Riding in the rain

I carefully checked the weather forecast Saturday night, because it looked like we would be rained on again on Sunday morning. After a record hot summer, Central Texas has been drenched in rain over the last four days. And if it was raining Sunday, I wouldn’t be riding.

I sent out an e-mail blast to the club to advise them of that fact, and that if people did show up in the rain, I wouldn’t be there to lead the ride.

The forecast said 60 percent chance of rain. When I got up Sunday morning, the first thing I did was turn on the weather radar channel on TV. The area for a 60-mile radius was clear. I rode.

In fact, it was a terrific ride. My B group and the A group rode together for the first 10 miles. On one stretch of road through an upscale residential area, I almost hit 40 mph — and then a mile later, had to climb a killer hill.

I’ve never gotten up this hill without walking part way before, but I did today. While I rested with the others in the parking lot at the top, I felt exhilarated (between gasps for breath). If I had wimped out because of the rain, I would have missed that feeling.

On the last leg of our ride, a light mist fell, and on my short trip home from out post-ride gathering, a few raindrops pelted me.

Now that we’re coming into what passes for fall in Texas, there will be more rain to contend with. I don’t like riding in the rain. If it’s raining before I start my ride, I’ll scratch my ride plans and find something else to do.

But if it starts raining while I’m out riding, that’s a different story. I’ll just keep going. I might cut the ride short, if I’m in a position to do so, but that doesn’t happen often. So I just keep slogging along. The thing I dislike most about it is rain spotting my sunglasses. Vision can be seriously reduced when the glasses are awash with water.

How about you? Do you regularly ride in the rain? Any tips on handling it? Will you begin a ride in the rain, or do you wait, hoping it will clear up?


  1. mildstallion says

    To be honest – if it’s raining, I won’t start a ride. Part of why I ride is because it’s fun. I don’t consider a rain ride fun.

    That said, a passing shower on a hot day is welcome (just no thunder & lightning please). One thing I don’t like is finishing in the rain. A passing shower gives me and my bike time to dry off.

    Also (at least here in NY) toward this time of year, the rain can be very cold. You can only generate so much heat.

  2. says

    I don’t enjoy riding in the rain. It makes a mess of your bike, it’s dangerous, and if you’re in a group, you eat road spray. That being said, I’ll start a ride in the rain if I’ve made a commitment to a group. If I’m riding solo, I’ll put off the ride to another day.

  3. mattsj says

    I commute by bicycle in the UK – so I am at the mercy of the weather. I don’t mind the rain too much, but it’s not pleasant when it’s cold as well as wet. I find I just have to accept that I’ll get soaked, and look forward to changing at the office or home. Better than ice though: that can be tricky!

  4. Brian says

    I try to avoid riding because I don’t find it comfortable or fun. Though, when caught, I’ll stop and let some air out of my tires to try to increase traction.

  5. Les says

    I would rather ride in the rain then 105 degree temperatures.

    Yeah, the rain will make your bike dirty, but so does regular riding or if for some off chance, you do any other kind of riding besides weekend warrior rides (cyclocross and mountain) you’d have to clean your bike as well.

    Anytime I am on my bike, I enjoy it. I commute everyday by bike and I love the time I get to spend riding to and from work. I am not going to let a little rain stop me from enjoying my bike.

    If rain scares you to not ride, you’re not doing it right 😉

  6. says

    I’m a commuter in NC. As such my bike is set up for rain. Full fenders and my panniers are waterproof. Rain does not stop a ride. In fact, it the temps are over 70F, they make the ride more interesting. I don’t add rain gear at that temp, you get wet no matter what when it’s that warm. Rain wet smells better than sweat wet. From 70F down to about 45F, just add a rain jacket. Below 45F, add pants. Below 32F and we are talking a whole different ball game involving Finnish tires with metal studs.

  7. says

    I love riding in the rain. I’ve never not ridden because of the elements. Yes my bike will get dirty but it can be cleaned off fairly easily. In fact if I hose it down with my bottle right after it gets most of the grit and grime off it and it’s easier to clean later.

    Quite frankly I’m a little surprised at the lack of tough men in Texas and I think it is bred in the Texas school systems. When my kids come home I’ll ask how their day was, what they did, who they played with at recess. I’ve been quite shocked to learn that when it’s below 60 degrees they do not let the kids go outside for recess. If it is raining they do not let them go outside for recess, get the picture. Texas is soft.

    It’s character building to sit through the second part of the school day in wet pants and socks. And who can forget the smell of socks drying on the radiator?

  8. says

    I, too, prefer to wait if it’s raining. I don’t really mind getting wet, if it isn’t too cold out. But I do mind the loss of traction that wet roads can produce. But if I’m already out there, unless there’s lightning, I’ll just keep going.

  9. Jeffh says

    The day I did my first (impropmtu) century, we got drenched at about the 35-45 mile mark. Didn’t enjoy it at the time, but think it was actually a blessing in disguise, as it took the bite out of the August heat and humidity in Florida. I played it safe, so didn’t really worry about traction…but I did wonder what all those puddles were splashing up onto my water bottles!

  10. says

    I’ll ride in the rain (but not off road) as long as there’s no lightening. Riding off road in the rain turns into a big muddy, slippery suck-fest. I’ll stick to the veloway or S Mopac area on those days. Traction is not too big of an issue with 2+ inch knobbies, though I do slow down and take it careful on corners. I think I prefer 100+ degree days though.

  11. says

    Riding in the rain is one of my favorite activities. But, that might have something to do with living in an area that gets more than 300 days of sunshine, per year. Rain is a welcome change, some days.

  12. says

    I’ve never gotten up this hill without walking part way before, but I did today.

    Well done! A great feeling, isn’t it?

    As for riding in the rain, might I suggest clicking over to my bike commuting blog? The last two posts are bout riding in the rain. The author of the first post, ChipSeal, put forth some excellent tips.

  13. Ramon H says

    Just as many have said, I avoid riding with lightning and thunder, period. I don’t mind riding in the rain as it has happened before. But I just despise having to clean and re-lubricate the bike after.

    Cleaning the drivetrain on (2) road bike takes me several hours, and that is an activity I try to avoid if possible, ergo avoid the rain if possible :)

  14. says

    I’m a Seattle bike commuter. I ride in the rain all the time. Gear is important, as are the right tires (I am rocking the Schwalbe Marathon plus).

    We’re just starting to get into the rainy season (which lasts about 10 months). I’ve learned to be really careful while riding that first day of rain. Not only does it bring a lot of oils to the surface of the road, but I’m also more used to dry road conditions. You don’t want the bike to slide out from under you when you’re going down a steep hill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *