Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

Cycling in heavy rain

rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
edited November 2015 in Road beginners
I've almost never cycled in the wet before but will go for a ride later in the wet and when it's dark. Apart from the very obvious precautions (being visible, anticipating other road users, being alert, etc, etc), what other things should I do before, during and after the ride?

For example, should I clean and dry the bike afterwards? Re-lube the chain?
«1

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,469
    Make sure your lights are good as wet roads are jet black at night so harder to see potholes etc. All I tend to do is a quick wipe on the chain and wet lube then a proper clean once every 2 weeks or so.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • ayjayceeayjaycee Posts: 1,277
    Or you could just be a soft southern jessie like me, say censored that and stay indoors (sorry, that wasn't very helpful!).
    Cannondale Synapse Carbon Ultegra
    Kinesis Racelight 4S
    Specialized Allez Elite (Frame/Forks for sale)
    Specialized Crosstrail Comp Disk (For sale)
  • rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
    LOL. No, I'm determined to cycle in the cold, wet rain!
  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,785
    Don't underestimate how deep that rain filled hole might be.

    Don't ask me how I know :oops:
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Kona Hei Hei/Calibre Bossnut
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Be content to go a bit slower than usual, and don't put as much air in your tyres as usual

    And yes, of course you should clean and dry your bike and lube the chain.
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,814
    If riding in the wet avoid riding through puddles and try to avoid any manhole covers.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Don't underestimate how deep that rain filled hole might be.

    Don't ask me how I know :oops:

    Been there and fixed the puncture in freezing rain.
  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,785
    Don't underestimate how deep that rain filled hole might be.

    Don't ask me how I know :oops:

    Been there and fixed the puncture in freezing rain.

    Been there and went over the handlebars :shock:
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Kona Hei Hei/Calibre Bossnut
  • nicklongnicklong Posts: 231
    Avoid white lines and any other markings in the road - they become very slippery. Ditto for manhole covers.

    If you can avoid it, don't brake and turn at the same time. Just like driving, there is a limit to what the tyres can do at any one time.

    Brake earlier, not just because your tyres have less grip but it will take a revolution to wipe the water from the rims.

    Don't stop for too long, your glasses will steam up 8)
  • rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
    Thanks all. I did go out but the rain had stopped. However, the ground was very, very wet - almost waterlogged in places. In some places I could tell that the ground was very slippery and I avoided puddles as I wasn't sure what I'd be riding over.

    My new powerful light worked wonders and gave me a lot more confidence than I ordinarily would have had. And, thankfully, drivers were a lot more careful and considerate this evening.

    Next time I'll wait for the rain to come down!

    I'll give the bike a good clean tomorrow and re-lube the chain. It's stored safely in warm and dry surroundings.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Thanks all. I did go out but the rain had stopped. However, the ground was very, very wet - almost waterlogged in places. In some places I could tell that the ground was very slippery and I avoided puddles as I wasn't sure what I'd be riding over.

    My new powerful light worked wonders and gave me a lot more confidence than I ordinarily would have had. And, thankfully, drivers were a lot more careful and considerate this evening.

    Next time I'll wait for the rain to come down!

    I'll give the bike a good clean tomorrow and re-lube the chain. It's stored safely in warm and dry surroundings.
    If the chain got wet, I would at least dry the chain tonight to ensure it doesn't rust.
  • Don't be too keen on getting out in serious rain. Not fun IMHO. I've ridden my 7 mile commute in rain so bad the road was flooding from the kerb into the middle of the road.carnage with the cars taking turns to ride past the flood in the middle of the road. Don't try riding through the puddles if it's dark. Black tarmac and puddles/ floods can be deceptively deep. I know a mate who once told me of the time he rode his MTB through a stream in a dip at speed. It was deeper than he thought and stopped him dead. Fortunately someone ahead of him had a camera ready so he had evidence of his face plant. He did something similar once and woke up several hours later minutes all his front teeth!
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,035
    heavy rain generally isnt an issue, dont worry about staying dry try and stay warm and use your lights even in the day time.

    it does get a bit tedious after a couple of weeks
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    heavy rain generally isnt an issue, dont worry about staying dry try and stay warm and use your lights even in the day time.

    it does get a bit tedious after a couple of weeks

    the thing about staying warm though is not so much about when your riding as youll most be able to keep warm which is why all those rainproof tops become boil in the bag and consequently you may be tempted to wear less warm clothes,

    but if you have a problem, puncture, chain or anything that forces you to stop for even just 5-10mins you will rapidly lose body temperature very quickly in heavy rain conditions, which is important to recognise its happening, as I had a friend whilst admittedly it was much colder early Jan style temp in heavy rain, ended up passing out with suspected hypothermia after theyd had to stop and carry out a road side repair, fortunately they were with a group of riders who could quickly provid assistance and rescued them from what could have been serious incident.

