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Staying Dry on the Bike

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Bundling up and treating your gear with care is key for riding in the rain. Photo: bikehugger.com

Bundling up and treating your gear with care is key for riding in the rain. Photo: bikehugger.com

Rain doesn’t ruin a great bike ride.

To the contrary, there’s something empowering about getting off the couch in the gnarliest of conditions. A bike ride is particularly sweet when others scapegoat the weather and leave their bike hanging in the garage.

No, the rain isn’t the problem. Getting wet is.

The only thing that can ruin a good ride is if you allow the rain to soak you to the skin. Mother Nature may call the shots, but you are the one who determines your response. Here are two absolute must-remember tips for staying dry on the bike:

1. Warm Your Core

Luckily, the nature of being on a bike means your upper body will take the brunt of rain. This is a place where Nikwax can help.

On days when it’s only you and the postal service out on the road (you know… rain, sleet and dark of night…), choose your gear wisely. You’ll need:

bike-rain1A base layer that keeps your skin dry.

  • Make that a breathable base layer. Even though it’s raining from the outside, you’ll still be sweating from the inside. Washing base layers with Nikwax BaseWash® prevents build-up of odor-causing bacteria and oils on synthetic garments. It also enhances wicking properties to move the sweat away from your skin. The special formula cleans and conditions, keeping the synthetic fibers in tip-top performance shape.
  • Or, if you’re a wool base layer fan opt for Nikwax Wool Wash. Though durable, wool requires a gentle cleaner like Wool Wash to maintain its balance of hydrophilic inner and hydrophobic outer. Without getting too technical, that is the magic of why you stay warm even when your wool gets wet.

A waterproof-breathable outer layer that wicks sweat away from your body without letting the rain in.

  • On a bike, your jacket gets hammered with rain on wet days and sun and dirt on dry days. This extreme exposure to the elements contributes to a condition known as “wetting out.” The dreaded “wet out” is when your jacket can no longer bead up with water droplets. The result: it ceases to be waterproof and/or breathable.
  • The solution is frequent application of Nikwax TX.Direct®. First, run the jacket through the wash with Nikwax Tech Wash® to clean away any sweat, oil and other dirt. With another run of the washing machine, or with the Spray-On bottle, apply TX.Direct® to revive and enhance your jacket’s water repellency.

2. Remember your extremities: Head, hands and feet.

Keeping your core warm and dry may be the most critical, but thoughtful care to your alternative gear will help keep you comfy.

  • Consider a Merino wool skull cap under your helmet. It won’t keep you dry, but it will keep you warm.
  • Have a pair of full-fingered gloves on hand for inclement days.
  • While some are blended with mesh for breathability, most cycling shoes are leather. We can’t do anything about the mesh, but Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather™ will keep your feet dry from the water falling from the sky. And no, it won’t make your shoes any heavier or hotter for the dry days.

Don’t let a little rain put a kink in your riding schedule. With a modicum of preventative Nikwax care, the only thing standing between you and your personal best is your own motivation.

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