Face the elements without fear while training
Muddy trails, giant puddles and greasy, gritty roads... Wet weather brings plenty of cycling challenges, but you don’t need to let them interfere with your Ford RideLondon training! Read our wet weather cycling guide so you’re ready to deal with whatever the elements may throw at you.
Lower your tyre pressure
If wet weather is forecast, adjust your bike’s tyre pressure. Reducing tyre pressure to around 90psi will slow you down (not a bad thing when it’s wet) and create a bigger tyre ‘footprint’ – meaning more grip on slippery surfaces. Check your tyre treads are free from detritus and, if your wheels have carbon rims, consider using carbon-specific brake pads, or at least allow more time for braking.
Tip: if cycling long distances in wet weather, carry some spare such as inner tubes and a pump in case of a puncture.
Keep yourself dry
Unless you’re happy to be splattered in mud and dirty water – and some of us are! – mudguards and flaps will protect your legs and bottom while you ride. Mudguards also protect people around you from the splatter factor, so any riding buddies will likely thank you for using them. Some cycling clubs even insist that those without mudguards stick to the back of the pack.
Protective waterproof protective clothing for cycling in the rain is a must – and you can check out our guide to gear for the lowdown on what you need.
A helmet obviously stop your head getting soaked, but for extra comfort and protection you could also pop a cycling cap on under it, particularly if your helmet has vents that can let in rain – the cycling cap’s peaked front will channel water away from your face. Wear a lightweight scarf or snood to prevent that diverted water from trickling down your neck.
At the opposite end of your body, waterproof cycling shoes or boots and socks can keep that dreaded trenchfoot feel at bay – or slip some water-resistant covers over your regular shoes.
Save your saddle!
Don’t forget that if need to leave your bike in the rain, even for a few minutes, cover the seat – a damp undercarriage can cause saddle sores, so ignore this advice at your peril! Keep your belongings dry too with a waterproof bag, panniers or a secure rain cover.
Tip: wrap anti-slip tape, which can be found in most hardware store, to your handles and brake levers.
Be safe and seen
Wet weather often means low light levels – especially in autumn, winter and early spring. Bike lights are essential for staying safe when cycling.
Fixing lights to the front and back of your bike mean you’ll be able to see where you’re going and, crucially, other road users will be more likely to see you – wearing a reflective tabard or high-vis vest can also help with this. If the weather’s being unpredictable, it’s also a good idea to keep a pair of flashing LED lights on you in case of a sudden deterioration in conditions.
On the subject of sight, cycling glasses will help keep rain, spray and grit from other vehicles out of your eyes.
Remember: if cycling after dark, you’re required by law to have front and rear lights as well as reflectors.
Adapt to wet cycling conditions
As hinted at above, wet weather is not the time to go for your road record – reduce your cycling speed as the rain starts to fall. A big cause of crashes when riding in wet weather is braking too hard on bends, so adjust your technique and take turns wider and more slowly than you usually would – ideally brushing the brakes before entering the turn.
Once turning on your bike, go for the widest line, cutting across the apex so you’re close to the inside, then exit wide and go for more grip by pushing down with your outside foot to shift your weight.