Floridians may be lucky in the sense that they rarely experience the cold and snow of the north, but winter does bring wetter weather to deal with. For people who are used to commuting by bicycle or riding for pleasure, the onslaught of wet weather can be depressing. The good news for you, if you are one of these bicycle riders, is that there are ways you can ride in the rain safely.
If you typically put your wheels up when the weather takes a turn for the worse, we have some tips for you that may keep you riding all winter long. Read on to discover how you can be pedaling through the season.
One of the most important things you can do for your health is to dress for the weather. The wetter you get, the colder you get. Keep that in mind. Wear a waterproof shirt or vest underneath a rain jacket. Wool socks are your best bet, and cover your shoes with waterproof booties. Choose clothing that breathes so that you aren’t wet from sweat inside your clothes.
When you ride on a sunny day, normal sunglasses are just fine. When riding in the rain, choose clear or yellow-tinted lenses. These will keep the rain out of your eyes without cutting down on too much light.
We aren’t talking about rainbows in the sky, but rainbows on the pavement. Oil slicks will have a rainbow-like edge. These slicks should be avoided if at all possible. If you have to ride through one, stop pedaling and coast without applying the brakes. Metal street coverings, bridges and any pavement markings could be slippery in the rain. Watch out for them.
Your car needs new brake pads occasionally and so does your bike. If you’ve had your bicycle for a while and haven’t thought about checking your brake pads, do it now. Even if you put new pads on, know that it will take them longer to work in the wet weather. Plan on this and brake sooner than you normally would.
When cornering, you may have to adjust your body a bit differently than you are used to. If you want to keep up your speed, corner by leaning your body more than your bicycle. Keep the bike as upright as possible. This will allow you to take a corner at greater speeds, despite the wet roads.
You may not normally ride with fenders on your bike, but they should be installed during the rainy season. It takes riding on one rain-soaked street to realize why you need them. You don’t have to spend hundreds to modify your bike. Clip-on fenders will do.
You lubricate your chain regularly because you know you should. You may not know that you should use a heavier lube in the wet weather. Goop the lube on the chain — don’t be shy. Make sure that the chain is dry when you apply the lube so that it penetrates into the links.
Don’t just hop on your bike and go. Tell a few people that you plan on riding. Stick to a route and let someone know the exact path you will be taking. Make a plan on check in with that person periodically so they know you are okay. If they don’t hear from you, they should know to call for help.
No bike rider should be without lamps in the wet weather. An LED light on the front and a flashing one on the back of your bicycle will ensure that you are seen by others on the road. These lights are fairly inexpensive and can be bought almost anywhere. Consider clipping one to your helmet as well.
This suggestion certainly isn’t for everyone. If you are a serious commuter and you have the money, a dedicated rain bike is a good investment. You can leave the fenders and lights on, have a special lube and even better pedals on this bike. You won’t have to change anything out once the weather turns better.
The dangers of riding in the rain cannot be eliminated altogether, but there are certainly things you can do to keep yourself safer. Follow the tips above to not only keep yourself safe in the rain, but healthy as well.
If you are injured in a bicycle accident in West Palm Beach, reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys. We will review the details of your accident and help you make the best decisions moving forward. We are here to protect your legal rights and secure you the compensation you deserve. Call today to schedule your case evaluation.