Bike touring in the rain is rarely anyone’s first choice but when the skies open, don’t abandon your ride.
In all but the heaviest downpours, cycling in the rain is definitely possible and often enjoyable. Sometimes it’s even preferable. Rain makes landscapes come alive in a way that they don’t on a sunny day. Flowers glisten. Brooks start gushing. Rainbows appear.
Rainy days are also a great time to cycle a route that would otherwise see a lot of tourists. While everyone else sits in their hotel, you can have the road all to yourself.
In this, the second of a 3-part series on cycling in the rain, we share tips for bike touring in wet conditions. Be sure to check out the other articles in the series: the equipment we recommend for bike touring in wet weather and how to take care of your bike after riding in the rain.
On with the tips…
1. Rain Doesn’t Last Forever – In over 1,100 days on the road, it’s hard to think of more than a handful when we had rain for an entire day. Most of the time, rain lasts a few hours at most or comes in bursts, giving you a chance to dry out a bit between showers. Don’t be fooled into thinking that means you should stay in your tent and wait it out. Often, the rain didn’t leave us, we left the rain. In as little as an hour, you can cycle out of a rain system into totally different, and far better, weather.
2. Make It Fun – It’s all about attitude when you’re bike touring. In the right mood, a mountain can seem like barely a bump in the road but if you’re in a funk the same mountain turns into a climb that feels like it just might kill you. Rainy days are exactly the same. If you go outside convinced it’s going to be miserable, that’s exactly how you’ll end up. Instead, try to capture the same spirit a 5 year old has when he’s gleefully jumping in puddles. On rainy days, we know we’re going to get at least a little wet, so we hit the road with plenty of spirit and “let’s make the best of it” attitude. Rainy days are silly days. We make up contests, like “Who can sing the worst country song in the strongest twang possible?”. We tell jokes and set ourselves challenges, like figuring out how many pedal strokes we cover in a day. By the time we do all this, there’s no time left to concentrate on the rain.
3. Allow More Time – When you’re cycling in the rain, everything takes a little longer. Slippery streets and puddles mean you don’t roll as quickly as you would on a sunny day and cafes become much more tempting places to linger. That’s fine, as long as you pare back your expectations. If you normally cycle 80km a day, aim for 60km on a rainy day.
4. Choose Different Food – On a wet day, you might not want to sit around and have the same leisurely lunch break as you usually have. You might have to eat in the rain and even if you find a bus stop or other shelter to eat in, it may be a little too cold to sit around for long. For that reason, on rainy days we pick food that requires no preparation. Bananas, carrot sticks, granola bars and pastries would make up a typical wet weather lunch.
5. Pick Your Camping Spot Wisely – If it’s been raining, or you think it might rain overnight, then think carefully about where you’ll pitch your tent. Avoid low-lying areas, indentations in the ground and rivers that might flood. Fields that will turn into mud pits are also a bad idea. Camping spots with trees are wonderful because they allow you to rig up a tarp. With the extra outdoor space that a tarp brings you can cook, read and talk outdoors, without getting wet. This makes a rainy camping experience a lot more tolerable, rather than being cooped up in a tent.
For an example of what happens when you camp in a field and it rains, watch the video we took as we tried to leave a wild camping spot in Turkey. You’ll hear that we are not very happy. It wasn’t the rain that was the problem, but the mud that clogged our wheels. It took us over an hour to get out of the field and clear the wheels so they could roll again.
6. Treat Yourself – No matter how good your attitude is to rainy cycling, after a few hours you will be at least slightly wet (perhaps totally soaked if the rain is coming down hard) and you deserve a treat. This is the time to stretch your budget and have lunch in a restaurant. Better yet, if you usually camp, go for a hotel. A hot shower feels 10 times better after a wet day on the road and taking a hotel lets you dry out your gear so you don’t have to worry about waking up to wet shoes or mildew forming in your tent. This isn’t so important on the first day of rain, but if you’ve been cycling in wet weather for two days or more, your gear can start to smell if it doesn’t dry out. We followed the ‘splurge’ theory when we encountered several days of rain in New Zealand and after a wet day in Canada. Both times, it was money well spent. Tip: If you need to dry out your shoes at night, stuff them as full as you can with tightly balled up newspaper. The newspaper will soak up the water. Check after a couple hours and replace the paper if necessary.
