There’s no bad weather, just bad gear.
It’s that time of the year when free showers are expected from Mother Nature. Weather can be fickle here in Malaysia. Sometimes, there is unceasing rain.
No matter what weather it is, you should always be prepared to avoid feeling miserable when riding in wet clothes. We are good at handling sunny days. It is always challenging to ride in the wet, so safety always comes first. Here are what you can do while riding in the rain. You can also enjoy your rides in wet conditions.
Check Your Bike
Rain or shine, bike preparation is the most important before heading out for a ride. Especially in wet weather, water could sip into your bearings, cables, and other nooks. Make sure there is enough grease in the bearings. Movements on the bearings should be smooth. If it isn’t, it’s time to replace it or pack in some new grease.
Shifter cables, on the other hand, would feel quite sticky and heavy to shift when it’s all dirty and grimy inside from the deposits of dirt or perhaps rust. If it feels that way, by all means, replace them. There’s waterproof grease available around for bikes. Slap some on and ride on!
Stopping in the wet is tricky, and rain tends to wear out the brake pads pretty quick, especially riding when you are descending long windy roads. Check those pads and clean them frequently. Toss them and slide in a new pair if worn out.
The drive train is the most used part on the bike, so be sure to clean and lubricate it after every rainy ride. Brushing and de-greasing the chain before lubricating is the way best to remove dirt and grime off. Use wet weather chain lube as it tends to stay on the drive train better when it pours. And grease up every bolt to avoid rust. Removing rusted bolts is not something easy to do.
Anything creaky, sticky, slippery, and stuck means it’s into the bike clinic.
Practice some handling techniques
Some good handling techniques will ensure your happiness and also most importantly, keep you safe in possibly treacherous conditions.
Reducing tire pressure when it gets slippery is a great way to increase grip. Make it around 15 – 20psi lower from the usual tire pressure.
When approaching corners, always brake before you make that turn, so you can prevent your tires from locking up and avoiding a wipeout. Always control your speed and avoid any kind of hard braking.
During corners, always keep some weight at the front to increase tire contact on the ground. Have your outside pedal of the corner weighed down by keeping your foot down at 6 o’clock and the inner knee of the corner positioned at 12 o’clock to help give you better traction.
Always watch out for hazards like water puddles, painted lines, and rainbow-looking oil slicks. You will never know what’s underneath those puddles or what slipper stuff can do to you.
Drafting or following someone’s rear wheel close is very dangerous while cycling in the rain. Always keep a wheel’s distance from the person in front. It’s very easy to fall prey to sudden stopping and crashing out. Plus, being right where the tires sprinkle water from the road isn’t such a great way to hydrate.
Protect Your Head
Cycling caps or helmet visors will help shield your face and eyes from the hard-hitting rain.
Protect Your Eyes
Dirty water and eyeballs don’t mix, so get a decent pair of eyewear to protect your eyes from the water and dirt kicking up. It is always best to go for transparent lenses or yellow ones under the rain, as it might get kind of dark.
Wear Bright Clothing
Be seen when you ride by wearing bright clothes. Remember, you want to be noticed by other road users as rain can impair their sight in motor vehicles.
Get a Rain Coat / Windbreaker
Coat up! Get a good raincoat or windbreaker when it pours, as riding at speeds can give you the chills. And those with good ventilation can prevent yourself from turning into a steaming dim sum.
Get a Bicycle Light
Having blinkers on the front and rear is life-saving, as it will be your beacon of safety. It is highly recommended not to go cheap on lights, as good quality ones can make a big difference on being spotted bt blur or phone-addicted drivers.
Mudguards can be highly useful if you do not like your rear end to get splashed at and all soggy. They can be awkward to look at, but they will make you much more focused on the ride rather than the rear. You can always find out how to create DIY mudguards by referring to the Internet.