Descending is one of the trickiest bike skills, and it gets even trickier in wet weather. But there are ways to make your rides safer and more fun. Three road experts share their tips on staying upright when the road is soaked. – By Molly Hurford
Prep Your Bike
If it’s raining, lower your tyre pressure, especially for technical terrain. That’s the first piece of advice that coaches Brandon Davis and Sean Kell offer when it comes to rainy descents. Why? Because the lower your pressure, the better your traction.
Go as low as you can: for a standard 700×25 tyre, Davis suggests running your weight plus 10psi. So if you’re 70kg, run no fewer than 80psi.
Scrub Speed Early
If there’s a corner coming up, start scrubbing your speed earlier than normal. “It takes a second or two longer for your brake pads to engage and slow you down,” says Kelly. Davis adds that you want to be finished braking before you enter a turn: it feels like you’re going too slowly, but it’s better to glide through the corner than hit the ground.
Don’t Brake In The Corner
If you scrubbed your speed right, this cycling tip is a no-brainer, “On dry roads, you can feather the brakes a little, but in the wet, that can cause your wheels to lose traction,” says coach Heath Dotson. “And definitely don’t be on the front brake in the turn. That can cause the front wheel to push out, which most people can’t recover from.”