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cycling in the rain

AzharAzhar Posts: 247
edited August 2012 in Commuting general
Hello,

Since i've started commuting to work (32 mile round trip) i've always been caught either in the rain or its started chucking it down once i've got in to my bike clothes to come home from work. Even when i've been out cycling it seems to always rain hard once i'm half way through my long ride. i've invested in several waterproof accessories (overshoes, jacket etc) and i've always taken it easy riding in the rain not really knowing how hard i can push myself in the rain before the tyres slip underneath me or whatever.

so, i knwo its a little easier for the bike to slip in wet conditions but how hard can you really push in the wet??

i do have marathon plus tyres that have the treads in that would give me slightly better grip in the wet than the traditional slick road tires. but i dont want to be be going out in the rain or pushing too hard and end up slipping and damaging bike or seriously hurting myself. i would be grateful for any advice you guys can give me.

thanks

Azhar :)

Posts

  • 16mm16mm Posts: 545
    Totally depends on the road surface. A good grippy surface should be fine, but something worn, loose or greasy will be trouble. How many corners do you have? One option is just to try and lock the rear wheel. This will show how easily it locks. Compare wet lock to dry lock, and see if you can get a feel for the amount of grip you have.

    How fast do other cyclists go?
  • AzharAzhar Posts: 247
    well the road surface isnt exactly loose or even greasy. it is worn and in terms of corners,. i havent realyl counted but there are loads. however, when it does come to the corners i am going round them very slow. slow as in 4/5mph until i feel a bit mroe confident going faster when it straightens up. dont see many cyclists go past me when its raining, only see them when the weather is nice..i.e not raining.

    tbh my brakes arent great either. even in the dry the i do have to pulll on the brakes pretty hard to get to a full stop. to test the rear brake to see if it would skid on the wet surface out of the question cos it wont even lock up when its dry weather.
  • take up mountain biking to get used to the rear wheel drifting/washing out a bit.

    I'm fairly nonplussed when the rear wheel washes out a bit on rainy commutes. I put this down to years of mountain biking where it's a common occurrence.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    doesn't really affect my overall speed on Gatorskins, although I am a bit more careful around street furniture.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    Sounds like you need to sort your brakes out.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • clarkey catclarkey cat Posts: 3,641
    also - Marathon + are pretty slippy in the wet. Conti 4 Seasons are much grippier in wet conditions.
  • 16mm16mm Posts: 545
    Azhar wrote:
    well the road surface isnt exactly loose or even greasy. it is worn and in terms of corners,. i havent realyl counted but there are loads. however, when it does come to the corners i am going round them very slow. slow as in 4/5mph until i feel a bit mroe confident going faster when it straightens up. dont see many cyclists go past me when its raining, only see them when the weather is nice..i.e not raining.

    tbh my brakes arent great either. even in the dry the i do have to pulll on the brakes pretty hard to get to a full stop. to test the rear brake to see if it would skid on the wet surface out of the question cos it wont even lock up when its dry weather.

    Thats very slow, but you need confidence in your brakes and tyres. Sort your brakes, check tyres and see it that helps.

    Slowing to 5mph regularly is really gonna slow you down, but you need to happy. Do you think you can slowly get more confident? Maybe find someone local who ride with you and see what the problem may be?
  • corshamjimcorshamjim Posts: 234
    I came a-cropper a few weeks ago on a corner in the wet. Something had been dropping diesel on the road though which I'm sure contributed to the skid. I certainly slow down a lot more for corners when it's damp now, and/or take them as wide as I can. I'm getting to that age when I don't bounce as well as I used to!
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    I've got marathon plus on mine, and I don't really slow down in the rain through lack of confidence in them. however you need to be careful going over metal. There is a narrow metal strip when I go over a bridge (i guess for expansion) and when it is wet I always break traction.
  • janglejangle Posts: 114
    as the others have said it depends on your skill and the equipment. I have continental 4 seasons and I don't really take it any easier in the wet, including a 45-50 mph descent. I would just pick a corner on your route and slowly increase the speed until you get faster and more confident. I would definitely sort the brakes out first but bear in mind that braking in a corner is not the way to do it. It is better to enter the corner slower and come out faster, without touching the brakes. BTW treaded bike tyres on road surfaces have less grip than slicks. On bikes it is pretty much down to the rubber compound. http://www.schwalbetires.com/tech_info/tire_tread
  • AzharAzhar Posts: 247
    thanks everyone for their advice especially jangle about not breaking whilst in the corner, which is what i've been doing in the rain. i suppose its just practice practice. and i'll have a look at that continental 4 season tyre...
  • janglejangle Posts: 114
    No worries. Have a search on how to take corners, there are loads of web pages on how to do it properly. The main points are,
    1)Brake before the corner, not during.
    2)Keep the pedal that is on the inside of the corner at the highest point to avoid it hitting the floor.
    3)Lean the bike into the corner - I think you will be surprised how far you can lean over.
    3)Put your weight onto the pedal on the outside of the corner - If you have followed step 2) then this should be at the bottom and will help balance the bike as you lean.
    4)Also putting your inside knee against the top tube helps but this can seem counter intuitive as it is opposite to how you see motorbikers taking corners. I would personally say that this is not as important as step 3) but it is a good habit to get into.
    5)Above all - if you find yourself going a bit to fast then do not panic and do not grab the brakes unless you have enough room to straighten up. Unless you have completely misjudged the corner you should just be able to lean a bit more and tighten your line. Try to be as smooth as possible as jerky movements are more likely to break traction.

    I know it sounds a lot to remember but after a few goes it should become second nature :)

    Practise on corners you know or if you are really nervous about it then go to a car park somewhere and just practice going round an object of some kind. Cheers
  • AzharAzhar Posts: 247
    Another thing I wanted to ask about this topic is maintaining the bike after cycling in the rain. I usually give the bike a good wipe down, making sure the the bit where the pedals are screwed on the frame a good wipe there, clean and wipe down everywhere basically and lube the chain a little. Am I missing anything else? I just want to ensure I'm doing everything I can to make the bike last as long as possible with as little problems as possible. Any tips one this would be most excellent.

    I bid you good day.

    Azhar
  • janglejangle Posts: 114
    Adjust your brakes :) I would also clean the chain properly once in a while, to get rid of the crud that can accrue and wear down parts more quickly. Make sure your tyres have the right pressure in them as well - will help with the cornering.
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