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Rain Riding

By Dan Smith
Certified USA Cycling Elite Coach

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we don't really have a winter--we have a rainy season that can get cold. Sometimes it's nasty, but it still isn't really a winter like the kind in other parts of the country. So, for better or worse, we get to ride our bikes year-round if we ride in the rain! But no matter where you ride, eventually you will want to ride in the rain. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Don't ride on the painted lines. They are much slicker than the road surface. The video of Lance Armstrong winning Worlds in 1993 in a downpour dramatically illustrates this guideline, with lots of pros slipping and sliding. Of course, sometimes you can't avoid riding on lines, so be prepared to slip a little when you do ride across them.

2. Riding in a cold rain? Think warm, not waterproof. If you try to be completely waterproof, you will sweat inside the waterproof gear, and end up cold and wet. I like the plastic rain capes for a complete downpour or descent, but I like them better after I cut the sleeves off so I don't sweat in them.

3. Rainy group rides mean that you will get road muck in your eyes. Either go to the front or draft someone with a fender. Which leads to the next guideline:

4. Put a plastic fender on your bike. Your rainy day peloton will thank you!

5. A small sprinkle brings oil out on the road; a downpour washes it away. So, the more it rains, the less slick the road surface can be! But be careful when you corner, no matter how hard it is raining.

6. Want to dry your shoes for the next ride? Remove the inserts, ball up newspaper, and shove the newspaper in your shoes.

Dan Smith is a Certified USA Cycling Elite coach who offers custom bike services and coaching to endurance athletes. He resides in Menlo Park, California.

To find out more about Dan, and his coaching services, please go to BicycleCoach.com and visit his Professional Profile page: http://www.bicyclecoach.com/profile.php?id=dan@sportvelo.com



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