Monsoons are a much loved time, yet cycling enthusiasts’ spirits get understandably dampened. While a shower is enjoyable, a longer spell means waterlogged roads, slippery by-lanes and poor visibility, in case of heavy rain. It comes as no surprise then that any rider would get tired of the wait and take to the road. This isn’t such a bad idea, provided you take a few precautions. As the best bicycle manufacturer in India, Kross feels it is their responsibility to help riders stay safe during every season. Here are a few things you can keep in mind when cycling during the rains to stay safe:
Tip #1 - Check the weather forecast: You may think that after a dry spell the roads are going to be safe to drive but a deluge may be around the corner. Not that a drizzle should be a reason to stay home, but a heavy downpour may call for some precaution and it is saner to stay off the cycle for a while. Even the best value for money bicycles are not going to be enough if you are caught in a bad spell.
Tip #2 - Familiarise yourself with the surroundings: It is fun to discover new areas but when it is raining, a puddle could just be a shallow pool of water or a deep open pit. Stay in the region you know well and tread on familiar ground. Even with the best MTB bikes in India, not knowing the way could be a raw deal during rains.
Tip #3 - Stay Focused: Keep your eyes on the road and watch out for places where there is a lot of water for it may mean deeper potholes. And when it comes to keeping eyes on the road, two pairs are better than one, so you may want to consider going out with a friend. Even the painted road markings become slippery during the rains and you may want to stay away.
Tip #4 - Service the parts that may be worn out: A good working brake and a smooth steering are important but in monsoons, these are a must. Get the pads on the brakes fixed, lower tyre pressure to avoid skidding and get a better grip on the road. Drive slowly, brake gently and avoid making sloping turns; the rain washed roads are less forgiving than dry ones. Your braking response time also needs to decrease as you will have about two-thirds of braking power with the wheel rim and brake pads wet. Make sure the gears of geared bikes are oiled and working well.
Tip #5 - Stay Visible to others: This point cannot be stressed enough; a majority of bike accidents happen due to poor visibility of the rider. Be it neon or light reflecting headgear and jacket or working, bright head and tail lamps, these will warn other drivers of your presence and keep you safe.
Tip #6 - Steer Clear of Rainbow Patches: Oil from cars mixes with rain water and forms oil slick. These can be seen as a thin rainbow film on the road and should be avoided at all costs. There is ample chance of your bike skidding off on one of these. Though Shimano geared bikes offer more and better manoeuvrability, slipping on an oil slick can still not be ruled out.
Monsoon should not deter you from riding, as long as you take care of the riding conditions.