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Cycling Tip: Skills for Inclement Weather Riding

Robert Panzera

Many of us experience wet weather during this time of year, which may lead to slippery road conditions. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of dry weather when you are bicycle touring, as well. The following tips may help you stay upright and safe in case you encounter poor riding conditions.

In inclement weather:

Always ensure you wear a reflective safety vest and have a blinking light on both the back and front of your bicycle.

Ride to the right, but avoid deep gutters. Cars may have trouble seeing you in a gutter, and you may hit an unseen obstacle in an overflowing gutter.

Always ride with your hands in the drops. Keep your elbows flexed and loose, but keep a nice, firm grip on the handlebars.

Look up and ahead. Maintaining a line of sight beyond your front wheel will help you avoid upcoming obstacles, and help maintain better balance.

Avoid “paint” in the road (i.e., crosswalks, white lines, yellows lines, etc). The paint when covered with rain is very slippery. If unavoidable, ride straight over the paint with little or no front wheel turning. If you see paint in an upcoming turn: slow down before entering the turn and make the turn at the slowest speed possible to limit leaning the bike. This tip works for railroad tracks too!

Give yourself ample time to brake as the rain will make brake pads and rims slippery.

Part of being safe, is being comfortable—a fender for the rear tire is recommended. It is hard to remain in control, and focused, on your bike with a spray of wet water from your rear tire hitting you in the back.

This information is not to condone riding in foul weather, but is given to increase your chances of safe riding if caught out in the rain!

Robert Panzera is a Level 2 USA Cycling Coach and owner and operator of Cycling San Diego (CCSD). CCSD is designed to provide a venue of warm weather training miles in the off-season for serious touring and elite racing cyclists. For more information about Robert Panzera and CCSD, visit or contact him at

This tip was originally published in the Adventure Travel Group (ATG) monthly newsletter. For more information on ATG, visit or contact
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