Biking in Rain or SnowBiking in Rain or Snow

Bike riding would be easier if it were always 70 degrees and sunny. But the realities of Minnesota weather mean that waiting for those days will really cut down on your opportunities to bike. Learning to ride in less pleasant weather will give you more chances to ride. Here are some tips for riding and maintaining your bike in less-than-perfect weather.

Wet Streets

Riding on wet streets can be hazardous. Railroad tracks, sewer and manhole covers, painted pavement, and leaves get slippery when wet. Don't brake or turn suddenly when you're on any of these surfaces.

Puddles

Don't ride through a puddle if you can't see the bottom. It could be a deep pothole that could make you crash or dent your wheel. Ouch.

Start of rain

Don't try to race to beat the rain when it starts. Streets are slickest at the very beginning of a rainfall because oil or anti-freeze on the road spreads before it washes away. Take your turns slowly and lean less.

Slow Down

Remember, motorists and cyclists can't see as well in rain or snow. It takes longer to stop; to be safe, go slower than normal so you can react if a driver can't see you.

Braking

When brake pads are wet, they take up to ten times longer to work. Dry them by applying your brakes well ahead of where you want to slow down. To dry them faster, pump the brakes by applying them, then letting go, over and over.

Snow

Snow crews usually clear major streets within a day of a major snowfall. Walk your bike to a clear street and get going.

Ice

Snow hides ice on the pavement, so be cautious when riding on snow. Ride slower, as you would in rain, to give yourself tine to brake or maneuver if you come across an ice patch.

Snow Build-up

If piles of snow are built up on the right, ride in the middle of the right lane. Let cars pass in heavy traffic. But remember, you are required by law to ride only as far to the right as is practicable - and riding through deep slush piles is not practicable!