Video: How To Survive Wet Weather Riding

Mar 11, 2021
by Pinkbike Originals  


The hardest part of riding in the rain is leaving the house but there's a lot you can do to make those torrential days a little less uncomfortable. Christina runs through her tips and tricks for surviving the wettest rides.








132 Comments

  • 71 2
 Top tip... dont wash your bike in the river, all those oils etc going into the water system are not good for the wildlife that rely on that stream.
It is banned in Scottish Dh races. Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are always on the case.
If you are caught washing your bike in a river the worst punishment is banned from the race.
  • 5 0
 I agree.
I bought one of those little portable Karcher pressure washers with 4L of water. Perfect for giving the bike a once over after a muddy ride - also filled with hot water becomes my camping shower when I go camping.

www.kaercher.com/au/home-garden/mobile-cleaning/portable-dog-wash-oc3-16800080.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIroWO6f2o7wIVOpVLBR16TwmEEAAYASAAEgLW__D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
  • 12 0
 @Waldon83: Even cheaper. Plastic hand pump pressurized pesticide sprayer(4 litre). been using mine for 20 years cost 30.00.

You can adjust from jet to mist.

I have washed myself off after plenty of XC or Cross races plus bike.
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: Hello, does it have enough pressure to clean the bike? Thanks!
  • 3 0
 @inono67: Totally enough pressure to clean the bike.
  • 66 6
 YoU'vE nEvEr SeEn ReAl WeT anD mUd BeForE cOme To tHe UK
  • 16 5
 You ok, hon?
  • 72 34
 Pro tip: Come to england in the winter to see what proper rain and mud is really like...
.
  • 63 5
 The UK is so shit on so many levels no one can compare, but the Pacific Northwest gets twice as much rainfall as the UK.
  • 46 1
 It actually only rains between 130-160 days a year in the UK. It's just chance that the rain always coincides with a mountain biker going for a ride.
  • 42 3
 Yeah sorry but the PNW is a lot wetter than the UK.
  • 30 0
 @VolatileMike: It probably rains more over the pond, but from what i have seen, trails in BC seem to get built and surfaced to drain way better. Stuff over here gets built without sustainability in mind, so we have to spend our winters sliding down the hills on our fronts.
  • 45 3
 @VolatileMike: The UK is not actually that wet. Austin, Texas gets more rainfall than London. It's just that Texas gets all its rain in 3-4 good storms, whereas Britain specializes in chronic piddling rain.
  • 5 0
 Honestly, I think they're about the same. I lived in pnw for 6 years, but I only spent 5 weeks in January, in Wales.
  • 11 1
 I did ya one better! I moved to England in the middle of Winter from Sunny California. yes, I hate myself....
  • 7 1
 @The-Swindon-Secreteer: not to get too nerdy but I also think natural trails drain better over there because the bedrock seems to be a lot closer to the surface, so there's not as much mud to soak up the rain which hits the bedrock and runs off. also over there the weather is less fickle, yes it might be wet for a week but then you get 2-3 weeks of glorious sun which completely dries everything out, whereas in the UK we're lucky if we get a week without rain in the middle of the summer and things rarely completely dry out underneath.
  • 19 0
 Speaking from experience as a Shropshire lad who has lived in coastal BC for several years, the mud seems to be much more of an issue in the UK. In BC, the rain seems to be much more concentrated into a shorter season/storm cycles (with exceptions), whereas in the UK its pretty rare to get a long, dry stint, even in summer. Also, the mud gets way more deep and gloopy in the UK, as opposed to gritty and often pretty grippy here.
  • 9 1
 #gatekeeping
  • 5 1
 @VolatileMike: 'the UK' actually has quite a bit of variation in rainfall totals. Where I grew up in East Anglia, rainfall was 500mm per annum on occasion. Where I live now rainfall is approaching 3000mm per annum, which is a lot wetter than Bellingham, WA, which only gets 910mm per annum.
  • 8 1
 Um... No thank you. I think I'll stay here in California.
  • 3 0
 You have never been to Panama
  • 58 6
