From Drought to Downpour
I lived in Austin Texas for two years and only got caught cycling in the rain a few times. I’ve been living on the Caribbean island of Grenada for 8 months and have been out riding in a downpour several times already.
Talk about totally going from drought to downpour.
During the time we lived in Austin, they were seriously suffering from drought-like conditions. It got so bad that the wildfires were out of control even within the city. Whenever there was a drop of rain, the Austinites on social media would blow up and there would be nothing but rain talk. It’s the driest conditions I’ve ever lived in. But it sure made for some nice dry roads to cycle on.
Now I’m in Grenada and things couldn’t be any more extreme from the drought we lived in. It rains here, and it can rain a lot. It doesn’t stop me from riding, but there are times when I feel like I’m taking a shower and not riding a bike.
Riding a bicycle in Grenada can be insanity at the best of times, but try adding in a downpour and it’s semi-suicide. Narrow roads, holes, and drivers who don’t have a clue how to deal with bicycles……and you know what adding rain can do to the mix, right?
I really haven’t had to ride in too many downpours in my cycling life, so now I’m jumping into it along with the nasty conditions. I’m not sure if I would call these tips or not, but here’s some of the things that I keep in mind while riding in the pouring rain.
Just Do It - It’s so easy to see the rain beating down and tell yourself not to get out there. I’ve considered it a couple times, but then I just get out there and do it anyway.
Sunglasses – I don’t need the sunglasses for their usual purpose when it’s raining, but when those drops are pelting down it’s nice to have something protecting my eyes. What I usually end up doing is pushing down the glasses so they are halfway down the bridge of my nose. That way I can see clearly over the top when the lenses get all wet. But having them there still helps with some of the spray coming towards my eyes.
Holes – There are some serious potholes on these roads and when it’s wet it can be hard to tell how deep a puddle is going to be. It’s best to be safe and avoid all the puddles….especially if you don’t absolutely know the road.
Clothing – I personally don’t have to worry about having rain gear with me. No matter how hard it’s raining, or what part of the year it is….it’s always warm in Grenada. I’m sure having rain-proof clothing would be nice, but I’m totally okay with getting wet.
Fenders/Mask – When I take my mountain bike in the rain, I get soaked from all directions. The tires seem to have a tread pattern that throws the water from the road directly into my face. Instead of having fenders for my mountain bike, I get all gangster looking and wear a bandana to cover my nose and mouth. That way I don’t have to taste the oil and crap from the road as it gets tossed in my face. I know fenders would be easier, but I’m cheap and things like that are hard to get here in Grenada….so the mask works perfectly fine.
Speed – Roads can get very slippery when wet….especially when on road tires. If you’re a speed demon like me it can be hard to force yourself to slow it down, but it definitely makes sense to ease up on wet windy roads.
Drivers – It’s almost like some drivers have their brain cells melt away with the rain. Yeah, you know those people in vehicles who just can’t seem to drive once the rain starts coming down. Once the moisture hits the air it’s best to be overly proactive, and don’t expect vehicles to necessarily behave in the way you’d expect.
Are you a rain riding expert? Let us know about your tips for cycling in the rain.