While cycling in the rain is usually not someone’s first choice, it’s an inevitable part of cycling for most riders–especially in the Pacific Northwest. Here are some tried and true tips on how to cycle in the rain.
Tips for Cycling In Rain
Invest In A Waterproof Cycling Rain Jacket
Keeping your torso dry will help your body regulate temperature. Remember to make sure the material is also breathable! We love waterproof cycling rain jackets from Oregon-based Showers Pass.
Fit Some Mudguards
Keep splash off of yourself and others behind you with front and back mudguards. They will keep your feet, lower legs, and back dry.
Wear A Cycling Cap
Wearing a cycling cap under the helmet helps prevent rain from getting into your eyes, with the peak deflecting any spray. It also keeps your head warm by adding another layer of clothing under your helmet.
Avoid Standing Water
Is it a puddle or a deep pothole? Riding through standing water can damage your bike or even yourself if you’re thrown off.
Keep Your Hands And Feet Dry
Invest in some water-resistant cycling overshoes or waterproof socks for your feet. These will keep your feet warm and dry to enjoy your ride. As for gloves, try to find a thin waterproof pair that won’t impair your bike control.
Stay Seen And Use Lights
When cycling in the rain, lights will help you see the roads better, and it will help you be more visible to others on the road. At minimum, you should have reflective lights on the front and back of your bike. Wearing hi-vis apparel will help you stand out too.
Is it safe to cycle in the rain?
Yes, it is safe to cycle in the rain! Just remember to use a little extra caution if surfaces are wet (just like you would in a vehicle!).
Remember, if you plan on riding your bike for more than a couple of miles, wear waterproof gear and well-insulated clothing.
Best gear for cycling in the rain
If you plan on cycling through some heavy rain, it’s best to look for a fully waterproof jacket. Some features you want to look for are a high collar to keep the rain from dripping inside your coat, long sleeves to cover the gap between your cuffs and gloves, and a long tail to cover your back and bottom from any spray that kicks up from the road.
We highly recommend our partner, Shower’s Pass, for waterproof cycling gear. They specialize in waterproof and breathable rain gear. Their products are used by cyclists, mountaineers, runners, and endurance athletes who demand high performance and reliability from their gear. Shower’s Pass also focuses on sustainability with their products by using clean color dyes, recycled fabrics, and responsible wool standard-certified merino wool.
Does cycling in the rain damage your bike?
Think about your car during the rain or snow. Dirt, debris, and ice melt gets splashed all around your car and even under it. Something similar happens to your bike when you cycle in the rain, and many of these same elements will attach themselves to your frame and moving parts.
Your chain, brake pads, rims, and frame are the most at risk for holding dirt and debris after a rainy ride. Riding with mudguards will help reduce the amount of debris you may need to clean, but is not a total solution. To keep your bike in top condition, we recommend drying and cleaning your bike immediately after a ride in the rain.
Drying your bike after rain
Riding your bike in the rain can expose it to several types of debris that could eventually it. To ensure the longevity of your bike, use the following guide to dry your bike after a rainy ride:
Remove The Gunk
Remove any road grime or mud that accumulated on your bike. We recommend cleaning with a sponge and soapy water. Tip: Do not use a hose to rinse your bike; the pressurized water could get into bearings, promoting wear.
Clean The Rims And Brake Pads
Road grime, if left untreated, can wear down the rims and brake pads more quickly and make them less efficient. If the soap doesn’t work, try a little bit of rubbing alcohol.
Dry The Bike
Wipe down every single component on your bike and ensure any steel parts have been thoroughly dried.
Apply grease or lubricant to the chain and cables. Apply an ample amount of grease to the chain, let the lubricant sit for a few moments to penetrate, and then remove any excess with a rag.
Come ride with Cycle Oregon!
Do you love Oregon AND Cycling? Sign up for one of our cycling events, rain or shine (though we are planning for shine)! Rides are open to everyone and all skill levels.
- Month: September
- Duration: 8 Days
- Cumulative Distance: 272-443 Miles
- Month: May
- Duration: 2 Days
- Cumulative Distance: 91-109 Miles
I rode in the third incarnation of the ride way back when and now getting older am thinking of doing it again as the last hurrah.
Phil, just do it!
I rode my first Cycle Oregon in 1993, and my second (at age 72) in 2022.
My biggest regret is that I waited so long.
And it will definitely NOT be my last hurrah. Don’t let it be yours.
Just go do it Phil! I rode my first Cycle Oregon in 1993, and my second one (at age 72) in 2002. My biggest regret is waiting so long to do it again! I do not intend for the 2002 ride to be my last hurrah!
I know Shower’s Pass (and probably others) makes a waterproof cycling cap that’s been great for the rain. I also wear their rain pants, which are great for commuting, but I probably wouldn’t use for a longer ride. The pants have a reinforced butt area.. which is nice, because saddle rub caused a problem with my previous 2 pairs.
I have also discovered that rain and dampness will seep into your handlebar tape, so be sure to dry that too; perhaps with a blow dryer, bringing it inside if your heat is on or just wrapping it with something that will attract the water out of it