Cycling in the rain: How to survive it

Riding in the rain is part of life on two wheels – no matter the time of year. Some hate it, others enjoy it. Whatever camp you fall in to there are ways to prepare, survive and recover from cycling in the rain.

1. Jacket: The most important item of clothing for battling the rain is a jacket. Not only will a good waterproof jacket keep your torso dry it will help you regulate your body temperature. Gore Tex is the best material as it is waterproof and breathable. A breathable material is essential so you don’t overheat. A thinner rain jacket or ‘shell’ can also be used with the correct layers underneath, although persistent or very heavy rain will get through eventually.

2. Mudguards: They may not look great, and they may rattle, but they are essential. Mudguards will keep all that filthy water on the road off of your feet, lower legs and back (where un-guarded wheels will spray the water with carefree abandon). Even if you miss the rain, the roads will remain wet. That (dirty) water then gets flicked up by the wheels and makes you wet and cold. A flap added to the front guard will give you even greater protection.

3. Overshoes and gloves: Your extremities are the first parts of your body to be sacrificed in order to maintain a core temperature, and when your hands and feet get wet and cold you will feel disproportionally uncomfortable. Water resistant overshoes are worth their weight in gold while gloves are a little harder to get right. They need to protect you without being so thick as to hamper your bike control. You still need to be able to feel the brakes and gears through all that material.

4. Chain degreaser: After a ride in the rain you should immediately shower and dry yourself. The same goes for your chain. Cover it in degreaser (WD40 or GT85 are both widely available although there are bike specific degreasers like Muc Off) then vigorously wipe it down with a rag until it’s dry. A few drops of lube will then protect it for the next ride. Do this and it can double the chain’s lifespan. It’s a good idea to spray the other metallic moving parts too; front and rear gear mechanisms and brake callipers. Try to keep the degreaser away from the hubs, bottom bracket, wheel rims and brake blocks. Ideally your whole bike would get washed down after a wet ride, but we know that’s not very realistic

5. Cycling cap: Air vents in helmets are great in the heat, not so much in the rain. A cheap cycling cap worn under your helmet is a good barrier for your head, with the peak giving extra protection for your eyes against the spray. Other options include a skull cap (although they don’t have peaks) or an aero helmet as many of them have plastic covers

6. Standing water: Avoid it. Standing water not only gets you wet, it can be incredibly dangerous as you never know what’s lurking beneath. It might just be a puddle, but then it could be a wheel smashing pothole. When you see standing water, check over your shoulder before moving safely out to ‘ride the lane’ (most standing water will gather near the kerb). Only ride through standing water if you can clearly see what’s underneath.

7. Check your tyres: Rain water washes all sorts of muck on to the roads, and when your tyres are wet they pick up more of it than usual. After each ride take a quick look over your tyres checking for flints, glass and other debris. Also check for cuts in the tyre that could weaken the carcass or allow the inner tube to bulge through. It’s a good idea to ride a heavier tyre in the winter with a thick tread. Why not try a 25c tyre run a slightly lower pressure too.

8. Plastic bags: If you’re riding in very heavy or constant rain there is almost nothing that will keep your feet dry as water runs down your legs or gets in from underneath. A cheap option to prolong that nice dry feelingin your feet is to slip a plastic bag over your socks, then your tights (if wearing them) pulled down over the bags, then finally your shoes and overshoes. A more permanent, less budget version is Seal Skinz socks that do a good job of protecting your feet.

9. Lights: Whether it’s the droplets of water on wing mirrors or a steamed-up windscreen, driving standards drop drastically in the rain. It is well worth making yourself more visible when it’s raining, even in the middle of the day. There are plenty of good quality, lightweight, LED lights that can be discreetly clipped to your bike. If riding at night, lights that meet legal requirements are needed anyway. Flashing LEDs are a good addition.

 

10. Turbo or rollers: This isn’t so much as dealing with the rain as avoiding it. Structured sessions of anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour can do amazing things for your fitness. Sat on your bike aimlessly pedalling while watching the TV, less so.

Mountain Biking in India

Mountain Biking is one of the most exciting and adventurous sport which offers real challenge to even the fittest. Most of us enjoy trips on our bicycles and bikes and imagine biking amidst the beautiful mountains of our country! Biking in the foothills and hillocks doesn’t amount to much risk, but one needs to be really careful as the altitude increases. Some of the major destinations for mountain biking in India are- Mountain biking in The Himalayas will prove to be a life time experience to the people who like adventure to be a part of their life. Flying down the risky terrains is a demanding task which offers great fun and excitement. Moreover, the environment which is free of pollution and lightly trafficked roads makes the ride an unforgettable experience.
Here are some of the routes for biking treks in the Himalayas
Kufri- Narkanda- Sungri- Jeori- Sangle- Karcham-Bhawanager- Sainj- Basantpur- Shimla
Kufri- Narkanda- Shemsher- Ghiagi- Koti- Chattru- Takcha- Rangrik- Tabo- Chango- Powari- Jeori- Sungri- Tiuni-Nerwa-Paonta- Sahib Kufri-Chaba-Kingal-Kelodhar-Alsindi-Basantpur-Kurfi
Kufri- Narkanda- Nankhari- Sungri- Tiuni- Lakhawati- Paonta sahib

Do you love extreme sports? Do you like adrenaline rushing in your body? Would you like riding a bike amidst the peaceful surroundings of nature even if it’s a little bumpy and involves off-road biking? How about Mountain biking in the Himalayas where you can see the tall oak trees in the deep valleys and snow-capped mountain peaks?

Mountain Biking in Himalayas

Well it’s not that simple and you can’t just take your bike and ride anywhere. However, it is not very difficult either. Here are the most important things that you should know before you start this sport.

What is Mountain Biking?

Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. So, it’s not really biking in the mountains, but on any trail which is not really paved or cemented.

What is a Mountain Bike?

A mountain bike looks like a regular bike, but is especially designed to combat rougher terrain with inclusion of suspension on the frame and fork, larger knobby tires, more durable heavy duty wheels, more powerful brakes, and lower gear ratios needed for steep grades with poor traction.

Mountain Bike:

How did Mountain Biking originate as a sport?

Mountain biking is yet to hit the mainstream sports, however it is gaining popularity among the masses at a great speed. The name ‘mountain bike’ was first used in mass media in 1966 as ‘mountain bicycle’ when a modified bike was used for freewheeling down mountain trails. This sport became popular in the 1970s in the Northern California (also the hub of many other innovations in the world).

However, the first mass-production of mountain bikes started only in 1981. Slowly in 1990s and 2000s, it started as an international activity with races being organized in various countries and international racing circuits.

Mountain Biking in India-

India boasts of having one of the most amazing mountainous terrains in the world. Which have been organizing races and events in the Himachal Pradesh since the last 10 years; the sport has now reached a scale where people from all corners of the country now come and participate in week long races.

Mountain Biking in Himalayas

Various groups have formed in bigger cities, like PedalYatri in Gurgaon, Cycling & More in Bangalore which organize frequent trips on various offbeat trails in and around the city. Pedalyatri now has over 1500 members and is growing rapidly with mainstream media also covering the group.

Safety Precautions and Risks involved-

Mountain biking in India is a high adrenaline sport and it could be risky if not done without safety precautions and proper training. A helmet is a must for any terrain. Also, carrying a bike repair tool kit is highly recommended, especially for longer distances. Accessories such as lights, bells, etc. and proper cycling clothes are also recommended for mountain biking.