    also note which road surfaces are going to be more likely to be covered in oil or diesel,dont assume grip levels are the same as in the dry, I always take a different line/approach around roundabouts in the wet specifically because of that,and descending can also be far trickier on country roads that now have lots of leaf mulch covering them
  • Be content to go a bit slower than usual, and don't put as much air in your tyres as usual

    And yes, of course you should clean and dry your bike and lube the chain.
    On the road in the rain you should run higher pressure in your tyres. 1) You will probably hit a pothole full of water at some stage so are less likely to pinch flat . 2) The higher your tyre pressure the less likely you will aquaplane. 3) The difference in grip between rolling along and aquaplaning is less so you are less likely to crash. (soft tyres grip well until they aquaplane and have no grip, whereas hard tyres have less grip when rolling but if they do aquaplane it's much easier to catch it as the hard tyre pushes through the water film).

    Not sure about the higher pressure thing. No way would i run higher pressure in the wet than in the dry. Aquaplaning on a bike? You'd need to be going pretty fast for that!
    argon 18 e116 2013 Vision Metron 80
    Bianchi Oltre XR Sram Red E-tap, Fulcrum racing speed xlr
    De Rosa SK pininfarina disc
    S Works Tarmac e-tap 2017
    Rose pro sl disc
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    I would definitely not increase your tyre pressure in the wet. The pothole thing is valid, but the rest of it is not and is more likely to cause a slide than avoid one in my experiences.
  • If anything you'd want a slightly lower pressure in the wet as you need more grip.

    Braking is going to be the most significant difference, especially if you're on rim brakes, even if it has stopped raining expect your brakes not to work at all for the first 10 seconds or so us using them until the water has cleared.

    Put some mudguards on, at minimum on the back preferably the front too.

    The biggest difference I find is that wet conditions get your bike absolutely filthy, so a hose down with clean water and a wipe is pretty much essential, and yes, put some oil on your chain.

    Personally if it's looking wet I fire up Zwift instead ;)
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Put some mudguards on, at minimum on the back preferably the front too.

    I would say, put some mudguards on, at the minimum on the front, preferably the back too!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • A peaked cycling cap under the helmet can stop rain blowing in your face and onto glasses if the peak is pulled down, but you also need to see in front so not pulled down too much. Personally I can never ride with the peak down as it obscures my vision too much - so I end up not wearing glasses due to water on the lenses, but if you can find a good compromise between vision and protection then it's worth considering.

    Oh...and there's no such thing as fully waterproof and highly breathable (lights blue touch paper and walks away... :roll: )
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    On the road in the rain you should run higher pressure in your tyres. 1) You will probably hit a pothole full of water at some stage so are less likely to pinch flat . 2) The higher your tyre pressure the less likely you will aquaplane. 3) The difference in grip between rolling along and aquaplaning is less so you are less likely to crash. (soft tyres grip well until they aquaplane and have no grip, whereas hard tyres have less grip when rolling but if they do aquaplane it's much easier to catch it as the hard tyre pushes through the water film).
    You will not aquaplane on a bicycle. It's virtually impossible. The tyres are too narrow and too high pressure (even on a comparatively wide bicycle tyre with comparatively low pressure) and a bicycle will be travelling far too slowly for aquaplaning to be an issue.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tyres.html#hydroplaning
  • On the road in the rain you should run higher pressure in your tyres. 1) You will probably hit a pothole full of water at some stage so are less likely to pinch flat . 2) The higher your tyre pressure the less likely you will aquaplane. 3) The difference in grip between rolling along and aquaplaning is less so you are less likely to crash. (soft tyres grip well until they aquaplane and have no grip, whereas hard tyres have less grip when rolling but if they do aquaplane it's much easier to catch it as the hard tyre pushes through the water film).
    You will not aquaplane on a bicycle. It's virtually impossible. The tyres are too narrow and too high pressure (even on a comparatively wide bicycle tyre with comparatively low pressure) and a bicycle will be travelling far too slowly for aquaplaning to be an issue.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tyres.html#hydroplaning

    Absolutely, although there will still be reduced grip on the road surface just by function of it being wet / greasy. From memory Sheldon is talking about why bicycle tyres don't need any tread and that slicks are actually better in the wet.
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Be content to go a bit slower than usual, and don't put as much air in your tyres as usual

    And yes, of course you should clean and dry your bike and lube the chain.
    On the road in the rain you should run higher pressure in your tyres. 1) You will probably hit a pothole full of water at some stage so are less likely to pinch flat . 2) The higher your tyre pressure the less likely you will aquaplane. 3) The difference in grip between rolling along and aquaplaning is less so you are less likely to crash. (soft tyres grip well until they aquaplane and have no grip, whereas hard tyres have less grip when rolling but if they do aquaplane it's much easier to catch it as the hard tyre pushes through the water film).