 UK vs PNW. Pick a rainy region and be a dick about it.
  • 5 1
 @twopoint6khz: Yeah, there's a lot of generalization going on. The pnw is huge, and the uk isn't tiny. Neither of them are homogeneous in terms of soil type/rock content and rainfall. I mean comparing one trail system in pnw to one trail system in the uk is fine, but extrapolating to the whole region is a bit far.
  • 8 0
 @The-Swindon-Secreteer: I can't agree with this more. I've lived in both the PNW and in London. My first ride on trails outside London is the only time I can remember having a literal temper tantrum riding my bike as an adult. Unlike in the PNW, the UK trails I rode were absolutely not built with the local weather in mind. Spending a couple of hours driving on the wrong side of the road only to slide around on peanut butter donuts was far, far, FAR more anger-inducing than I ever would have predicted. Went out the next week and bought my first set of skinny mud spikes.
  • 3 0
 @oatkinso: Living about 1 1/2 hours' drive from Squamish (where I think most of this was filmed) and having grown up in Northern Germany (where we got the same low pressure systems off the North Atlantic and had about the same rainfall stats as the British Isles - but unfortunately zero hills), I'm thinking rain fall and shite weather is roughly the same in both places. The difference must be in the composition of soils - the uber-sticky muck I see in videos from your neck of the woods is not something we really get here. Given the variety of underlying geology (lots of volcanic mountains all over the coastal ranges and the Cascades, but then also these huge granite slabs in places like Squamish, along with a fair bit of sandstone hills in some areas) but the relative uniformity of what I see on the trails, I think the key is what kind of forest was there (and how stuff decomposed into soil).
  • 6 0
 @twopoint6khz: I live in Bellingham; a friend of mine lives in North Vancouver right at the bottom of Fromme mountain. In his valley, annual rainfall is roughly twice what it is in metro Vancouver. Micro-climates are a bit of a thing here in the Pacific Northwest. Bellingham actually gets a lot less rain than some areas just an hour south of us (which often get convergence zone patterns resulting in torrential rain while 20 miles north or south it's just drizzling). Because we have a ton of interesting features (inland waters creating temperature moderation, on-shore patterns bringing atmospheric rivers our way, outflow driven by inland high pressure colliding with all that, and lots of interesting topography), it's an interesting place for weather nerds.
  • 5 0
 I do actually live in a rainforest haha but yes, I know it rains a lot in the UK... and the terrain isn't as forgiving as our loam, rock and roots.
  • 3 0
 ~Laughs in Appalachian
  • 7 0
 Hahaha main land UK gets the surplus rain from Ireland!!
  • 5 0
 @The-Swindon-Secreteer: A lot of it is the natural drainage. The soils are relatively young, lots of sand and gravel. The loam/peat layer isn't very thick at all and the water drains through it fast. Way less organic and clay to really mud it up. Coastal BC bikers are lucky in so many ways...
  • 6 0
 @g-42: this is a lie. It rains all the time in Bellingham and the trails suck. Don't move here people.
  • 1 0
 @The-Swindon-Secreteer that's an interesting observation, my experience with the UK trails - places like Cannock Chase, Bike Park Wales, Forest of Dean, Antur Stiniog, Coed y Brenin (FoD prolly takes last place, it was a bit of a mud fest last time) is that the trails have in most cases pretty outstanding drainage, especially the newly built stuff.

No only that, but you can ride them pretty much year round.
Come over the Austria, where we've got lifts and big mountains and most of the trails are closed in the first sight of light drizzle, with the exception of say Leogang. Though trails like the Hot Shots being just piles of dirt, get knee deep ruts, so while it is open it ain't much joy to ride in the wet.
  • 2 0
 @kieronash: yeah pnw gets double the rain but the dirts grippy, the rocks are gripy, the forests are pretty and the huge trees/biomass soaks up much of the rain.
  • 6 0
 Is it just me or has it been the muddiest mud out there this winter? Pretty shonky everywhere.

