Traveling by bicycle is as close as you can get to the concept of freedom on the road because it leaves room for improvisation, changes of route and ideas. However, one cannot forget that a spirit of adaptation is needed; in fact, the unexpected is always just around the corner. The contingency we are talking about today is meteorological: rain, which can come suddenly. We leave here some useful tips for dealing with it while traveling by bicycle.
Choosing items to take on a trip is important. To avoid getting soaked, consider having the rightclothing with you that meets two characteristics: waterproof and breathable. There is a wide selection of technical garments that meet these needs, in every price range. A rain set, including everything from helmet to shoes, that covers well, doesn’t make us sweat and protects us from the elements will make every cycle-ride more comfortable. The mantra “wear several layers of clothing” always remains valid so that we can modulate the degree of protection we want to have but, remember that having a waterproof outer garment with us is essential.
To prevent rain-soaked wheels from raising water and getting mud all over the bike and luggage, and most importantly, getting mud all over your back, mud flaps can be very useful. On more modern travel and gravel bikes, there is plenty of space to install them and keep them attached to the frame at all times, however, it is also possible to choose detachable/extendable fenders that can be mounted if needed.
On the other hand, if we want to protect the components and avoid oxidation and premature wear and tear, we need to think about this before departure. Then remember to lubricate the mechanical parts of the bike with suitable greases (copper for threads, lithium for bearings) that protect against rain runoff. You also need to have a protective film of oil suitable for wet weather on the chain to keep it running smoothly even in rainy weather. If possible, take a packet of chain lubricant with you so that you can take action even while traveling.
There are so many types of bags and the choice is subjective, from classic
on the rack, to bikepacking on the frame through solutions that also take advantage of the front fork. In any case, when traveling by bike, the goal should be to keep things dry in case of rain, sudden or otherwise. How to do it? One option is to opt for waterproof luggage (more expensive and high-performance) while the other is to equip non-waterproof bags with rain covers. Of course, a mix of bags is also permissible waterproof bags (e.g., the front handlebar one with personal items and food) and other traditional bags. The important thing is to keep things in the bags well separated from each other, such as in airtight plastic bags, balancing the load so that you have the ability to take action in case of rain without getting your clothes and everything else wet.
How to ride in the wet
It is neither difficult nor dangerous, but care must be taken because water can hide road pitfalls such as potholes, so certain aspects must be taken into consideration:
- Focus. Always look in front of you, be aware of the road (don’t spy on your smartphone!), because slippery pavement and poor visibility can create problems.
- Obstacles. Avoid manholes and potholes. The former are slippery and could cause you to fall off, in the latter especially on a slippery road or muddy dirt road, the bike could “plant itself.” Slow your pace and dodge obstacles, give us a listen.
- Brakes. When braking, avoid extreme pinching; instead of braking suddenly, give small taps to the brake, alternating front and rear. You will stop at the same time and in the same amount of space but avoid blocking the wheels.
In conclusion, don’t be surprised by the rain! If you act in advance with the right tricks you will be able to enjoy even riding under water without getting wet and keeping your luggage dry.