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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Riding in the Rain

It looks like summer's over and the wet season is upon us. I'm sure a lot of cyclists would be staying indoors. Some might even grow a conscience and do some spinning sessions on their trainers.

I can't blame them. The effects of the rain to one's bike is not negligible. For starters, it's going to be heavy on the pads if they're still using rim brakes. Shimano's multi-system (?) brake cartridges work relatively fine in wet weather but they don't last long. Another issue is water getting into the sealed areas of the bike. The performance of hubs, bottom brackets, headset and suspension systems are greatly compromised when water penetrates into their "sealed" bearings. This is when things start squeaking.

As for me, I love riding in the rain. I guess it brings back childhood memories. The feeling of having the rain in your face as you pedal somehow makes me forget how wet and dirty my butt is. Water in the trails or on the road makes me somehow be a better bike handler because it forces me to look for lines that will give my tires traction.

One need not be stuck at home when the rain comes. Here are some tips:

1. Wear eye protection with at least clear lenses. It's better than squinting at a 60 kilometer per hour-descent.

2. For trails with sticky mud, apply Pam's cooking spray (or any oily stuff, I guess) to the parts of your frame where mud normally get stuck.

3. If you're using twist-style shifters, wear gloves or risk being a single speeder for a day.

4. If your helmet doesn't have a visor, wear a cycling cap underneath your helmet. It helps in protecting your eyes from the rain.

5. Don't forget to drink. Cyclists usually forget to do this because of the cold weather. They only realize the need to drink when they're already thirsty, which is too late.

6. After a wet ride, at least dry your bike, especially your chain. If you can wash it first, then that would be better. When the chain is dry, don't forget to lube it.

7. Bring your bike to a bike shop for regreasing every now and then.

8. Be careful of riding on puddles or flooded areas as there can be an open manhole that will take you to kingdom come.

9. Wear a riding jacket or kapote.

10. When braking, do not attempt to do squeeze of death on your brake levers or you might lose traction. Try "feathering" them, instead.

11. If you're annoyed at the water spray from your tires getting into your face, consider installing good quality fenders.

12. You still get sunburns even if it's raining so don't forget to apply sunblock an hour before the ride.

If you have any tips that you'd like to share, please feel free to do so. Just click on the comment link below.

2 comments:

  1. From the trail going into the city streets, don't forget to arm yourself with a blinker.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks 2per santos for the tip! And put on lights and reflectorized clothing if possible. :)

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to write a comment or a message. You can also send me an email at jovan [at] bisikleta [dot] ph.

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