Yet again I will pick Donís nits for no good reason. Don is right about the hydroplaning issue but cornering in confidence is relative. Corners Iíd take a 25 mph in dry conditions are 12 mph corners (or slower) when wet. I have seen too many riders hit the deck in conditions that are just damp. Remember that you must slow down earlier in the rain too. Brakes will take a bit of time to respond and may grab all at once after the water is squeegeed off.
One great point Don makes is about using elbows and knees as shock absorbers. BEND YOUR FREAKINí ELBOWS! I see too many people riding with their elbows locked and shoulders tight and rolled forward. This is asking the smallest bump to knock you off the bike.
If you have to stretch out your arms to the limit to reach the bars get a shorter stem.
From: "Rogers, Donald" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "Rogers, Donald" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [BIKE-TO-BROWN] Rain by the bucketloads!
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 09:50:54 -0400
> > -----Original Message-----
> > I hated not being able to ride in today. I'll have to get my
> > new home trainer out for a living room spin tonight! Soon we
> > will be talking about how to ride in rain.
>Some quick tips for rain riding:
>When driving a car in heavy rain, most drivers worry about hydroplaning.
>On a bike, this is not a problem because the tire contact patch is a
>completely different shape (like a canoe) that cuts right through
>standing water. No real issue there; if you have smooth bare wet
>pavement, you can turn with confidence.
>HOWEVER there are (at least) 3 big hazards to consider in the rain:
>1. Standing water conceals what lies beneath. That small puddle up ahead
>might have a deep wheel-eating pothole just under the surface. So to be
>safe, avoid riding through water that you can't see to the bottom of,
>and if you must ride through, then assume there are hazards underwater.
>Get up off the saddle a bit, using your knees and elbows as shock
>absorbers. If you do hit an unexpected bump or hole, the bike will be
>less likely to suffer damage.
>2. Some of the most treacherous surfaces to ride on are rain-soaked
>painted road markings and metal surfaces like manhole covers and
>railroad tracks. Treat even the smallest of these features like a patch
>of greased ice. Try to go over them in a straight line, with the bike
>fully upright. If you try to turn on these at speed, you will very
>likely find the bike slide out from under you. If you must turn on them,
>brake *before* you are on top of them to a reasonable speed, then turn
>by keeping the bike as vertical as possible, carefully turning with the
>handlebars and shifting your body weight (though *not* the bike itself)
>in the direction of the turn.
>3. In any rain, and especially heavy rain, drivers are already anxious
>and over-stimulated. The effective road width is narrower due to
>riverine road gutters. Visibility is way down. Both optically and
>perceptually, drivers are *much* less likely to see you out there. So
>you must be much more careful in your riding. Be very defensive, wear
>day-glo clothing, use lights front and back even in the day, and yield
>whenever there's a doubt.
>Comfort on the bike in the rain can be improved by wearing layers of
>clothes (especially a lightweight wool or wicking base layer).
>Waterproof clothes are not necessarily the best choice; they tend to let
>heat and sweat build up. I'd rather be cool and rain-soaked than hot and
>sweat-soaked. Breathable clothing, then, is usually a good choice. Some
>people find their feet are very sensitive to being wet; these folks can
>get neoprene booties or just wrap their feet in plastic newspaper bags
>between their socks and their shoes.
>Waterproof bags or panniers, though, are pretty important to keep your
>stuff dry. Though again, you can always pack your stuff into a plastic
>grocery or trash bag inside your regular bag(s) if you need to.
>Fenders help keep a lot of water off of you and your drivetrain, and
>they certainly keep that stripe of dirty water off your back.
>Bike to Brown discussion list:
>Bike to Brown website:
Bike to Brown website: http://biketobrown.brown.edu/