Is that a word? It’s one we’ve been hearing a lot recently as ride after ride turns into a rain-soaked adventure. One after another, folks have been stepping into the shop and exclaiming, “Bleeeugh…!”.
It certainly feels like it’s been one constant downpour these past few weeks, but as these hardy souls keep telling us as they drop in to the shop, with the right gear and the right attitude there’s not much that can stop your riding.
A good jacket is a riding essential in the UK at any time of year, even more so right now when it seems to rain especially hard on the way to and from work. Every day.
Constructed from breathable materials it will keep the rain off and wick away heat and moisture from the inside, removing the ‘boil in the bag’ effect you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever thrown on an old cagoule.
One positive of living on a mild and damp island in the middle of the sea is that it rarely gets really, really cold in autumn. It’s unlikely you’ll need full-fingered gloves just yet, but along with a proper waterproof jacket we’d recommend slipping on some bibtights or full-length overtrousers. Bright red knees are not a good look, so keep ‘em nice and snug.
The final piece of this damp jigsaw is a set of overshoes. Your feet are right in the firing line of spray from the front wheel – cover them up and your little piggies will be cosy and dry all the way home.
Make sure you can be seen
Distracted drivers, stressed parents, mobile phone zombies – there’s a lot out there and a set of lights that highlight your presence sooner than a bell or a shout is a good idea. They don’t cost much, can easily be strapped on and removed from your bike, and will make you stand out.
Protect your bike
The whole experience of riding in wet weather can be made a lot less taxing by fitting some mudguards. They keep the worst of the road muck and spray away from you and, just as importantly, your bike. Whether you fit a set of full-length mudguards or just pop a Crudcatcher or AssSaver over your rear wheel, your bike and your backside will thank you for it.
The key to keeping your bike running through all weathers is to keep on top of maintenance. A weekly bike wash with a dedicated cleaning product will remove the accumulated oils and salts that can eat away at your bike’s components, easily picked up when the roads are wet. A drop of wet lube once you’re done will protect the chain until you next get the sponge out.
Keep the focus
It’s still raining, and even with all the right gear the motivation to ride can sometimes dwindle. The thing is, riding when it’s grim can bring a strange kind of satisfaction – you’re left with the feeling that you’ve really earned that morning croissant if you’ve ridden through a downpour to work.
Keeping your mind focussed on the job in hand will make the miles pass a lot faster, whether that’s hitting your weekly mileage target, preparing for a spring sportive or just saving on train fares. It only takes the sight of one bus, full of passengers wiping the steamy windows and going nowhere in the traffic, to remind you why you commute by bike.
And when the sun does shine, during those stunning autumn sunsets and crisp winter mornings, there’s no better place to experience it than from the bike.
So come on down, shake off that water, get kitted up and let’s go for a ride!