Living on a tropical island right smack on the equator, it is unavoidable to get caught in the rain. Even when you avoid cycling in wet weather, sometimes you just get caught in it mid-ride. The weather can go from hot to rainy in a couple of minutes. That said, despite the random-ness of Singapore's rain, there are a couple of periods where we get rain more consistently. And some/most of us will ride anyway.
Whether you're one of the brave souls who ride in the rain anyway, or those who prefer to stay dry, you're bound to be caught in the rain some time. Below are some tips on riding in the rain.
1) Using Lights
In Singapore, using lights in the day is not required of cyclists by the law. Therefore, most cyclists do not use lights during the day and only choose to use lights at night. However, with the darker clouds during the rain, and the lack of visibility due to dropping rain and also the chaos of multiple vehicle lights on the road, we think that it is very very important to run lights when riding in the rain, even if it's in the day. We feel that a rear light should be mandatory when riding in the rain. Depending on the weather conditions and how heavy the rain is, we might want to run front lights as well. Like we said, visibility becomes very very important in the rain as other road users might be focused more on other vehicle lights and visibility is reduced and if you don't run lights, you might not be very visible.
What if you're cycling in the day and you left the house while it was hot and sunny and thus you didn't bring any lights? Stop cycling and get some shelter. That's the safest. We strongly recommend bringing a pair of lights, spares, or cheap ones EVERYTIME you ride, be it during the day, night, in sunny or rainy weather. This can be in a saddle bag, in your jersey pocket, or even on your bike - it doesn't matter. You never know when it's going to rain or when you're caught in an emergency of some sort or maybe your plans change and you have to ride past daylight. Always have a pair of lights ready.
We'd personally avoid cycling if it gets this bad but you see here how a rear light is important.
2) Lowering Tire Pressure
Lowering your tire pressure allows your tire to be 'softer' and thus deforms easier. This then allows you to increase your tire's contact patch, allowing you to get better grip. This also means that your tire deforms better to the texture of the road and thus grips onto the road better.
By how much? We can't say for sure. It goes back to the fundamentals of tire pressure. It should be low enough for comfort and grip on the road you're riding, but high enough to maintain less rolling resistance but more importantly to not suffer pinch flats. We say if you're planning to ride in rainy weather, lower down your tire pressure by about 10psi and work from there.
3) Ass Savers
We can hear the purists and elitists groaning about this. This one's not so much about safety. Maybe more to do with comfort and keeping your shiny new kit spanking new and clean. A lot of sources recommend fenders and mudguards and maybe those are wayyyyy too much. An Ass - Saver is smaller, easier to install, and looks less clunky. Yet it'll save your.... ass a whole bunch.
Not for everybody - that's all we have to say
Avoid leaning into the turn when you're turning. You can do this when the roads are dry as your tires are a lot less likely to slip out. Wet conditions, however, means that your tires are more likely to slip or wash out and leaning in not only increases the risk of this, but also ensures that you most likely will take the fall if your tire washes out.
Instead, try to keep your weight on the center of the bike. You can lean your bike a little bit, but try to remain vertically upright over the center of the bike. This lowers the risk of slipping out and also gives you a better chance to regain control in case your rear tire slips out.
5) Clean Your Bike (ASAP)
Cycling in wet or rainy weather means that more grime is splashed upwards into your drivetrain. It also means that more natural salt is washed onto your bike and components. This mix of grime, water and salt will definitely inflict more damage on your components and drivetrain and make it more susceptible to rust. So wash your bike as soon as you can and avoid leaving the salt and grime on your bike. This will save you a lot of money and you will be surprised at the amount of damaged an uncleaned bike can do in a very short time.