Riding… not Singing or Crashing… in the Rain

Advice for Chris Froome 🙂 and Team Sky

I wrote this a few weeks before the Tour de France but its seems appropriate.

The Lead Out

Here’s a few pointers for riding around in the rain in Melbourne.  Clearly the smartest thing you can do as a cyclist in Melbourne is plan your route.  Pick the a route that provides the safest road conditions. Maximise your use of off-road and on road bicycle lanes, and roads that have low traffic volumes and speeds.  Melbourne City council has a pretty good map that you can download from here:


The Breakaway

I’ll say it again, look at http://www.bom.gov.au/vic/forecasts/melbourne.shtml, before planning your ride.  Its free and may save your life.  If you find yourself riding in poor conditions, play it safe, try to stay off the road and make yourself as visible as possible.

The Peloton

  • Clip on and switch on some decent front and rear lights.  Anything above 200 lumens that has a ‘strobe’ mode is ideal for the front.  Similarly 90-120 lumens, with strobe is ideal for the your rear
  • Stay on commuter paths.  Typically be less congested and greatly reduce the risk of you becoming a hood ornament eg Chris Froome 😉
  • Try to stay upright and steer with your arms rather than leaning into corners with your hips.
  • Take corners slower – wet riding surfaces reduce traction between the tyres and the surface.
  • Avoid hazards such as potholes and storm water grates.  Watch out for doors on parked cars.  The chances are the driver has been thinking more about the rain, than a cyclist approaching from behind.
  • Wear bright waterproof clothing – I have bright yellow gortex jacket with reflective patches that is highly visible and breathable.  Something like this is ideal for daily commuting if you have a few spare dollars.
  • Carry a spare tube, instead of a patching kit.  I’ve found trying to patch a wet inner tube almost impossible on rainy days.
  • If you are on your road bike, decrease the pressure in your tires, say 5 to 10 psi lower than your usual setting, to improve traction.
  • Try to avoid slick spots – pay attention  to painted street surfaces, metal drain covers,
  • Try to cross tram and rail lines at 90 degrees or close to, to minimise contact.  This is a particularly nasty hazard on wet Melbourne days.
  • Double the amount of time you use to brake to stop.  Locking up will lead to you either spinning out or going over the handle bars.  Do a few test ‘brakes’ at the start of your ride to feel out what your new threshold should be.