Your Mantra (Wet Weather Riding For Cyclists)

Things to remember when riding in the wet:

  • Painted lines on roads can be very slippery.
  • All iron work on roads can be very slippery – drain covers etc.
  • If you’re not totally sure how deep that puddle is, don’t risk just ploughing in to it.
  • Remember, the politicians have decided to spend your money on keeping their friends the bankers in bonuses, so the country’s infrastructure is rotting. A lot of puddles are concealing pot-holes.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid puddles or water-logged pot-holes without looking behind you. (Not that you ever should swerve blindly.)
  • Your brakes don’t work as well as they might, especially not in the first instance you apply them. (Once they’ve cleared the water from the rims they often bite just as well as in the dry; be careful you don’t over-do it and they don’t then snatch.)
  • Even if/when your brakes are working, the issue is more likely to be grip on the road. In the dry it’s easy to make a bike skid because you’ve such little rubber in contact with the road; in the wet it is very, very easy. When you’re skidding, you’re accelerating.
  • (Tyre tread on a bike on the road is pretty irrelevant: the role of tread on car tyres is to shed water and prevent aqua-planing; you are very unlikely to ever go fast enough to aqua-plane on a bike! If anything, less tread means more grip – just like slick tyres on racing cars.)
  • Motorists’ visibility may be obscured – don’t assume they’ve seen you. (Not that you ever should make that assumption.)
  • For some strange reason, traffic often speeds up in wet weather. Allow for people responding to what I imagine is some primal urge to get home quickly, even though  they’re in a dry car.
And finally, remember your mantra! Take your pick. ‘I am not a sugar lump; I will not dissolve in the rain’ is pretty good. ‘Oil will make my chain better; the bearings are all sealed’ can be a comfort too.