7. Be Visible – Cars can’t see as far ahead in the rain and they’re less likely to anticipate a cyclist on the road on a grey day. Make sure you wear bright clothing and turn on your lights so that you’re as obvious as possible on the road.
2nd November 2016 at 8:43 pm #
8) Keep checking the weather forcasts on your phone.
9) If the rain is going to be really heavy don’t try to cycle. Hold up under a bridge or some other place of shelter for a couple of days if necessary.
16th March 2022 at 3:05 am #
I am only commenting to make you be aware of what a fine encounter my wife’s child enjoyed viewing your site. She even learned many things, with the inclusion of what it’s like to have an amazing coaching spirit to have a number of people with no trouble gain knowledge of specific grueling matters. You actually surpassed visitors’ expected results. Many thanks for coming up with the priceless, dependable, explanatory not to mention fun tips on that topic to Lizeth.
16th March 2022 at 3:07 am #
I wanted to send you the very small word just to say thank you yet again just for the incredible views you have discussed here. It was really incredibly open-handed of you to provide openly precisely what a lot of people could possibly have made available as an e book in order to make some money on their own, most importantly now that you might well have done it if you wanted. Those tactics likewise worked like a fantastic way to recognize that some people have a similar dream much like mine to know the truth many more when it comes to this condition. I think there are numerous more enjoyable sessions ahead for people who looked at your site.
19th April 2022 at 5:51 am #
25th April 2022 at 5:20 pm #
That’s very good point
8th May 2022 at 5:51 am #
Why is it I always really feel like you do?
9th July 2022 at 2:26 pm #
I simply desired to say thanks once again. I’m not certain the things that I could possibly have taken care of without the entire tips discussed by you regarding this situation. This has been an absolute depressing scenario in my opinion, nevertheless understanding the very specialised approach you handled it forced me to jump for gladness. I am thankful for your support as well as hope you recognize what a powerful job you are getting into instructing the mediocre ones through the use of a site. I am sure you have never got to know all of us.
9th July 2022 at 2:27 pm #
I must express my love for your generosity giving support to persons who need assistance with in this issue. Your real dedication to getting the message all over had become amazingly effective and has regularly enabled guys and women like me to get to their targets. Your entire interesting key points denotes so much to me and a whole lot more to my mates. Regards; from all of us.
9th July 2022 at 2:27 pm #
I needed to write you one tiny note to help say thanks a lot again regarding the splendid ideas you have featured on this site. It is certainly unbelievably generous with you to deliver openly all a few people could have offered for sale as an e book to help with making some profit on their own, specifically considering the fact that you might have done it in the event you wanted. These creative ideas likewise acted to be the fantastic way to comprehend someone else have a similar passion like my own to figure out a great deal more related to this condition. I’m certain there are some more fun times in the future for folks who look into your site.
13th July 2022 at 3:20 pm #
Thank you for your own hard work on this site. My mom takes pleasure in engaging in internet research and it is simple to grasp why. My spouse and i learn all about the dynamic manner you produce good tips and hints by means of your website and in addition recommend participation from other people on that point plus our favorite girl is certainly becoming educated a whole lot. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You’re conducting a first class job.
21st July 2022 at 9:54 pm #
I’m writing to make you know of the brilliant discovery my wife’s child had visiting yuor web blog. She discovered a lot of things, including what it’s like to have an awesome teaching heart to let many more completely learn about specified hard to do subject areas. You truly did more than visitors’ expected results. Many thanks for offering these invaluable, safe, edifying and as well as unique tips on the topic to Gloria.
