Cycling in the wet is probably one of the most difficult weather conditions to cycle in, physically and mentally. Getting wet is firstly uncomfortable and should you stop for any length of time in wet clothing you can get cold quickly. However, a few easy things to remember will make the whole experience less unpleasant.
Firstly, spend as much as you can on quality waterproof jackets and trousers, in my experience all clothing will let in water at some point but good brands will slow that process up. It is also important that the clothing is breathable, if the jacket doesn’t breathe then you will just get as wet from perspiring in the jacket as from the rain outside. Brands like Gore-Tex are very good but there are also other manufacturers as well. My advice would be to shop around and spend as much as you can afford.
Feet are also important, and you can buy waterproof overshoes, these make a big difference as cold wet feet aren’t great for morale. In an emergency, thin plastic bags over your socks inside your shoes are a good option.
On your bike, mudguards are an absolute must. You can get just as wet from spray coming up from the road as you can from rain coming down from the sky. You will see after a big rainstorm and the rain has stopped but the roads are still wet – without mudguards, you will also get a soaking!
Got caught in the rain?
I advise if you can avoid the rain then do so. Maybe look at your weather app and you can see the current shower will be over in 20 minutes then have another coffee and stay dry.
If you have to cycle in the rain, there are two key points;
- Stay positive and try not to stop mid-ride. Positivity is hugely important, if you tell yourself, it is horrible cycling in the rain, and you’d rather be doing anything else chances are you will get off.
- Keeping going, once you stop for any length of time whilst wet or damp you will soon get cold. This is not only uncomfortable and unpleasant, but chances are that you will end up with a chill as well.
If you have to go out in very wet weather and get very damp, then if it is possible to change into some dry clothing do so, especially undergarments that are close to your skin. This will ensure that your core temperature does not plummet and will help you warm up quicker.
When you are carrying personal items with you, the key is to wrap them up in plastic. I would suggest that you always keep a small plastic bag in your bike bag for your phone and money at the very least. Water will get in everything if it can, and it will cause a lot of damage quickly.
In summary, get the best clothing you can afford, mudguards are a lifesaver and if you can avoid the rain then do so!