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Riding in wet weather

Sunday 11 October will see the return of Hit the Downs MTB, whether you are taking on the cool 30km or epic 80km route, here is everything you will need to get ready for the big day!


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Riding in wet weather

Though wet rides aren’t usually something we look forward to, we can certainly take steps to make them more enjoyable – and lessen any negative impact they might have.

Here’s a few tips to keep you comfy in the wet…

1. Invest in a good waterproof jacket

The most important item of clothing for battling the rain is a jacket. Not only will a good waterproof jacket keep your torso dry it will help you regulate your body temperature. A breathable material is essential so you don’t overheat.

2. Keep splash off with mudguards

They may not look great, and they may rattle, but they are essential. Mudguards will keep all that filthy water on the road off of your feet, lower legs and back (where un-guarded wheels will spray the water with carefree abandon).

Even if you miss the rain, the roads will remain wet. That (dirty) water then gets flicked up by the wheels and makes you wet and cold. A flap added to the front guard will give you even greater protection.

3. Wear overshoes and gloves

Water resistant overshoes are worth their weight in gold while gloves are a little harder to get right.

Your cycling gloves need to protect you without being so thick as to hamper your bike control as you still need to be able to feel the brakes and gears through all that material. However, many brands produce neoprene gloves which keep rain out and allow you to maintain dexterity.

4. Wear a cycling cap

Air vents in helmets are great in the heat, not so much in the rain. A cheap cycling cap worn under your helmet is a good barrier for your head, with the peak giving extra protection for your eyes against the spray.

5. Avoid standing water

Steer clear of it. Standing water not only gets you wet, it can be incredibly dangerous as you never know what’s lurking beneath. It might just be a puddle, but then it could be a wheel smashing pothole.

6. Check your tyres and reduce the pressure

Rain water washes all sorts of muck on to the roads, and when your tyres are wet they pick up more of it than usual.

Running your rubber at a slightly lower pressure – by 5 to 10 psi – increases your surface area, and thus grip on the road as well as comfort.

7. Utilise plastic bags

If you’re riding in very heavy or constant rain there is almost nothing that will keep your feet dry as water runs down your legs or gets in from underneath.
A cheap option to prolong that nice dry feeling in your feet is to slip a plastic bag over your socks, then your tights (if wearing them) pulled down over the bags, then finally your shoes and overshoes.

8. Use lights

Whether it’s the droplets of water on wing mirrors or a steamed-up windscreen, driving standards drop drastically in the rain. It is well worth making yourself more visible when it’s raining, even in the middle of the day.

Find out more on the Cycling Weekly website.

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