Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-12-07, 08:07 PM   #1
FS1974JH
Scot-Irish American
Thread Starter
 
FS1974JH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: UC
Bikes: Magna Night Hawk 2000
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Riding in the rain any tips?

Hey guys and gals,

As you all know, I am completly car free. I ride about 60 miles a week if not more. It's been very rainy here in south Texas recently, and its just started up again. Does anyone have any tips about safely riding in (some rain). (light rain?).

I have a orange rain poncho that folds up real small that protects my clothes, but what about safety on the bike. I average at around 8-12 miles per hour riding on the street. If I fall over in the rain I could not only get hit by a car, but hurt from the fall.

My bike has had new tubes and the actual rubber tires replaced. The inner tape around the inside of the rims have been replaced and double or even triple wrapped. The tires seem to be pretty safe and will last about as long as the old ones did (and the old ones we're horrible).

I would feel more comfortable riding on the sidewalk during rainy times, is that illegal? I dont recall it being illegal to ride on the sidewalk but Im not sure.

Anyone know that?

And any suggestions?
FS1974JH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 08:17 PM   #2
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Bikes:
Posts: 23,385
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I probably ride a tiny bit slower in the rain, but bikes are actually quite steady on wet pavement.

Like you said, a lot depends on the tires. Slick treads are probably better than knobbies on wet asphalt, but that's just my impression. I don't know if actual tests have been done. Since you ride a road bike, I imagine you have non-treaded or slick tires.

Another issue is keeping your stuff dry. I prefer backpacks for carrying things, but they're not waterproof like good messenger bags are. Most panniers and luggage bags seem to let in some water too. I usually put things in plastic bags inside my backpack. A couple times I've put a plastic bag over the backpack too. Camping and hiking ponchos also are designed to cover a backpack.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 08:51 PM   #3
MrCjolsen
Senior Member
 
MrCjolsen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Davis CA
Bikes: Surly Cross-Check, '85 Giant road bike (unrecogizable fixed-gear conversion
Posts: 3,957
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Slick treads are safer. Not just your impression, but a proven fact. In the rain, you want the widest slick tires that will fit on your bike. The reason is that they have a greater contact patch than skinny tires due to their lower pressure. Any tread reduces the contact patch on a bicycle tire. Cars have tread to keep from hydroplaning. Bikes don't hydroplane, so they don't need tread.

I said you want the widest tires that will fit on your bike. That means two things. Rim width and frame clearance. Sheldon Brown has a chart on this page that will tell you what tire widths work on your rims. You want the widest.

Slipping is the least of your worries riding in the rain. Just take turns a little slower than you normally would, and try not to ride on painted lines - they are very, very slippery.

The biggest safety issues riding in the rain are as follows:

1. Your own braking and stopping distance. Unless you have disc brakes on your bike, it will be longer. Koolstop salmon pads work well.
2. Seeing and being seen. Orange poncho great idea. Orange is good in the rain because it contrasts with the general greyscale of a gloomy day. Run lights in the rain. Especially rear. Use one solid light and one blinky.
3. The stopping distance of cars. Less of an issue if you are seen.

STAY OFF THE SIDEWALK. Cars can't see you. Cement is more slippery than asphalt.
MrCjolsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 09:14 PM   #4
Blossom
Senior Member
 
Blossom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Flagstaff, AZ
Bikes:
Posts: 204
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
One more thing, paint on the road (white lines, etc) are much slicker in the rain. If you are going to take a digger in the rain, 9 times out of 10 it will be because of the paint stripes.
Blossom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 09:22 PM   #5
kf5nd
Senior Member
 
kf5nd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Houston, TX 77095
Bikes: Specialized Sequoia Elite, Schwinn Frontier FS MTB, Centurion LeMans (1986)
Posts: 1,470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Get fenders for your bike
kf5nd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 09:30 PM   #6
Newspaperguy
Senior Member
 
Newspaperguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Bikes:
Posts: 2,206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Visibility is important. If motorists can see you, they can avoid you, especially if you happen to take a fall. That's why lights are so important in rain and poor visibility.

Your orange poncho is also good since it's a bright colour. I have a reflective vest which I'll put over my jacket in rain or other poor visibility conditions. If you're using a backpack, you can get a reflective orange and yellow triangle which fits onto the pack. Again, this will help make you more visible to motorists.

Do you find motorists give you a little more room when you're out in the rain? I ask this because I've noticed they tend to give me quite a bit more room if I'm riding in snowy conditions or in rough weather than if I'm riding on a sunny summer day.
Newspaperguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 09:33 PM   #7
ken cummings
Senior Member
 
ken cummings's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: northern California
Bikes: Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
Posts: 5,601
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Steel plates and man hole covers are even slicker then paint lines. Release your brakes when you go over them. Carry extra spare tubes in the rain, you can't patch a wet tube.
ken cummings is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 10:18 PM   #8
Cosmoline
Biscuit Boy
 
Cosmoline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Speeenard 'laska
Bikes:
Posts: 1,355
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Bright colors, as noted. I prefer a pancho with shorts and a simple shirt. No multiple layers, no slicks. Skin is the easiest thing to clean off and dry off.
Cosmoline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 11:15 PM   #9
bragi
bragi
 
bragi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: seattle, WA
Bikes: LHT
Posts: 2,911
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
1. Get decent rain gear. Some people prefer ponchos, but I find them to be less practical than a decent rain jacket and rain pants. If you use a backpack, make sure it's waterproof, too. (If it's really warm, though, and it doesn't matter what you look like when you get to your destination, just get wet and bring a towel; nothing will overheat you faster than rain gear in temps above 60 F. It's like a sauna.)

