Have you ever woken up really excited to go on a ride, but it was raining? It is a bummer when you have to cancel a biking trip due to the weather. Rain poses several dangers for mountain bikers.
You will have less control over your vehicle which makes braking difficult. There might be hidden potholes under puddles of water, which can lead to tripping accidents. Rainwater might also corrode the chains of your bike, causing them to rust or seize.
However, riding in the monsoon weather can also be enjoyable. Follow these helpful tips to safely go mountain biking in the rain.
1. Prepare your bike
If you enjoy mountain biking, you should already have a bike that can handle mountain biking under rainy conditions. If you don’t have one already or are looking for an upgrade, Specialized is where you should be looking. It’s the best place for all sorts of stylish and advanced bikes.
Once you get your bike, it is vital to have your bike ready in advance for a rainy day. Get the front and back fitted with mudguards. They will prevent mud from flying everywhere, especially in areas that are difficult to clean.
Muddy surfaces create less traction between your tires and the path. Take out 10psi from your tires for more contact with the road. Lower tire pressure gives a better grip on wet trails.
Longer spikes also reduce the possibility of mud clogging the tires which forces you to a stop.
2. Prepping Your Shoes for the Rain
Mountain biking shoes can take ages to dry. This might delay your next ride. However, there is a way to prevent them from getting soggy.
Duct tape can be your savior. Take a piece of the tape and lay it across the front of your shoes over the laces. Do the same to the sole of your shoe. This will create a water-proof layer on either side and stop water from soaking the insides.
Soggy insoles are not just uncomfortable during the ride but will also develop bad odor over time.
3. Invest in a Waterproof Jacket
Staying dry and warm in the harsh mountain weather is crucial. Cycling in the cold with soggy clothes on can be dangerous.
According to research, exercising makes it more difficult to detect drops in core body temperature in a cold environment.
You want a jacket that is water-resistant and windproof while still allowing air circulation. There are low-budget coats available in the market, but for full protection, there is no substitute for quality.
Wear thinner layers of t-shirt underneath that absorbs moisture from the skin. Carry an extra pair of shirts and shorts for a quick change.
Protect yourself from hypothermia by investing in a high-quality jacket.
4. Choose the Trail Surface Carefully
Mountain bikers love to take on the challenge of a difficult trail. However, a rainy day is not ideal to go exploring. Pick a path that is familiar to you for easier navigation.
It is best to avoid soft soil or clay surfaces that become slippery in the rain. Trees, on the other hand, act as natural umbrellas and windshields. Bike in densely packed forest during a downpour. Approach the roots gently at a perpendicular angle to avoid collisions.
Rock- or slate-based areas erode the least during rainfall and are more predictable to ride on. It is generally a safer trail to go mountain biking in the rain.
5. Keep Your Vision Clear
Rocky trails on a mountain are difficult to navigate in the rain. Having a clear vision is essential for hurdling obstacles.
Wear a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes from rain, fog, and spitting mud. Give them a squeaky clean before the trip. The terrain is likely to be covered in mud puddles and potholes which require your clear vision to maneuver.
Spray your glasses with a heavy layer of anti-fog products to prevent them from fogging on rainy mountain trails.
6. Control Your Speed
Since it will be damp, cold, and windy if you go mountain biking in the rain, you should ride slower than normal.
A slower speed will enable you to cross the muddy terrain smoothly, without tire slippage. Take each turn carefully to avoid sudden changes in direction.
Dashing a curve swiftly will cause you to lose control of your bike. You will end up with more mud on yourself than you desire if you pick up unwarranted speed at the turns.
Give yourself extra time to brake and slow down to get a better grip on the wet trails.
7. Keep an Eye on the Weather
It is devastating when you wake up early in the morning to go riding on your favorite trail and end up soaking wet. However, later in the afternoon, the sky becomes pristine.
This is when you become a weather watcher. Observe your local weather reports and download a well-reputed app to track the percentage of rainfall, wind force, and other important details for the ride.
Check the day before to make a definitive plan. You can be prepared even if the downpour is unavoidable.
8. Make the Ride Short
Cycling has amazing benefits, including being a healthy form of exercise and an eco-friendly mode of transport. Off-road biking is even more exciting for regular cyclists.
While it is easy to lose track of time while you are doing the thing you love, it is wise to ride for a shorter period of time during the rain.
A rainy day is not a good time to explore new terrain. You might get lost or stuck in mud puddles. Choose a path you have frequented. Prolonged riding time will allow you to soak in the rain for even longer, increasing the likelihood of an accident and hypothermia.
Ride through a shorter, familiar trail to avoid staying in the cold weather for too long.
9. Clean Your Bike Afterward
Biking on a muddy surface causes mud and debris to get stuck within the gears of your cycle. It is disastrous for the longevity of the vehicle. If you have invested in a high-quality mountain bike, cleaning it is the simplest form of care.
Start the cleaning immediately after the ride, while the mud is still wet. Do not blast the bearing and suspension seals with water. Dry each individual part with a towel to avoid rusting.
While you are outside, clean your waterproof suit with the hose before the mud has a chance to dry on your clothes.
10. Embrace the experience
Riding through the mountain trails is a form of exercise for the mind and body. You can feel your stress wash away, especially during a downpour.
Embrace the rain and do not stress about the ride. You will get wet and muddy, but it will be a new adventure to add to your experiences. Focus on the balance of your bike instead of the falling rain.
Carry a couple of hand warmers for emergencies. It will keep the body warm in low temperatures.
The ride might get bumpy but the experience is second to none.
Rain makes the mountain terrains muddy and cools the weather. However, there is no need to cancel your biking trip. Prepare your bike and other gears in advance to protect it from mud and debris. Wear a waterproof windbreaker to fight the cold, rainy weather. Carry an extra change of clothes and safety goggles. Take a short ride through a trail you are accustomed to. Use the brake often and turn the curves carefully.
Clean the bike as soon as you return and do not forget to enjoy your mountain biking trip in the rain.