When it’s raining and pouring outside, your first instinct may be to stay warm and dry inside – and in the event, you need to head out to work or school, you’ll probably find yourself getting straight into your car rather than travelling by bike.
The downside to this is that you won’t get to enjoy riding your bike, as well as the poor impact your vehicle’s emissions will have on the environment and the costs of driving compared to cycling.
But would cycling to work in the rain really be so unpleasant? As it turns out, many cyclists are willing to ride their bikes come rain or shine. It’s time to clear up the myths about cycling in bad weather!
Myth 1: You’ll be left with soaked through clothes.
Well, we’ll admit that can happen if you don’t plan ahead. It’s very possible that you’ll end up dripping wet after your bike ride if you’re not wearing the correct clothes. But, if you’re dressed in the proper manner, you can simply take off your wet outer layers – revealing your clean and dry clothes underneath.
Ideally, you’ll need a good, high-quality waterproof coat. This will keep you dry during your journey. You can also purchase trousers in the same fabric that will go over what you’re already wearing – keeping your inner layers dry.
Just in case you’re caught in the rain while improperly dressed for the bad weather, you could always consider keeping a waterproof poncho or foldable jacket in your cycling bag.
As you can see, there are several ways you can keep the rain off you as you cycle, so you won’t necessarily have to deal with soaking wet clothes.
Myth 2: You won’t be able to see.
While it’s true that your visibility will be compromised due to bad weather, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see at all in most cases.
You can easily purchase LED lights for your bike that will light up your path during your journey. These can come in the form of headlights to ensure you can see where you’re going, as well as red, flashing real lights that ensure other people on the road (and pedestrians) can see where you are.
By ensuring your bike is properly lit, you’ll find you can see much clearer no matter what the weather is like – and stay safer too.
However, if you step outside and feel like it really is too difficult to see clearly, we do recommend finding an alternative method of transport to be on the safe side. It’s always better to be cautious than to find yourself in a dangerous situation.
Myth 3: Riding in the wet weather will be dangerous.
It is easy to assume that riding your bike during any wet weather will be dangerous, but this will depend on each scenario.
Providing you’re up to date on bike maintenance, own the proper protective clothing such as a helmet and padding and have good quality tires fitted on your bike, you should be safe and stable enough to head out in most conditions.
You should also ensure your bike’s brake pads are healthy and not in need of replacement, as they’re proven to wear down quicker during the rain due to moisture and road grit.
Myth 4: You’ll get dirty and ruin your work clothes.
If you’re worried you’ll ruin your clothes during your commute to work, you just need to take a few extra precautions. Another benefit of wearing outer layers to stay dry is that the clothes underneath them will stay clean.
Another thing to consider is a fender, which is designed to prevent excess mud from spraying up and around you.
The combination of these two precautions should be enough to keep you presentable for the day ahead.
Myth 5: Bikes aren’t designed for that kind of weather.
You may think that bikes aren’t meant to be used in bad weather, but the truth is – they are! Here are some points to consider:
- You can’t predict the weather, so it’s almost certain that cyclists will get caught in the rain with their bike at some point.
- Cycling events are not called off due to rain or bad weather – unless of course, the weather provides a danger to the cyclists.
- If you’re really concerned or feel that your current bike isn’t up to the challenge, you may want to look for a new, sturdy model that’s suited to all weather and terrain.
While these five myths are based on valid problems that may occur for any cyclist, it’s easy to see how you can overcome them and ensure cycling can be enjoyed (or at least tolerated) in any weather condition.
When to avoid travelling by bike.
While there are certainly ways around all of the above problems, there are still times when you should probably leave your bike at home. These include:
- During periods of very poor visibility.
- During weather warnings for strong winds or storms.
- When there is ice that could be dangerously slippery to ride on.
- During the effects of any natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.
As long as you use some common sense and good judgement and ensure you avoid these dangerous scenarios, riding your bike during a bit of rain shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Do you ride your bike in bad weather? If so, it might be time to make a change and consider giving all-weather cycling a chance. We’re sure you’ll get used to it in no time!