April showers has been and gone, but being from the UK means heavy rain is only just around the corner, summer or not! There’s nothing we can do to control the weather, so we just have to learn to roll with it and appreciate the beautiful, green nature which it brings about. If you still want to be out and about as the rain continues to fall, check out these tips for mountain biking while it’s pouring from the heavens.
1. Waterproof Jacket
This might seem obvious to say, but you should firstly get a waterproof jacket. A lot of people use a windbreaker and think it’s the same, but it’s not. If you wear one during heavy rain you’ll finish the route soaked to the skin. A good waterproof jacket may mean your budget needs to stretch, but it’s the most important part of mountain biking in rainy weather.
2. Avoid cotton
If you know that there’s even a chance of rain, then avoid all cotton pieces of clothing, this even includes your socks and underwear. Cotton absorbs the water and takes ages to dry, whereas with polyester clothing you can squeeze it out and notice the difference right away.
3. Save your gloves for the descent
This is a great tip which few people know about but it’s incredibly useful. Most cyclists will put their gloves on at the first sign of rain when on the ascent. However, under constant rainfall this error can cause a potential safety issue. When you reach the top, your gloves will be soaked and once the descent begins your hands will feel a numbing coldness. It’s at this point your fingers can be ‘frozen’, so to speak, giving you trouble braking on the way down. Instead, put on your gloves to start the descent and the cold will disappear soon enough.
4. Keep going
Even if the rain is falling heavily, you can avoid getting a cold if you keep moving. You don’t need to put on 5 layers. Exercising increases body temperature and if you’re wearing a waterproof jacket a well you’ll be extra toasty.
5. Bag for important things
]Simply put, you should store your valuable things like your phone and wallet as well as important things like toilet paper your tools in airtight bags.
6. Move away from open areas
In the forest you run the risk of being a lightning rod. If the rain starts to fall harder or you can see the warning signs of a thunderstorm you should stop or just go back. Stay away from open areas and don’t stand under trees.