Living in San Diego is the closest most of us will get to paradise. With near perfect weather year-round and sunshine, it doesn't get much better! However even Southern California can be prone to a few wet spats every now and then.
Riding in the rain can be quite exhilarating. Rain can lead to a heightened cycling experience as more of your senses are engaged, however it can also make your day-to-day commute into a terrifying, frustrating endeavor if you’re not prepared. Here a couple of things you should know before riding in the rain:
Your chances of getting a flat increases.
Riding in the increases your chances of experiencing a puncture. The reason for this is the water can act as a lubricant for those tiny pieces of rock and or glass that may otherwise bounce off your tire. Likewise, small pieces of road debris tend to stick to wet rubber easier, so those same tiny pieces hang onto your wheel longer giving them extra time to dig in.
Suggestion: Purchase more flat-resistant tires with extra tread, the Specialized Armadillo All-Condition is an excellent option.
You’re going to get really, really dirty.
Riding in the rain tends to leave your bike as well as yourself extra dirty. This is because the rain can bring up oil residue that normally lays dormant on the tarmac, being kicked up onto your legs and hindquarters as your ride over it. A pair of fenders and or ‘Asssaver’ can help lessen the dirt (and help keep you dry).
Suggestion: For occasional rain riding, an Ass-Saver is an excellent investment. For regular riding in the rain a pair of fenders may be justified.
If you’re going to go out riding in the rain, you’ll want to layer up. Any article of clothing that gets wet is unlikely to dry and subsequent wind-resistance from riding can render your ride quite frigid. A water-resistant jacket over your regular jersey, booties, and or water-resistance bottoms are highly advisable if you’re planning a prolonged ride in the rain.
Suggestion: The Deflect Jacket from Specialized is an excellent and packable option. It is both wind and water-resistant, however it won’t survive a heavy downpour (why are you riding in a heavy downpour?). Booties are likewise recommended to prevent water pooling in your shoes.
Cycling caps aren’t just for hipsters. Cycling caps feature shorter brims than traditional covers and are perfect for wearing beneath a helmet. The cap will not only work to keep your head dry, but the brim will channel water away from streaming down your face which in a heavy rain can be quite blinding.
Suggestion: Choose a cap you’re likely to wear! I like these from Tenspeed Hero!