21st July 2022 at 9:55 pm #
I have to point out my appreciation for your kindness giving support to those people who require help on your idea. Your personal dedication to getting the solution around was pretty important and have always encouraged guys and women much like me to get to their endeavors. Your amazing warm and friendly guideline implies this much a person like me and still more to my fellow workers. Warm regards; from each one of us.
9th August 2022 at 1:04 am #
I precisely needed to appreciate you once more. I am not sure the things that I would’ve handled in the absence of the points documented by you about such area of interest. It had become a frightening case for me, nevertheless taking a look at the expert technique you managed that forced me to cry with contentment. I will be thankful for the work and then have high hopes you find out what a powerful job you’re putting in educating the others via your site. I am sure you’ve never encountered all of us.
9th August 2022 at 1:05 am #
I wanted to write down a message in order to thank you for all the magnificent steps you are showing here. My considerable internet research has finally been paid with reliable suggestions to go over with my guests. I would assume that we visitors are unquestionably endowed to be in a fine community with many outstanding people with very helpful tactics. I feel somewhat lucky to have come across the webpage and look forward to really more fun times reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.
27th August 2022 at 9:12 pm #
I would like to express my appreciation to the writer just for bailing me out of this particular problem. Just after surfing throughout the search engines and coming across tricks which were not pleasant, I believed my life was gone. Existing devoid of the answers to the issues you’ve solved by means of the article is a serious case, as well as those which may have badly damaged my entire career if I hadn’t come across your blog. The mastery and kindness in maneuvering all the things was tremendous. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not come across such a solution like this. It’s possible to at this point relish my future. Thank you so much for your specialized and effective help. I won’t hesitate to recommend the sites to any individual who should have recommendations on this issue.
27th August 2022 at 9:13 pm #
I simply desired to say thanks yet again. I’m not certain what I would’ve done without the actual concepts discussed by you relating to that subject matter. Completely was a real fearsome problem in my position, however , considering a new well-written manner you processed the issue made me to leap for happiness. Extremely grateful for your support and then hope that you comprehend what a powerful job you are always undertaking instructing people today by way of your webpage. More than likely you’ve never encountered all of us.
28th October 2022 at 12:02 am #
I wish to get across my gratitude for your kind-heartedness giving support to people who actually need help on this particular area of interest. Your personal dedication to getting the message throughout had been incredibly powerful and have continually encouraged some individuals like me to reach their desired goals. Your personal interesting publication can mean this much to me and somewhat more to my mates. Many thanks; from all of us.
28th October 2022 at 12:03 am #
I happen to be writing to make you understand of the helpful discovery my cousin’s girl undergone viewing the blog. She came to understand many things, most notably how it is like to have a marvelous coaching nature to get many others smoothly fully understand some hard to do matters. You really did more than our own desires. Many thanks for producing such practical, trustworthy, explanatory and in addition easy tips about this topic to Evelyn.
28th October 2022 at 11:24 am #
I simply desired to say thanks all over again. I am not sure what I could possibly have made to happen without the actual basics shown by you regarding this problem. Certainly was a real challenging concern in my opinion, however , encountering the well-written manner you handled the issue forced me to leap over joy. I’m just thankful for this work and in addition trust you know what an amazing job you happen to be accomplishing training men and women by way of your blog. More than likely you have never got to know any of us.
3rd November 2022 at 11:38 am #
I have to voice my admiration for your generosity for women who must have guidance on in this idea. Your personal commitment to getting the message across had been exceedingly beneficial and have specifically made ladies just like me to reach their ambitions. Your entire informative tutorial signifies this much to me and much more to my peers. Many thanks; from each one of us.
