Ah, the British summer: long sunny days, dusty trails, the simplicity of just getting out and riding. Oh, hang on a second.
So much for the summer, it’s been raining so heavily and frequently these past few days that we’re quite right to wonder just what is going on. It doesn’t motivate one to get out and ride the bike, but there’s no reason why it should deter you from riding altogether.
You need to be prepared. Let us show you how, with a couple of investments and changes to your bike, you can be ready to battle the rain and muddy trails.
Every cyclist should invest in a good waterproof jacket. It’s safe to say you’ll get use from one throughout the year, so it’s not just confined to the winter months. There are options from Endura’s excellent £40 Pakajak right up to Gore’s all-singing Fusion GT AS at £220.
Waterproof socks and/or boots
If there’s one thing we really detest about riding in the rain, it’s the feeling of water squelching between our toes. It’s enough to put anyone off riding in this weather, no matter how determined they are.
Waterproof socks and boots may seem an expensive luxury, but one or the other (or both for the ultimate setup) will transform your ride. It’s quite staggering what a difference to your happiness levels waterproof socks make.
Another alternative to winter boots is to tape up all the vents and mesh panels in your shoes, you’ll be amazed what a difference this small trick can make.
For the same reason that we’ll always reach for the waterproof socks if we know there’s a high chance of getting a good soaking, so we also reach for the waterproof gloves. When you’re hands and fingers get wet their temperature will cool rapidly, leaving you very quickly with frozen hands. That’s not much fun, so get yourself some waterproof gloves.
In June? Well, the fitting of mudguards shouldn’t be dictated by the month of the year, instead by the trail conditions. Unless you’re riding well surfaced trail centres most of the time, it’s likely you’ll encounter a fair amount of sloppy stuff. At the very least a homemade strip of inner tube zip tied between the fork crown to stop mud being flicked up and into your eyes.
There’s not much point in fitting those lightweight summer low-profile tyres at the moment, nor is it really necessary to put the mud tyres on. What’s needed is a tyre that is well suited to the constantly changing trail conditions, which can change even during a single ride
The exact tyre will depend on the geology of your local area, so there is no right answer, or top tip, as to which is the magic tyre for you, but looking at what local riders choose is always an excellent place to start.
Got any of your own top tips to share?