Coach's Corner - Rain Riding Safety
So here is the story: you've been looking forward to your weekend ride all week and the weekend rolls around and so do the rain clouds! No! What are you to do? What are the problems cyclists encounter when riding in the rain?
We know there are a lot of things to consider about riding in the rain. It's not just the water falling from the sky that's the issue, its really the water on the road that you should be paying attention to.
So lets start there, how to ride safely:
- Here in San Diego, Poway specifically, the home of Selle Anatomica it rarely rains. So the road surface accumulates oil and other chemicals from vehicles. If you can remember back to your driver school back in the day you know that the first 15 minutes following a rain storm are the most dangerous for all traffic on the road due to the oil rising on top of the newly fallen water. So if you are out and it starts to rain, be mindful that those initial 15 minutes are typically the most slick and most dangerous moments. Water on the road makes the road surface much more slippery, falling is much more likely, especially falling to the side.
- Here in Southern California potholes are a fact of life, as we are sure they are around the country and world. When it rains we can only see the top of the water gathered on the road. If you are in a heavy downpour water accumulation may hide the true depth of a pothole and can take a cyclist by surprise. Water may also hide a pavement crack where the left or right side is much higer waiting for the side of a wheel to strike it and thus causing a suden fall.
- Paint used to mark lanes and lane directions are also very slippery when wet.
- If you ride with glasses, the outside of your glasses are likely to continually have water and dirt splashing onto them. This can make seeing the road and vehicles very difficult.
- Drivers of motor vehicles are also less likely to see a cyclist during a rainstorm.
- Breaking for both cyclists and vehicles is diminished during rain so be cautious when coming to a red light or stop sign - give yourself plenty of space and time to slow down.
We should also mention here that a bicycle is not water tight. Water can accumulate on the seat post, headset or other areas and seep downward and enter the inside of the frame. Because this water is dirty and has chemicals mixed with it, it can cause problems with the bottom bracket and headset. Furthermore, the riders equipment: shorts, shoes, socks, etc can be damaged if not rated for riding in the rain. The bottomline is: when it rains you may want to consider taking the day off and not risk safety, health, or equipment. Instead you may use that day to check off the list other things that may require your attention like cleaning your bike!
To protect your Selle Anatomica saddle check out our waterproof kit. The kit offers a waterproof rain cover and saddle sauce, both of which are must have to protect the leather from water damage and ensure the saddle can be used for years to come.
Author: Coach Darryl MacKenzie