While it’s dangerous to experience the wrath of Mother Nature firsthand, sometimes you can’t help yourself from biking in the rain. Whether it’s by accident or on purpose, you may experience dangers that you wouldn’t in dry conditions if you’re out biking in the rain. Prepare yourself for dangerous, wet terrain with our essential list of safety tips for mountain biking in rainy conditions and you’ll make it back home healthy and in one piece.
The Flatter the Trail, the Better
Though mountains and uphill trails are the most exciting parts of mountain biking, if the trail conditions and weather are poor, then it’s not worth risking your health for the thrill. Mountainside trails can easily submit to mudslides during a torrential rainfall, or the trail may slip beneath your tires and result in a hazardous fall. If it starts raining, keep it simple and stick to the trails far away from cliffs and slick hillsides.
If you get stuck in the rain in the middle of a mountainside ride, take the extra time to analyze the conditions of your potential routes home. You want to get home as soon as possible, but you also want to do it safely. Keep your cool and know your (and your bike’s) limits.
Prep Yourself With High-Quality Rain Gear
When you know there’s a high risk for rain, even light rain, prepare your bag with your waterproof rain gear. Getting soaked during a ride pumps you full of adrenaline until you start to feel the cold. The chills of wet clothes can bring a wild ride to an abrupt end when the rain soaks into your skin. Protect yourself by buying a high-quality rain jacket that doubles as excellent activewear. With the right rain jacket, pants, and shoes, you can splash in puddles all you want without feeling the effects of the brutally cold water.
Make Sure Your Bike Is Always Weather Ready
Don’t leave the house without checking on your bike and making sure that it’s ready for the worst conditions the great outdoors has to offer. Check its tires and mudguards for damage, along with the bike’s basic functionality. If a bike doesn’t work, it won’t take you home safely during a sudden pop-up rainstorm. Your checklist for safety tips for mountain biking in rainy conditions should include lowering the tire pressure more than you would for dry conditions. Lower tire pressure means that tires have better grip on slick surfaces. Always keep an eye on your break effectiveness—bad breaks and bad weather don’t mix well!