Cycling and the rain: when it makes sense to train (and when it doesn’t)
Does it make sense to train in the rain? Or is that an unnecessary risk?
For many of us, not professionals but amateurs, the doubt does not arise: when it rains, the bike stays in the garage and, those of us who have it, on the turbo trainer.
But there are those who see some magic in pedalling in the rain.
Of course, if we are in Belgium or northern Europe, the question would not arise, not least because it rains so often there that it would be practically impossible to go out without risk of rain, especially at certain times of the year.
The reality is that every situation is different, sometimes you can, other times it is absolutely better to avoid it.
HOW MUCH RAIN IS THERE?
The first thing to consider: How strong is the rain? And is the rain expected to increase?
If there are storms and heavy rains, it’s obviously better to stay home. Going out in these cases doesn’t make much sense: you don’t have fun and it’s also very dangerous because of the wet asphalt, the poor visibility and the risk of hail.
If it’s a steady, calm rain, there’s no big deal, unless…
IN WINTER? BETTER NOT
In summer the rain can be a relief, but in winter it’s not the same. If rain is combined with temperatures below 8-10 degrees, it is best to avoid going outside. The temperature perception will be even lower, which is not good. Let’s consider the fact that if conditions are so extreme, even professionals can’t train…
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
- Slippery asphalt. It will be necessary to reduce the usual tyre pressure, avoid touching the white stripes on the asphalt and bear in mind that braking time will increase.
- Visibility. You’re much less visible in the rain, especially to cars. Lights and clothing with reflective elements are indispensable in this case.
- Catching a cold. This is the most common risk: Getting a cold due to the cold weather. In this case, the clothes used will make a difference.
THE RIGHT CLOTHES AND ROUTES
To train in the rain, especially in winter, you need appropriate clothing.
Overshoes and waterproof gloves and full-face helmets, these are just some of the basic tricks. But you have to be careful when wearing technical clothes so you don’t sweat too much, which would be even worse.
A wise choice of route is also essential. As visibility will be reduced, it is better to opt for roads that are not heavily travelled. It is also best to avoid long descents. Also, in general, it is better to avoid training sessions and outings lasting more than two hours.
GRAVEL AND MTB?
Gravel and mountain biking are highly recommended activities in case of rain. They allow you to pedal in isolated areas, away from traffic, perhaps even where there is less wind (which is not bad). Also, moderate speeds make it less cold.
Finally, the type of training is also something to take into account: the higher the intensity, the hotter your body will get and the more you will feel hot during the start.
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