Summer is passing by fast and soon we will find ourselves in autumn, a season often characterized by bad weather. Rain can discourage many cyclists from going on the long-expected weekend rides, relegating the beloved bike in the shadow of a shed until the sun will start shining again.
But what many cyclists don’t know is that the true spirit of mountain biking can be enjoyed even on the rainiest days. In fact, rain can add an extra touch to a usual ride on the paths or hilltops behind your house or around your city.
Apart from the adventure consideration, riding on rainy days is also beneficial in terms of improving mountain biking techniques. On a muddy and slippery terrain is more difficult to maintain the control of the bike, therefore you will be able to improve your balance and understand how to change the center of gravity with ease.
Nevertheless, some advice is always handy, therefore our 10 top tips to mountain biking in the rain could certainly help you.
1. Adjust The Tire Pressure According To The Ground
Even if you are a newbie you should know by now that the tire pressure must always be adjusted to the characteristics of the ground you ride on. For instance, those who prefer road biking should have more inflated tires compared to the ones who practice mountain biking.
But the pressure of the tires if you decide to ride on a rainy day must be even lower than in dry conditions. The reason is simple, on a slippery terrain you need more grip, and to do this you need to increase the footprint of the tires by deflating them.
2. Mount Organic Brake Pads
Typically, the cycling sessions during rainy weather are not excessively long, and the cold weather together with the moist have a negative impact on the adaptability of the metal brake pads to the atmospheric conditions.
Organic brake pads, on the other hand, don’t have this downside and provide the same efficiency regardless of the temperature and air humidity. If organic pads are not for you, on the market there are also available semi-metallic pads that also have a prompt and effective braking.
3. Moderate Speed
Unless you are a world mountain biking champion, it is best practice to moderate speed when riding on muddy and slippery terrains. The reason is simple. Wet terrain plus high speed mean low control, therefore moderating speed especially in downhill will increase your safety.
Moreover, at a lower speed, you will also be able to detect the trajectories in advance and notice any obstacles that might be present on the path.
4. Pay Attention To Using The Brakes
Another important thing to keep in mind when cycling in the rain is that you have to pay attention to how and when you are using the brakes. For example, if there are rocks under the wheels when you brake, they might slip on the muddy terrain compromising your safety.
This advice is a consequence of the advice above because if you moderate speed you will reduce the use of brakes and, consequently, reduce the hazards.
5. Avoid Sudden Changes Of Direction
This is another rule that applies to mountain biking even when the weather is dry, but it certainly gets more value when applied if it’s raining. The sudden changes of directions refer to changes in the trajectory because of the presence of obstacles.
When you enter on a new path, it is always a good idea to inspect the trajectory and decide the line of direction, to avoid in this way, losing control of the bike.
6. Choose The Cleanest Trajectory
Just as the sudden changes of direction, this rule applies regardless of the atmospheric conditions but following it when it is rainy is essential. Choosing the cleanest trajectory means choosing the path that presents the fewer hazards even if it determines you to lose speed.
Talking about speed, we already explained at point number 3 why you should moderate it, therefore this shouldn’t affect you unless your life is depending on getting to the destination in less time.
7. Maintain Balance When Riding On Muddy Or Slippery Stretches
If the path is really muddy, or if it presents other hazards, such as slippery rocks or branches, maintaining the balance of the bike by centering your weight on the point of gravity is essential.
If the bike isn’t well balanced, losing control and falling off is easy, and depending on the characteristics of the terrain you ride on it might cost you a bruise or your life.
8. Pay Attention When Handling Curves
When handling curves on wet terrains, pay attention to the technique. You should use as much of the side of the tires as possible, increasing the footprint and consequently the grip.
It is also advisable to reduce speed and avoid braking when taking a curve on a slippery terrain.
9. Maintain An Active Drive
Remember that you should always have the control of your bike and not vice versa. This means that you will have to keep your self-control and maintain a “loose” ride regardless of the situation you have to deal with.
In this way, you will be able to respond better to any challenges the path brings and avoid losing control of the bike.
10. You Can’t Slip If You Don’t Touch The Ground
This advice should be followed only by those who have at least some experience in mountain biking and who are able to perform a proper bunny hop technique.
This technique requires riders to jump over certain obstacles, such as roots or large rocks. If you master this technique, you can certainly reduce some of the riding hazards, yet be extra careful on the characteristics of the landing point.