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Come Rain or Shine

Come Rain or Shine

This being Britain, the sun doesn't always shine, and sometimes it feels like it's been raining for weeks. Well, we remember a statistic from Richard's Bicycle Book [1] that said for South East England a cycle commuter doing a 30 minute journey to and from work will on average only get wet one day in ten.

Rain

When it is only raining lightly, you might not get as wet as you think, because there's the breeze from your movement and the additional heat from your body generated by the exercise of cycling, both of which have a drying effect.

One very important thing is that your brakes won't work as well when wet, so give yourself extra time and space to stop. If you have rim brakes, it helps to clean the dust and muck off regularly - some household degreasing cleaner and a green scrub pad are pretty much all you need [2].

Snow and ice

There are brave people who'll cycle no matter what the weather! You might not be one of them (and we think twice about it), but we thought you'd like to know of two DIY methods for coping with snow and ice on the roads.

The first is quick, simple and temporary, but only works if you have something other than rim brakes. You simply secure cable ties around the tyre and rim at regular intervals [3].

The second is a permanent modification to your tyres, so you'd probably want to have spare tyres to do this. It involves fitting pop-rivets through the tyres as studs to grip into the snow/ice [4].

Sunny days

Even good weather can have it's drawbacks: we remember returning from a long ride with sunburn in unusual places - the back of the hands where there was a gap in our gloves, and the backs of our calves - ouch! Slip-slop-slap, people! [5]

But mainly it's learning that cycling is thirsty work. Which is why the majority of bike frames have threaded holes to enable you to fit a water bottle carrier [6].

Links / References / Footnotes

  1. The original book is long out of print, but we remember how much the sage wisdom and advice of Richard Ballantine helped us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Ballantine
  2. Cleaning rims: http://www.trails.com/how_2036_clean-bicycle-rims.html
  3. Cable tie snow tyres: http://www.dutchbikeco.com/_blog/Dutch_Bike_Co_Weblog/post/Seattle_Snowpocalypse/
  4. Pop-rivet snow tyres: http://www.instructables.com/id/Pop-Rivet-Ice-Tires-for-Your-Road-Bike/
  5. Slip-Slop-Slap: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slip-Slop-Slap
  6. Bottle cage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottle_cage