Riding in/after rain

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by doctorold, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    I guess I'm a fair weather rider but I have never had the desire to ride in the rain or even shortly thereafter when the roads are wet. I know there is good gear for staying dry but my biggest concern is my bike. The times I have ridden on wet roads, my chain gets absolutely trashed from all the wet dirt kicking up from the tires. I then have to spend the extra time to clean and re-oil the chain. I usually don't have the extra time to do that. I'm lucky to have the time to ride. And I don't feel like I can take the bike back on the road until I've done that. Am I just weird or is anyone else like that? And do you take the time to dry your bike when you are finished riding in the rain to avoid rust? C'mon diehard, "ride in any weather" cyclists...talk to me.
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Bikes require maintenance, and if you want to ride in all kinds of weather you have to be willing to put in a little extra time for the added maintenance. After a ride in the rain or in wet conditions, I wash the bike, clean the chain, lubricate the chain, and lubricate all of the pivot points on the derailluers and brakes. If I do a lot of rainy weather rides, I will add another disassembly, clean, and lubrication session to the two that I do annually on my bikes.
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well living in Seattle winter training comes down to a lot of time on the trainer or some wet rides. I do a bit of both but can't tolerate much more than an hour and a half to possibly two hours on the trainer or rollers so I often get soaked on my longer weekend rides.

    Met the team this morning under gray skies and sure 'nuff within an hour it was misting, then raining pretty steadily for the next several hours. Grit in the teeth, legs, arms, and face covered in road grime, sunglasses fogging, wet and useless and soaked through and through but warm enough so no reason not to finish the ride. The bike's a mess and now that I've dried off and fed myself I'll hose it down, clean the brakes and rims, and clean and lube the drive train. It's pretty much been my Saturday afternoon ritual for the last couple of months and the rare dry day is welcomed but I'm including some longer Tempo rides in my training this season and it's just a lot easier to do those outside rain or not. Pretty much everyone on a race team around here has a 'rain bike' that's set up with full fenders and a buddy flap, heavier winter tires, and wet weather brake pads or disc brakes. Some have custom rain bikes that are pretty stylin' and some ride cross frames with cantilever brakes but with slick tires. I use my older late '80s steel racing bike set up with fenders and adjusted to match the position on my race bike.

    It rains enough here that we don't generally have the rising oil problem that can happen in drier climes when the first rain comes after a long dry spell. I remember that being pretty spooky in Norcal when I lived down that way. Here it's wet enough to stay pretty consistent and the roads are typically paved a bit rougher so there's decent traction on steep descents and around curves. Junk still accumulates on the shoulders and flats are pretty common this time of year so extra tubes and CO2 cartridges are a good idea as is a small pump for when you blow through all your CO2 as well as some 'boot' material to reinforce sidewall gashes. Some folks carry an extra foldable clincher strapped to their bike just in case of a really bad sidewall blowout which happens at least once a season on the team rides.

    I sure don't love wet riding and it's much easier to start a ride dry and then get wet than it is to leave the house in a downpour but it's the price of doing longer rides this time of year. In general if I dress well then everything is fine. Dressing well really means enough warm layers and things like warm booties and warm gloves. I always carry a rain jacket but it's mostly for warmth in case it really gets cold. I'm going to be soaked with or without the jacket when the rain starts so the real question is whether I'm warm enough. I also carry latex surgical gloves that I'll wear under long fingered cycling gloves for really cold and wet storms. My fingers will still be wet with sweat but they'll be warm and wet instead of blocks of ice. A thin but warm nordic ski hat is also a key item in terms of retaining body heat and enjoying the ride. And if all else fails some cash is real handy, heck it's Seattle you're never too far from a warm coffee shop, but then you'd better have the cell phone to call for a ride since getting warm and heading back out into the wet is the worst thing.

    So yeah, some of us ride in the rain pretty often. It's a hassle and definitely takes a toll on things like brake pads, chains, cassette cogs, and even the life of your rims but it's part of the deal if you live and race here. I'm sure riders in Belgium do plenty of rainy rides and have their share of coping tricks.

    -Dave
     
  4. frankiemuniz01

    frankiemuniz01 New Member

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    The group is separating which makes it insanely more difficult to draft. coming thought the final turn, I stood up and laid in the acceleration, sprinting. One guy next to me was doing the same, and he was just a hair faster than I, but he couldn't hold it for the duration and I edged out in front. I passed two other riders who had were not sprinting. It doesn't really mean anything since I am no where near the top 20 among this 105 riders present. Yeah, there was quite the turnout for the first race of the season. End result, I am happy with my performance today. And as I said earlier, I still have all my skin.
     
  5. clx1

    clx1 New Member

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    Ride in all weathers, lube your chain and clean your bike every five rides, it will take less than an hour! Remember it's a bike not a precious jewel and you are missing a lot of great cycling if you won't even ride on a wet road.
     
  6. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Save time take your bike into the shower with you.
     
  7. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    That was the only thing I hated about the long winter clubruns back in England - 40 miles fairly hard out to a cafe in a village in the back of beyond and then heading back out again just when you started to get the feeling back in your fingers and toes.

