How to Handle Rainy Bicycle Travel | 511 Contra Costa

How to Handle Rainy Bicycle Travel

When it rains we are often advised to stay dry. However, with rainy days ahead this is not necessarily a reason to stow away the bicycle if it is your main mode of transportation. While rain complicates bicycle travel, with a little preparation you can take to two wheels and stay dry, and safe. Here are some tips to make bicycling in the rain more pleasant:
Ride with fenders: Perhaps the most important piece of gear to have fitted onto your bicycle when cycling in the rain. Why? Well if you have ever plowed through a puddle or cycled on wet pavement you may know that doing so without fenders is an almost guaranteed way to find yourself with splash marks on yourself. Fenders can be fitted onto almost any kind of bicycle and are a simple, cheap purchase at most local bike shops. Many fenders are also easy to attach and remove and need not be permanently fixed onto your bicycle.
green bike, front wheel
Photo credit: postbear eater of worlds
Wear a rain jacket or cape: A typical, light-weight rain jacket can do a good job of keeping you dry on your bike ride. A rain cape or poncho can be a little more effective than a rain jacket and protect your legs from the rain as well.
biking in the rain
Photo credit: Calinago
Wear rain pants: In addition to a good rain jacket or rain cape, for extra measure a pair of rain pants can be worn over your pants for the day to stay dry.
Does my helmet, poofy jacket, and rain pants over my jeans make me look like a dork?
Photo credit: Ruth Lozano
Wear rain legs: Similar to rain pants, rain legs are a little more minimal and offer protection from the elements where it is needed most, the upper legs. These may be ideal for less harsh, but still wet conditions.
Photo credit: Vik Banerjee
Light up: Lights are always a good idea for cycling in the rain to be more visible, but not all lights are created equally. While many bike lights are waterproof or water resistant, make sure to check to see if your lights are– consult the box they came in, online, or your local bike shop.
bike light
Photo credit: Markus Schöpke
Helmet cover: If wearing a helmet, you may wonder how to keep your head dry with all those vent holes on the top of your helmet. The vent holes are designed to keep your head cool under dry conditions, and that’s a great feature, but you don’t want your head getting wet when traveling in the rain. A waterproof helmet cover fixes this problem in a snap, covering the vent holes and keeping the head dry.
Dot, Beth, and Greg test ride a Bakfiets
Photo credit: Greg Raisman
Don’t forget a seat cover: Once you arrive at your destination you don’t want your seat to get wet. If you have to park your bike and leave it exposed to the rain you can keep your seat dry by putting on a seat cover. While seat covers are made specifically for the purpose of being fitted onto a bicycle seat, a simple plastic bag (without tears!) can work fine as well. And when the seat cover is not in use it can be tucked underneath your seat.
seat cover
Photo credit: Matthew Ireland
With these items you should be ready to ride, but  if you need inspiration for soldiering on through the rain, have a look at this video of bicycle rush hour in the rain from The Netherlands

Video credit: Mark Wagenbuur

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