    What a load of rubbish.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Absolutely, although there will still be reduced grip on the road surface just by function of it being wet / greasy. From memory Sheldon is talking about why bicycle tyres don't need any tread and that slicks are actually better in the wet.
    Yep - "slippery when wet" still applies, but that's not aquaplaning.
  • Be content to go a bit slower than usual, and don't put as much air in your tyres as usual

    And yes, of course you should clean and dry your bike and lube the chain.
    On the road in the rain you should run higher pressure in your tyres. 1) You will probably hit a pothole full of water at some stage so are less likely to pinch flat . 2) The higher your tyre pressure the less likely you will aquaplane. 3) The difference in grip between rolling along and aquaplaning is less so you are less likely to crash. (soft tyres grip well until they aquaplane and have no grip, whereas hard tyres have less grip when rolling but if they do aquaplane it's much easier to catch it as the hard tyre pushes through the water film).
    Been mulling this response over for a bit. Actually this is really bad advice and actually dangerous advice to give to someone concerned about riding safely in the wet!
    argon 18 e116 2013 Vision Metron 80
    Bianchi Oltre XR Sram Red E-tap, Fulcrum racing speed xlr
    De Rosa SK pininfarina disc
    S Works Tarmac e-tap 2017
    Rose pro sl disc
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    I just googled "cycling raise tyre pressure when wet" to see if we were all wrong and cyd was right.

    Nope.

    I can not see a single article suggesting raising tyre pressure when wet.

    Everything I can see is consistent in suggesting lowering pressures by 5-10 psi in wet conditions.

    I agree with noodleman and the advice to raise pressure is dangerous. Don't do it.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,175
    The standard friction model does not work for tyres. In fact they are notoriously difficult to model, particularly slip angle characteristics.

    However, in general you may assume that greater compliance will give greater traction in most situations due to the way the profile of the tyre tracks the profile of the road; a situation that the usual F=mu.N model cannot approach.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,175
    Running a firmer tyre will certainly not help in those situations and will reduce grip everywhere else; I am really struggling to understand your logic behind aiming for generally minimised grip in the wet.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCMQFjAAahUKEwicucbBrIXJAhXBPRQKHZ6MD6c&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvelonews.competitor.com%2F2014%2F05%2Fbikes-and-tech%2Ftechnical-faq%2Ftechnical-faq-tire-grip-wet-conditions_328827&usg=AFQjCNEWVXLswZvuWOLryn2jGDWR9l6gHg&bvm=bv.106923889,d.ZWU
    What you are saying cyd, seems to go against everything any other cyclist believes, including pro tour riders and all of the tire manufacturers. Not a personal dig, but i notice from your collection of bikes you dont actually list a roadbike amongst them. This may have changed but i'm wondering if you've put your theory into practice. :?
    argon 18 e116 2013 Vision Metron 80
    Bianchi Oltre XR Sram Red E-tap, Fulcrum racing speed xlr
    De Rosa SK pininfarina disc
    S Works Tarmac e-tap 2017
    Rose pro sl disc
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    edited November 2015
    Here's the thing. All the advice to reduce tyre pressures seems to revolve around the "bigger contact patch=more grip" argument. But everyone who has studied physics knows that is wrong.
    Fr = μN

    where:

    Fr is the resistive force of friction
    μ is the coefficient of friction for the two surfaces (Greek letter "mu")
    N is the normal or perpendicular force pushing the two objects together
    No mention of surface area. So why would increased contact patch help?

    Now, I am not particularly smart and whilst this formula looks mighty impressive and stuff (especially with Greek letters and everything!), I do agree that there is no specific mention of surface area, but surely some of those numbers change with a change in surface area? My little brain tells me that Fr or mu would be the most likely to change?

    Anyway, forget all that Greek and letters stuff. I do accept that there are some bits of cycling folklore that are nonsense, but lowering pressures in the wet makes a difference and seems to be universally accepted by everyone from the manufacturers to the peleton.

    I use as low pressure as I can get away with generally (typically 60-65 in 28s) as I need comfort and grip more than I need outright speed (but in my game, comfort = speed by the third or fourth day of a long ride). I do know when I have run higher pressures, the bikes feel nowhere near as grippy.

    You are entitled to your view of course, even though it flies in the face of the entire bike industry, but I would still urge anyone reading a road beginners forum looking for advice on riding in the wet to ignore that particular piece of advice. Leave your tyres as they are, or drop the pressure, but never increase the pressure.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Most of the situations where you skid in the wet involve crossing smooth surfaces like road markings and tram lines etc. A road bike tyre on wet asphalt grips pretty much like it does on dry asphalt. I think the standard equation would work quite well for a tyre with no tread on a smooth painted road marking.
    Paint and metalwork have less grip than tarmac. When they're lubricated with water they are more slippery than when they are dry and a bicycle tyre riding over them is more likely to slip. That's not aquaplaning.
Sign In or Register to comment.