Tips for Wet Weather Cycling

Cape Town’s winter can be a hectic time for cyclists. When the North West winds roll in bringing lashing rain and wind, it can discourage even the most enduring of the cycle-warriors from going out for a ride or commuting by bicycle. But fear not – here are some solid tips to help you safely and comfortably ride rain or shine.


Be visible

  • Use a front white light, rear red light and reflectors when visibility is poor or when riding at night (this is required by law).
  • Wear bright colors and reflective gear (vests or jackets). Vests are a cheap solution and can be easily stored in your bag; and reflective bands for ankles and sleeves also work well.

 Stay warm and dry

  • Wear waterproof clothing that is breathable with warm layers underneath will keep you comfortable and dry.
  • Keep a spare outfit handy incase you become soaked
  • A cycling cap will keep excess spray out of your eyes
  • Glasses with clear or yellow lenses will aid your vision on overcast days
  • Keep a plastic bag with you to place over your seat to keep it dry

Bring a repair kit

  • Keep a kit on your bike with puncture tools, inflator, and spare tubes.


Make these preparations

  • Apply lubricant generously to the chain before a wet ride.
  • Remember to clean mud and grit from bicycle after a wet ride and re-lubricate chain
  • Dry all metal components after a rainy day ride
  • Check tyre pressure and keep the pressure a little lower for wet rides

Install fenders or mudguards

  • Install front and rear fenders on your bicycle to keep water, mud, and grit on the ground and off of you and your bicycle.


Avoid these dangers

  • Steer clear of drains, painted lines, fallen leaves, and manholes
  • Avoid puddles that may hide submerged potholes and other hazards.
  • Avoid rainbow-tinged oil patches on the ground. During the first few minutes of rain, oil seeps from the roadway making it very slick.
  • Be cautious cycling over bridges, metal grates and painted lines and crosswalks as they can be very slick.

Follow these braking rules

  • Use rear brake on wet roads
  • Water on the rims will make it harder to stop. Apply the brakes lightly to clean off the rims before you need to stop. Give brakes a few quick squeezes to dry before attempting a full stop. Pump” your brakes a few times before reaching a stop street to remove water from the rim before pulling the brakes for stopping
  • Brake earlier than usual and allow a greater distance for stopping.
  •  If you need to brake during a turn, apply the brakes slowly.
  • Continue to pedal while braking rear wheel
  • Keep your weight centered and slightly back while braking to maintain best control and balance.

Most importantly, follow these golden rules to maximize safety.

Follow these golden rules

  • When the roads are wet, don’t get in a hurry, slow down and stay relaxed.
  • Cycle extra defensively and cautiously to help avoid accidents with cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists.


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One Response to “Tips for Wet Weather Cycling”

  1. Kabir@MyBestRoadBikes July 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Thank you for the great tips. read did find out tips on how to run the bike in the rain. Yellow lenses’s it I like better. It is very useful to run the bike in the rain.Because I like bike run in the rain

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