None of us can control the weather – unless you’re hiding some superpowers the world should know about?
Sadly, this can often throw a spanner in the works for our cycling plans.
One second you’re dressed up for a beautiful summer’s day, shorts and all, and the next the heavens have opened and you’ve got a tidal wave of rain to contend with.
It’s happened to all of us!
But it doesn’t always have to spell doom for you – whatever the weather conditions there are almost always moves you can make and precautions you can take to ensure you get the most out of your cycling experience and make it from A to B in one piece!
Here are just a few tips you might find useful:
Let’s face it: We should all be used to this one by now! Yet, it doesn’t make the sight of heavy rainfall any less depressing, does it?
Your standard lightweight waterproofs will keep you as dry as humanly possible, but won’t help with the riding process that much.
Luckily for you, the vast majority of bike wheels out there are well-equipped with plenty of good grip to handle some of the wettest conditions.
But this doesn’t mean you’re totally in the clear – water on the ground can sometimes make it difficult to tell the difference between surfaces, making it even more difficult to adjust your riding for your terrain.
The best option here is to take it slow & steady. Even though you may end up in the wet a little longer, if you ride with your brain in gear you should get to your location without any unnecessary tumbles.
And if the rain turns torrential, your best bet is to pull over under cover and wait out the worst of the storm.
Remember, you aren’t the only one on the road: in conditions like these, you’re also relying on the poor vision and driving ability of others.
Do the smart thing.
Sleet & Snow
Always a toughy, but far from impossible to deal with.
People have been cycling through snow on a regular basis as long as bikes have been around.
In fact, in countries like Switzerland where heavy snowfall is common in the winter months, you’ll always more than likely see somebody plowing their way through a fresh layer of icy powder.
Many people in climates like this opt for the classic studded tyre, or in extreme cases a Fat Bike. But what if you’re in a country where there’s not normally a demand for these tyres? They can be a little difficult to source, and could be a waste of money if you’re only going to be battling the snow for a day or two.
Solution? If you have one, break out the mountain bike.
Their heftier than usual frame and deeper-treaded tyres will help you combat the crunchy, slushy ground below.
Or, for a bit of an unorthodox solution, try letting some air out of your tyres to soften them up. Believe it or not, this will help them grip the snow a little better.
And as always, be sure to wear appropriate clothing. Surprisingly, you don’t want to wrap up in too many layers - your constant movement will keep you warm for the most part. So maybe add an extra thermal layer beneath or over your usual cycling gear. But nothing too crazy.
The last thing you need is to overheat in the middle of a snowstorm. How ironic would that be?!
Ideally, you’ll want to avoid cycling in bad winds if possible, especially if we’re talking gale force numbers, but there are a few things that could help you avoid total disaster.
Firstly, the more surface area you cover, the more likely you are to be toppled, so be sure to ride low with your head down and stick to tight-fitted clothing. Nothing too baggy or anything that’s likely to get caught in a gale, like hoods.
Try riding in a lower gear, too – this will help you keep your legs moving and help you keep a lower base.
And, if you can, always ride with the wind, not directly into it. This is especially important if you’re riding alone.
Riding against the wind is a good way to find yourself thrown off with an injury, and you’ll want somebody close by if this happens.
Thunder & Lightning
The absolute safest option when it comes to cycling in thunder and lightning is… DON’T.
If you think a storm is brewing, check the weather before you leave.
Is it on its way? Then stay indoors.
But, if you’re unlucky enough to get caught when lightning strikes, here’s what you should do…
First off, you should look for shelter in a nearby building or under a sturdy structure of some description. But DO NOT seek shelter under trees – if lightning hits, the current in the tree and the ground around you might actually cause you more damage.
However, if there is no suitable shelter whatsoever (and no vehicles you could flag down for assistance) then finding the lowest possible ground and crouching is the best option.
It might not be the most pleasing, but it will decrease your chances of getting struck.
Sunshine & Heat
Not that we’re used to particularly hot temperatures in the UK, but in countries like Spain you can expect much hotter temperatures than you might be used to, which is why it’s important you update your cycling routine accordingly.
Start off by wearing light, breathable clothing – your skin needs to breathe just like you, and it can’t do this if it’s covered in heavy clothing.
Next, you’ll want to be sure you’re keeping hydrated with cool, refreshing water. Water is absolutely the best choice to keep yourself healthy and moving during exercise, especially something as physically demanding as cycling. Keep an easy-to-reach bottle nearby at all times.
If you can, cycling during the times of day at which the heat will be the least effective, these being early morning (sunrise) or late evening (sunset).
Oh, and if you’re worried about developing a funky tan line, be sure to be liberal with the sun cream!
On your next cycling holiday you hopefully won’t have to deal with any of these conditions.
But, with these tips, at least you’re well equipped to deal with them!
At Freewheel Holidays we have plenty of amazing cycling holidays ready to blow you away!