Home // Biking // Biking Gear and Tips for Rainy Days

Biking Gear and Tips for Rainy Days

Biking in the Rain

Summer’s over, but the biking shouldn’t stop

Summer in the Philippines is now officially over. The rains have become an everyday phenomenon and the evening news is now saturated with reports of floods, traffic jams, landslides, government officials looking stupid and making excuses, and a whole litany of other depressing stuff. This doesn’t mean though that you should stay indoors, sleep all day and start to complain that there’s too much rain

Biking in the rain is actually quite fun. Like I said in an earlier post, the rains take away some of the bite from the tropical heat. The hills come alive with a fresh wardrobe of green. And finally, the trails become a mess of mud and puddles that will put your bike skills to the test. But biking in the rain requires some adjustment, and a few extra gear. Here are some of them.

Spyder Biker Rain Jacket

Spyder Biker Rain Jacket

Raincoat
Getting drenched is fine for the first few minutes. When you’re biking in a nice urban place like the UP Diliman campus, the sensation of riding in the rain can even be quite refreshing. But when you’re up on a mountain highway in the Sierra Madre, or the Manila East road, a prolonged drenching may give you hypothermia.

A high quality windbreaker/rain jacket becomes essential in such a scenario. I use the Spyder rain jacket because it’s very breathable. It can keep the rain out in most situations without soaking you in your own sweat. The jacket will still stick to your skin though when you sweat so I’d recommend you keep wearing arm warmers for those epic rain rides.

Mudguard/Fenders 
I personally don’t mind getting a bit of mud in the face when I’m out biking on the trails. But biking on the streets of Metro Manila in the rain is another matter. Sorry for the graphic imagery… but nobody wants to get sprayed in the face with slick juice from feline roadkill, or get chunks of dog poop flicked onto their cheeks. Thus the need for fenders.

Bike fender

Bike fender, absolutely necessary if you want to keep road juice off your face

These accessories may make your bike look a bit dorky, but I think they’re essential when you’re biking on rain-drenched streets. The front fender is absolutely essential–get one that extends to the front of the fork and not just the back, because that’s where the spray comes from when you start picking up speed.

Rainproof bike bagRainproof backpack
A backpack with a waterproof cover will help keep your stuff inside dry. But, just to be sure, put a plastic bag in the backpack first before putting all of your stuff in it. This way, your stuff gets really protected from the rain. Also, the trapped air inside the bag will cause you to float in case you make the foolish mistake of riding right smack into a raging flood. Just kidding.

Bike lights/Blinkers
Activate them when it rains, even if it’s midday and it isn’t dark yet. Visibility goes down quickly when it rains. These things will ensure that you remain visible to motorists even during a downpour.

Spandex cycling shorts/pants
This is optional. Yes, I know many mountain bikers are averse to wearing roadie tropang bakat cycling shorts. But riding in technical shorts with all of their cool pockets and zippers can get old after a few minutes out in the rain. Cycling shorts wick away water faster than MTB technical shorts.

Biking on the streets in the rain however also entails a lot of hazards. Here are a few things to watch out for.

Rainy day road hazards

  • Murky puddles – Avoid riding over these. What may look like a shallow puddle may actually be a pothole several inches deep and could throw you off your bike. Be especially careful around DPWH, PLDT or MWSS road diggings which may be several feet deep. The last thing you want is to get bruises and scrapes while submerged in dirty runoff, and getting infected with Leptospirosis or tetanus.
  • Oil slicks and mud patches – Rainbow colored patches on a rain-drenched pavement are signs of an oil slick, which can make the road very slippery. Mud patches on the road can also cause you to slip while cornering or braking. Avoid them and don’t brake or corner while in them. 
  • Splash zones – There will always be sections of the road where rainwater will collect. Motor vehicles speeding through these sections may cause a splash. If you’re approaching such a zone, slow down and assess if a a vehicle is about to pass. 
Perhaps the biggest adjustment one needs during the rainy season does not involve buying new gear, but making an attitude adjustment. The rains can really dampen the mood. But if you really love biking, you’ll ride come hell, high water or habagat. Just make sure to wash your bike and lube it after each ride.

Biker and Rainbow

Riding in the rain is an adventure in itself

Posted in Biking, Gear and tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Comments

  • I’m a newbie in mountain biking. And the trails I’ve tried are for beginners, mostly in Alabang area (e.g. Filinvest, Daang Hari, and Nuvali). I’ve a lot to learn still. I already had some friends who also got hooked in that area and so we go out together. The problem is I had to transfer to QC just this summer and my friends in the South are hesitant to come all the way up to the North to try the trails here. I really want to try other trails but so far I have not yet met any who are interested. Do you have mountain biking clubs around QC that entertain newbies like me?

    • outsideslacker

      June 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      hi miggy,

      i sometimes ride with the bikers from team john wilkie. they are cool dudes who don’t mind other riders tagging along on their weekend jaunts to timberland, lamesa, sierra madre and the high hills of antipolo. but be warned though that these guys are pretty hardcore. i thought i was a pretty strong rider until i tried keeping up with these guys. they left me gassed out last time i rode with them in pinugay. i can refer you to a friend who regularly rides with them. be prepared to level up quickly though :)

      on that note, i’m planning to ride solo to “the wall” in timberland or maybe “shotgun” tomorrow morning. email me at outsideslacker @gmail.com if you want to join me

    • mikey asiddao

      July 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      hi miggy, i’m mikey, we live here at filheights quezon city, near batasan. it’s a few kilometers from timberland, where we usually bike (amongst other places in QC and north part). you can tag along in our rides, our group is called weekend riders, kasi weekends lang kami nag bibike,,,most of us are working on weekdays. the group is mixed, with beginners, novice, and hard core..so no worries.. you can email me at mikeasiddao@gmail.com.

  • Hello everyone! I think na mas ok ung raincoat na neon colored para visible kapadin kahit gabi ka mag bite. Ung dad ko bumili sa goods.ph (https://www.goods.ph/spiderking-pants-and-jacket-polyester-green-19401.html) nung neon green na color ng raincoat para samin ng sister ko para kapag nag bike kami ulit paakyat sa simbahan ng antipolo kahit gabi ok lang. Ask ko lang din po kung nag seset po kayo ng group biking baka pwede pong sumama. Salamat!

    • outsideslacker

      July 24, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      thanks for the tip ashley. i haven’t set a group ride in a while. will keep you posted. bisita ka lang sa fb page ng outsideslacker :)

  • Ferdinand Marte

    August 26, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Someday I will ride out on a storm/typhoon on my trusty Talon 3 27.5. I have no doubt it’s going to be a great experience, different from riding dry. Check me out on FB, I will post pictures when I actually get to do it.

    • with the weather as erratic as it is these days, the only way you can ride is if you ride in the rain. good luck bro