How to reduce your risks when cycling in the rain

  • Living
  • Saturday, 27 Aug 2022

When it rains, wearing a helmet (ideally with a visor), and a waterproof helmet cover, is highly recommended. Photo: AFP

While fair-weather bicycling is enjoyable, there's no reason why you can't continue to use this form of transportation even when weather is poor and it's raining.

Practising a bit of maintenance and a lot of caution are usually enough in order to cycle safely in the rain.

Check your equipment

Before setting out to cycle in the rain, it's important to check the condition of your tires and brakes.

Experts advise lowering the pressure of your tires a little (about 1 bar) in order to give them more grip on the ground.

If possible, it's better to use tires specially designed for rain, which better shed surface water and help avoid the phenomenon of aquaplaning.

You should also check that your lights are in good condition to ensure that you can see perfectly between drops.

Finally, consider installing mudguards, in order to protect yourself from splashes of water and mud generated by the wheels.

If you're riding an electric bike and are worried about its components, don't worry: Most of the batteries are thoroughly waterproof. However, once the bike is parked, it is better to remove them and put them back in place once the rain has passed.

Wear the right gear

When it rains, wearing a helmet (ideally with a visor), and a waterproof helmet cover, is recommended more than ever, as the risk of falling is greater.

A cyclist's equipment should also include, if possible, a poncho and muffs, as well as waterproof overpants or a rain skirt and gloves, for getting a firm grip on handlebars.

Ride with care

It's also essential to adapt your riding style and technique to weather conditions. When it rains, it's more important to anticipate actions you may need to take, starting with braking, which should always be done gently and over longer distances than usual – never abruptly.

In order to be constantly on your guard, adopt a reduced speed.

Finally, it's key to avoid risky surfaces as much as possible, such as white lines, dead leaves and manhole covers.

In the event of a thunderstorm, strong wind or heavy rain, it is best to take a break and take cover. – AFP Relaxnews

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