Riding in the Rain

Here Comes the Rain Again – Adjusting Your Cycling Commute for the Coming Rain Season

It’s easy to fall in love with biking in Davis. Spring is enchanting. Summer is hot. Autumn brings back the students and then the leaves begin to turn. It really is a beautiful place to be. But during the wet season (November through February), cyclists may find their love with biking in Davis is on the rocks. From the time change, to riding in the cold, and cruising along slick roads, many would-be bicyclists resort to other means of transportation…and at a much higher cost! If you are a cyclist apprehensive about riding on wet roads, consider these simple steps and save yourself a whole lot of money by staying in the saddle you know and love.

Step 1: Be Lit
See and be seen! You should buy and use a GOOD set of bike lights (front and rear) for riding in low-light and in the nighttime. The white front light should shine a spot on the ground at least 10 feet in front of the bicycle in the dark. Usually, any light claiming 200+ lumens or 10+ lux will get the job done. For the rear, just about any red blinking tail light will suffice. If you can get USB-rechargeable lights, all the better. Lastly, you should remove your lights when you leave your bike to ensure no wandering fingers deprive you of a safe ride home! Bike lights may be purchased at the Bike Barn, or stop by the TS building for a free pair!

Step 2: Dress for the Wet and Cold
Davis’ average temperature in November is in the low 60s with  mornings being in the low- to mid-40s. And then there’s the rain. Does that mean we stop biking? No way! A good pair of waterproof gloves and a rain shell jacket to go over a sweater will handle the weather just fine! We suggest rain shells because they can layer on top of anything, but not all thick raincoats have removable insulation.

Step 3: Prepare Your Bike
Don’t worry, you won’t need special rain tires or anything. Just make sure you take care of you chain. Cyclists can save a lot of money in potential repairs or replacement parts simply by investing in a tiny bottle of bike chain lubricant. In the rain, a bike chain will get rusty without proper lubrication, making it difficult to near impossible for the bicycle to function. One drop of lube on each chain link every couple weeks will ensure that the bike you depend on in the fall is still ridable in the spring. Additionally, a couple drops of lube in your bicycle lock’s keyhole (and any other moving parts in the lock) will help protect the lock from seizing or rusting.

Just make sure to follow our steps above to ensure that your autumn and winter rides are safe and warm as well. Few places in America have sufficient facilities to make a wet and rainy commute easy and enjoyable so please take this opportunity to partake in the fun.

And as always, if you have any questions about biking at UC Davis, please send us an email at goClub@ucdavis.edu

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