    We had our fair share of mud and road salt during winter. I used to have a bucket of water with car wash soap and a round that "lived" outside and was refilled every couple of weeks - mostly via rain. As soon as I got home the bike was wheeled around the back of the house for a general rinse off with a hose (open ended - low pressure - the spray attachment would only be used if the mudguards had clogged with mud/snow) and a cloth and the rest of the bike was given a quick once over with the brush and soapy water. I'd just undo the q/r on the wheels and lift up that end of the bike just enough to get access to the brakes. It took about 5 minutes to get it pretty darned clean. The chain got a once over with a diesel soaked rag and a brush. The bike was put away wet in the garage...

    ... and the chain was lubed up before the next ride. Diesel doesn't strip the oil from the chain so it's not that harsh and the bike would get one very good cleaning once a week.

    That daily wash was limited to functional stuff. Didn't bother with the spokes as they were stainless and most of the frame only got a quick wipe over as all I was fussed about was removing most of the grime so the paint didn't get scratched once all the dirt had dried on and I subsequently rubbed against it.
     
  8. 531Aussie

    531Aussie Well-Known Member

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    I did some work on a friend's bike a while ago which was the most trashed and weather-beaten bike I've probably ever seen. He said he'd had it for about 15 years, during which time it'd had no servicing or anything changed. All the exposed cables were rusted (as were lots of other parts), but the most worn out bits were the chain, cogs and chainring. As you can imagine, the teeth were very, very pointy, but the chain was the worst -- it was so bad that the rollers were hanging on the pins like floppy earrings. :) I should've taken photos.

    Anyway, one of my tasks was to change the BB, and seeing the condition of the bike, I assumed the BB woulda been rusted to the shell, but it wasn't.
    It was reasonably tight to undo initially, but it came out quite easily. I was shocked to see that the threads on both the frame and BB were pristine!!
    They had been prepped with some kinda Loctine, or similar, which was a creamy/white colour. So, there's a lesson in there somewhere, surely? :)

    Despite my great story, :) I usually just grease my threads to prevent seizing due to corrosion, mainly coz I just haven't got 'round to figuring out the best Loctite for BBs -- it 222?
    :) It's said that grease eventually washes off threads, but I've seen wet day bikes that've been trashed for a few years that still have plenty of grease on the BB and pedal threads doing its job.

    To the original poster: get a rain bike. :) I've got two, the crapper of which is an alu Norco with old 8sp Shimano stuff and a slightly rusty chain. Having a 'puddle crosser' takes all the stress out of trashing your good bikes. After a wet ride on one of my wet day bikes, I usually just give the chain an oil and a very quick whipe.
     
  9. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I have done my share of wet weather riding, generally I use my "beater" bike for the foul weather days. However I do get caught out in my nicer bike from time to time. Generally all I will do for maintenance afterward is rinse the sand off with the garden hose and wipe down the frame and clean the chain with a cloth. I will relube the chain before the next ride. Sometimes I will use compressed air to clean out the chain.

    Since the temps are still freezing here, I don't have the option of hosing off the bike so I just wipe it down and relube.

    My wettest ever was last year, a 130 mile ride from my home in Forest Lake to Duluth, MN in June. I was going to ride the yearly MS 150 back down to the twin cities with some friends. I left the house at approximately 4:00 am in a thunderstorm. It rained all day, to make matters worse it got colder ans windier the further North and closer to Lake Superior I went. Some of the routes I planned on using were close which forced me to walk several miles on railroad grades, muddy dirt roads and jump ditches. I had to change a flat underneath a gas station awning in ankle deep water. By the time, I reached Duluth there was sleet and gail force winds. With my poncho duct taped to my body to reduce wind resistance I was still being blown backward up hills if I didn't pedal.

    I was prepared for the rain. I wore a waterproof jacket, tights, hood, gloves etc. I placed my cell phone in a ziploc baggie in the pocket of my waterproof jacket. At a little past the halfway point, I discovered that my phone was soaked. It got to the point where I knew that I couldn't stop riding or I would risk hypothermia and needing to stop for a long period to dry out. In the end I reached my goal at the top of Spirit Mountain at 4:00 pm.

    I had my teammates bring shop towels and WD 40 with them. I had lube in my bag. Taking the bike inside, I dried it with towels, cleaned the grimy bits with WD 40, dried that off and relubed. The next day I felt great and I rode 85 miles with no issues and 75 miles the day after that.

    Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat. The ride was - epic - one of my most memorable in the last few years. Minus the closed roads, wind and flat tire - riding in the rain can be very calming. I like the variety that adding a few foul weather rides add and it makes me appreciate the good weather that much more. The biggest pain the amount of additional laundry that is generated in the process.

    I have considered having a second chain on hand so that I could swap mine out after a wet ride and give it a thorough cleaning; it just has not been a big enough issue to pursue.
     
  10. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Oh my.....you said a dirty word!!!! twice!!!!!/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  11. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Whats so dirty about that? WD stands for water displacement - which is good for wet parts ready to rust. I used it to get the water and dirty grime out of the chain. It is a good degreaser and is good for cleaning up parts of the bike. It is not good as a lube which is why I needed to reapply lubricant after.


    Perhaps I should have included a warning. WD40 is not a lubricant, it is a degreaser and water displacer - do not spray it into the bearings.
     
  12. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Most Loctite threadlockers will dry white. Use Loctite Red on bike parts at your peril. It usually requires heat and lots of force to get the part off afterwards. Loctite Blue (242) is the way to go...

    It's kinda hard for water to wash off grease in bottom bracket threads if the bottom bracket was installed and tightened correctly.
     
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