2. Fenders are a really good idea. I live in Seattle; trust me on this one.

3. Lights are also a good idea in the rain, even in the daytime.
bragi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-07, 11:21 PM   #10
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Bikes:
Posts: 23,385
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi View Post
3. Lights are also a good idea in the rain, even in the daytime.
And riding at night in the rain ... our lights get lost in the reflections and it's harder for drivers to see us.

Eyeglasses....the worst thing about rain. In fact, my glasses are the only reason that I don't like riding in the rain. My new ones have an anti-reflective coating, and that seems to make the water bead up more. Even so, I still have to stop every couple blocks to wipe them off. I carry a pile of old washcloths to wipe them.

Those little microweave towels that divers use are great for drying off after you get there. You can wring them out almost dry.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 09:47 AM   #11
Eli_Damon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alexandria, VA (formerly Amherst, MA)
Bikes: Miyata touring bike, Xtracycle, Montague DX
Posts: 280
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My biggest problem with the rain is that it falls into my eyes and blinds me. I found a product that takes care of this called a Louis Garneau western helmet cover. It has a brim that blocks the rain from hitting my face. I highly recommend it.
Eli_Damon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 09:58 AM   #12
lima_bean
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Bikes: Jamis Nova
Posts: 714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
rain masks potholes very very well. be ready for suddenly hitting one hard unexpectedly, so never ride with 1 hand/no hands in rain.
lima_bean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 09:58 AM   #13
lima_bean
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Chicago, IL
Bikes: Jamis Nova
Posts: 714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli_Damon View Post
My biggest problem with the rain is that it falls into my eyes and blinds me. I found a product that takes care of this called a Louis Garneau western helmet cover. It has a brim that blocks the rain from hitting my face. I highly recommend it.
I actually switch out clear lenses into my sunglasses for this =)
lima_bean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 10:37 AM   #14
bike2math
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Texas
Bikes:
Posts: 959
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I found (when I lived in Texas) that rain gear wasn't really necessary for most of the year, the rain is usually warm or at least a refreshing cool. My take is that your concerns should be: 1. being seen (bright colors, lots of reflective tape, etc.) 2. Stopping distance (kool stop salmons, and ride slower and defensively) 3. Road hazards (lots of things get much slicker when wet: bricks, paint, steel plates, manhole covers, grates, expansion plates, rail road rails; corner and brake gingerly)
4. Deep water (be careful watch out for hidden dangers and in Texas know the area).

I lived near a ditch that would have fast moving water going over the road in a big rain, more than once I decided to go the long way around rather than try to go through.

In addition I recomend that you learn some simple bike maintenace: in my experience, if the water goes above any of your bearings you will want to repack them as soon as you can to prevent further damage.
bike2math is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 12:12 PM   #15
scattered73
Justin
 
scattered73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bayou City
Bikes: Soma Double Cross, KHS Urban Uno
Posts: 1,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I live in Houston and when it rains I don't bother with the rain gear in the summer I will sweat too much getting just as wet. I usually use swimming trunks and an old t-shirt and mtb shoes (though I would use old shoes if I didn't have any) then change clothes when I get where I need to be. If I am only running errands then just stay in the clothes I am in, wet and all. Other than that I have clear glasses to deal with rain drops from hitting my eyes.
scattered73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 12:15 PM   #16
scattered73
Justin
 
scattered73's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bayou City
Bikes: Soma Double Cross, KHS Urban Uno
Posts: 1,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bike2math View Post
if the water goes above any of your bearings you will want to repack them as soon as you can to prevent further damage.
That's deep water
scattered73 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-07, 12:27 PM   #17
Old Dirt Hill
Bring That Beat Back
 
Old Dirt Hill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: I lost my legs
Bikes:
Posts: 937
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i find that i can't wear my cycling shoes in the rain (the wet socks drive me nuts). i have a pair of cheap clipless sandals for this purpose (as well as extremely hot summer rides).
Old Dirt Hill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-07, 04:19 AM   #18
pjcampbell
fair weather cyclist
 
pjcampbell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Green Mountains
Bikes: Colnago c50
Posts: 1,337
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Be super careful on painted lines and sewer covered, drains, etc. Anything that is metal.
pjcampbell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-07, 08:16 AM   #19
cerewa
put our Heads Together
 
cerewa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: southeast pennsylvania
Bikes: a mountain bike with a cargo box on the back and aero bars on the front. an old well-worn dahon folding bike
Posts: 3,155
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
I would feel more comfortable riding on the sidewalk during rainy times, is that illegal? I dont recall it being illegal to ride on the sidewalk but Im not sure.
It depends on the specific location; in some places it is legal to ride on the sidewalk and in others it isn't. In most of the USA I believe it's either legal to ride on the sidewalk, or else the police will let you where it's illegal.

Riding in the same direction as traffic is almost always safer than riding on the sidewalk. In the rain, it's harder for a bike to behave like a pedestrian on the sidewalk (i.e. going slow and having a stopping distance of 2 or 3 feet) because the brakes don't work as well. I recommend against riding on the sidewalk unless either your distance needed to stop is 3 feet or less, or else you're on a stretch of sidewalk without no driveways, intersections, pedestrians, or doors pedestrians could step out of. That makes the sidewalk impractical for distances over 200 feet, usually.
cerewa is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:58 PM.