10th November 2022 at 6:36 am #
Needed to put you a tiny remark to help give thanks yet again for the pleasing pointers you’ve featured in this article. It is so strangely generous of you to convey freely what exactly most people could have offered for sale for an e-book in making some money for themselves, notably seeing that you could possibly have tried it in the event you considered necessary. These techniques additionally worked to become a fantastic way to be sure that many people have similar desire similar to mine to realize a great deal more around this condition. I know there are some more fun moments up front for those who check out your site.
11th November 2022 at 8:34 am #
I would like to show my affection for your kindness giving support to folks who need help on this area. Your personal commitment to passing the message all over ended up being unbelievably helpful and have continuously permitted most people like me to realize their targets. Your own invaluable help entails a whole lot to me and substantially more to my mates. Thanks a lot; from everyone of us.
11th November 2022 at 8:34 am #
I precisely needed to thank you very much all over again. I’m not certain the things that I might have created without the entire concepts documented by you over that situation. It actually was a frightening problem for me, nevertheless encountering a well-written strategy you managed it took me to leap over contentment. I’m grateful for the assistance and thus wish you comprehend what an amazing job you are carrying out teaching the rest by way of a web site. I am certain you’ve never got to know any of us.
15th November 2022 at 2:59 pm #
Thank you so much for giving everyone remarkably breathtaking opportunity to discover important secrets from here. It really is very enjoyable and packed with fun for me and my office co-workers to search your website no less than 3 times a week to find out the latest tips you have. And indeed, I’m just at all times fulfilled for the terrific principles you serve. Selected 1 ideas in this article are without a doubt the most impressive I’ve ever had.
15th November 2022 at 3:00 pm #
I want to point out my love for your generosity for people that should have help on the subject matter. Your real dedication to passing the solution throughout ended up being amazingly insightful and have continuously permitted professionals much like me to arrive at their aims. Your entire important useful information implies a lot to me and additionally to my office workers. Thanks a ton; from each one of us.
22nd November 2022 at 2:02 am #
I wanted to write you the bit of word just to thank you very much again for all the awesome solutions you’ve provided at this time. It was really unbelievably generous of you to allow openly all that most of us might have advertised for an electronic book to make some money for their own end, primarily considering the fact that you could possibly have tried it in the event you decided. These techniques likewise acted to be the fantastic way to fully grasp that the rest have the identical desire the same as my very own to understand a lot more pertaining to this issue. I am sure there are some more pleasant periods up front for individuals that look over your website.
25th November 2022 at 10:32 pm #
I’m just commenting to let you be aware of what a great discovery my wife’s princess undergone visiting your blog. She noticed lots of details, not to mention how it is like to possess a very effective helping spirit to get the others just master specified extremely tough things. You undoubtedly exceeded people’s desires. Thanks for imparting those necessary, safe, informative and unique guidance on the topic to Kate.
25th November 2022 at 10:33 pm #
I wish to show my gratitude for your kindness supporting folks that absolutely need assistance with your area of interest. Your personal dedication to passing the solution all over came to be unbelievably helpful and has consistently permitted associates much like me to get to their dreams. The invaluable help means this much to me and further more to my peers. Many thanks; from each one of us.
27th November 2022 at 6:11 pm #
I actually wanted to post a small message to be able to say thanks to you for those wonderful suggestions you are posting on this site. My extended internet search has at the end been honored with high-quality suggestions to talk about with my relatives. I would state that that many of us readers actually are undoubtedly blessed to exist in a fine website with many brilliant people with good guidelines. I feel really privileged to have discovered your entire weblog and look forward to many more cool times reading here. Thanks again for all the details.
2nd December 2022 at 4:09 am #
I must point out my passion for your kind-heartedness supporting people that need assistance with in this study. Your very own commitment to getting the message throughout has been wonderfully advantageous and has specifically permitted folks much like me to reach their dreams. Your new valuable recommendations entails a great deal a person like me and much more to my fellow workers. With thanks; from all of us.
20th May 2023 at 8:38 pm #
Deference to op, some excellent selective information.