Women Bike: A Guide to Biking in the Rain

#WinterIsHere. You know what that means—cold wet rides, where it rains practically everyday and you bike everywhere. Biking in the rain. What a terrible, horrible idea…but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Encouraging more women to bike in the rain can be a hard but fun task. The first and most important step to biking in the rain…change your attitude. Changing your attitude creates a positive atmosphere, which in turn makes for an enjoyable, safe and relaxed ride. Following are a few tips to keep in mind when biking in the rain:

  • Be cautious of slippery roads. Metal (utility hole covers), paint (bike markings), and other debris (pile of leaves) become slippery during the rain.
  • Be HIGHLY visible. Neon and bright colors are important in dim, not dark, conditions. Wear reflective clothing over your waterproof gear. Plenty of bright lights and reflectors (more on that below) and will make you more visible to anyone on the road, especially motorists.
  • A slower ride is a safer ride. Bike brakes are less effective when wet. Take it slower than normal, and allow more time to come to stop.
  • Watch out for puddles. Have you heard of bike-eating puddles? Well, they’re real. Even small puddles can hide big things like potholes, which can cause a flat tire or a crash.

What goes on your body? A crucial step for prepping to bike in the rain: have all your gear ready, so you don’t arrive at your destination soaking wet. Let’s be honest, this has happened to the best of us 🙂 Having the appropriate waterproof gear will keep you dry and warm. Start with a synthetic or wool baselayer. Next, include a wool or fleece layer to keep you warm. Finish with a waterproof layer: jacket or rain cape and rainpants. Don’t forget…gloves, footwear (waterproof booties or inexpensive rubber boots), and even a helmet cover; all will help keep you dry. Additionally, having a waterproof pannier, backpack, or bag will keep your valuables (and extra change of clothes) dry.

What goes on your bike? Keeping your bike visible is important. Bright lights and reflectors on your front, rear, and sides are important during the dark, rainy months (state law requires white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front; red reflector, lighting device, or material of such size or characteristics and so mounted as to be visible from all distances up to 600 feet to the rear). Full bike fenders (and a buddy flap) are important, as they will keep you dry, as well as preventing dirt and grit all over your bike and drivetrain.

Investing in these pieces might cost you a pretty penny, but there are plenty of inexpensive and great options out there (check out your local surplus or sporting goods store)…also biking is not just a passion, it’s a lifestyle. Follow all of the above tips, and your ride will be safe AND enjoyable. Women bikers, get your waterproof gear, and let’s bike in the rain!

Become a Roll Model! 

Do you love biking? Are there women in your community of friends, coworkers and neighbors interested in biking? Become a Street Trust Roll Model, and help spread your love of biking to your community! We are looking for women who enjoy biking to be part of this year’s Women Bike Roll Model Program.

Get Connected!

Sign up for our Women Bike E-Newsletter, and stay up to date on all Women Bike events and happenings.

Join us at an upcoming social event:

Monthly Coffee Club: March 15, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.

  • Cup & Bar, 118 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland

Monthly Happy Hour: March 23, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

  • Lucky Labrador, 915 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland  


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