help keep the rubber on the road.

Here’s just a few:

“Pump” Your Brakes 

As you approach a stop give your brake lever a couple light pumps. This will squeegee the water from the rim and make the pads more efficient even if they’re still damp. When executing, make sure to use a light touch and start with the rear brake before doing the same with the front. Of course if you have disc brakes you can forego this!

Shift Your Weight 

If you typically ride in dry conditions, you probably give little thought to your body position when stopping. But in wet conditions it is imperative to shift your weight back to maximize rear wheel traction. As you approach a stop, slide back on your saddle. For emergency stops get out of the saddle and push your hips back over the rear wheel.

Pedal While Stopping 

If you continue to pedal while braking, your rear wheel will be far less likely to lock up and skid. The pedaling keeps the tire spinning even when significant brake pressure is applied. This might seems awkward the first time you try it, so you might want to practice on dry roads until you get the hang of it.

Steer, Don’t Lean 

Avoid leaning into corners and focus more on turning the front wheel through the curve. This will keep your bike more upright and result in more downward force on the tires. And of course, take corners a little slower!

Brake Before The Turn

Probably the worst thing you can do in wet conditions is brake in a corner. You’ll lose complete control and exponentially increase your chances of going down. Instead, brake early and release before actually making your turn, while also pedaling through the corner. If you truly need to brake in a turn, use only the rear lever—applying pressure evenly and releasing quickly. And don’t stop pedaling.

Everything Gets Slippery 

Road surfaces are especially slick when it first starts to rain as oil and other gunk is washed up. For a cyclist, this super slick condition will last a whole lot longer than it does for people driving cars. Make sure to watch out for oily looking patches or puddles, as attempting to turn or stop in one could be very hazardous. Similarly, a build up of wet, fallen leaves, steel street plates, wood or metal bridge decking, manhole covers and painted road markings are all going to be things to traverse with caution.

Don’t Bomb Through Puddles

When we were kids we loved the rain for the puddles! But, as a cyclist you should always avoid puddles. What might appear to be something fun to splash through could actually be a foot deep pothole or a sewer grate just waiting to grab your front wheel. Stay away from puddles and you’ll significantly reduce your chances of a pinch flat, broken rim or a trip over the handlebars.

(Do we need to say that it’s not a good idea to ride holding an umbrella?)

Right Hand On Bars

We’ve mentioned it above: braking when it’s wet should primarily be with your rear brake. You are far less likely to skid out or crash when engaging the rear brake than you are when you utilize your front brake—even if you lock the rear wheel. That means you should always keep your right hand on the bars and ready to brake, and use your left hand to reach for a water bottle or rummage around in a pocket. 

Hopefully these tips will help you to stay safe and actually enjoy a ride in the rain. 

 


 

About the Author

Tony KelseyTony Kelsey has nearly 20 years marketing experience, previously serving as global vice president of creative for an international, $1B IT solutions consultancy. Although a self-proclaimed “mediocre” racer in high school, his intense passion for cycling and bicycles in general has never waned. Today he is marketing director at Pactimo and frequently writes about cycling as a sport and hobby. @tonykelsey



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Related Stories You Might Like

  • Bike Handling Skills and Drills

    Many people think that the pros don’t work on their handling skills but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most professionals routinely do handling drills to keep their skills at the highest level.  Being comfor...

  • 7 Tips for Riding a Road Bike on Dirt

    No need to stop having fun when the pavement ends! Many riders, especially those who are new to cycling, have a misconception that road bikes should only be ridden on pavement. But the truth is, road bikes can be saf...

  • The Importance of Cycling Form and Technique

    Have you ever heard the saying “it is not always the strongest racer that wins”? This is definitely true and whether you are an aspiring racer or recreational cyclist just looking to improve your fitness. There are ...


Also in New to Cycling

Tips to Make Commuting a Reality
Tips to Make Commuting a Reality

April 27, 2017

As a long-time commuter, I want to assure you of this first – it gets easier with time. I’m writing this on a day that I knew would bring a high chance for wet weather in the afternoon. That promise is being fulfilled and I’m excited!  I’m looking forward to the ride home mostly because I’m prepared for it, not just in my choice of attire, but also in the knowledge that the route is relatively safe (there are just a couple spots that you’ve really got to watch). It also means I don’t have to water the garden when I get home. Despite the love I have for the ride, I’m still lazy about housework.

Read More

Affordable Upgrades and Seasonal Maintenance for Your Bike
Affordable Upgrades and Seasonal Maintenance for Your Bike

April 17, 2017

Spring has Sprung! If the bike is seeing a bit more attention than it has in the last few months, or maybe it has taken a bit of a beating with some winter riding, here are a few important and affordable things to upgrade your bike. Guaranteed to make an immediate and positive impact!

Read More

Vest Stands for Versatility! Five Reasons You Deserve One
Vest Stands for Versatility! Five Reasons You Deserve One

April 13, 2017

Whether you’re a year-round commuter, fair weather fan with an annual event, or a seasoned racer, the humble vest is a key component to any kit. Here’s why:

Read More

Find us on Google+