I mean here's a recent example - I'd only popped out for a coffee.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/20266040
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: the dried mud crusty pant look comment made me laugh
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: That's long enough - lol.
  • 1 0
 @kieronash: its not the amount of rain its the ground conditions - in particular clay. I'll take lots of rain and good free drainage ground any day.
  • 29 2
 What's the issue with riding in rain? I've seen people ask for a refund on lift passes because it rained. Y'all made of sugar or something? Skin is waterproof. Wet riding is some of the best fun I've ever had. Grew up in the soggiest corner of the UK... Wet was pretty much all we had.
  • 17 1
 It's hard on trails if it's not on rock hardpan. Better to grab a shovel and clear drains.
  • 8 0
 I always loved when people would try for a "rain check" at Whistler Bike Park... like.. do you know where you even are right now?! Yes, it's going to rain. At least we rarely get lightning which will definitely shut the lifts down.
  • 3 1
 @christinachappetta: for bike park it's a different scenario for sure. I'd rather hit the hot tub than run wet laps and kill your bearings.
  • 5 0
 Certainly around here (Squamish) the 'loam' layer (actually 'duff'.....Half Nelson is a loamer Wink ) is fragile and not very deep. Combine that with lack of drainage, and riding in the wet can wreck some trails pretty fast. The UK (where I am originally from) tends to have a combination of deeper soil and shallower grades so in the winter the soil gets moved around a little when muddy but it's not generally a big deal. Here it just gets washed away and that 'sick loamer' just ends up being yet another beaten up root-fest.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: I agree, especially in the Bragg Creek and Calgary areas where the soils are like clayey and not much drainage. So, riding in the wet actually damages the trails. During the pandemic year, you can really tell the erosion and trail braiding that existed. In other places, the soil has better drainage qualities (like in a lot of places in BC). Those would be OK to ride when it's damp. For me, riding on wet trail also means an extra 2 to 3 hours of cleanup afterwards when I get home. Like what you said, it's better to hit the hot tub than kill your bearings.
  • 1 0
 Totally agree. Rain rides are fun, changes old trails to new trails and being fully soaked makes you feel like a kid again.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: For sure, there are some trails that you just shouldn't run in the wet, but many trails in the UK are built with that in mind. If they were not, you might only get to ride them a few times per year.
Park laps on hard-packed clay in the rain... Hell yes! Just make sure to wash and service your bike after.
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Yeah, really! Kinda the same here way out east in NB too. Though sometimes we do get complete shutdowns for a lightning storm, and that's ok. But like I said, some of the best riding I ever had was in the rain. It teaches you some valuable skills.
  • 28 6
 Pro tip: only visit the PNW in summer. Skip the rainy season, it’s garbage.
  • 2 5
 You can burn through a drivetrain in a few nasty rides.... no problem.
  • 15 4
 And it is on fire all summer, so don't visit and definitely don't move here.
  • 11 3
 @Veggiemoto: yes, please don't come here. It's all torrential rain and fires. Hell on earth, actually. Just STAY AWAY and you don't have to find out whether this is true.
  • 1 0
 @imnotdanny: you that have to find out that this is true
  • 2 4
 Naw, it's not that bad. If you have a mudguard and a raincoat, you'll be fine. It's not even that muddy, It's just "pine-needle soup"
  • 2 0
 @madmon: I lost a lot of bearings to the PNW winter. It’s rough on the equipment.
  • 2 0
 @gafoto: I am in Canada 2/3rds of the year and it sucks in muddy weather I use a beater for those days
  • 1 0
 @madmon:
Same, but the beater gets kinda beat after a while. Riding a bike that sounds like a 200 year old hardwood floor isn’t my favorite.
  • 7 0
 I absolutely love riding out here in the rain. You don't have to go nearly as fast to reach "edge of control scary but still fun" vibes so you can spend a lot of time honing skills right there and then crush it when it's dry. Plus you usually have the place to yourself. It's a little tricky to get your attire just right and it definitely puts a lot of wear and tear on gear though. As for wear and tear on the trails, if you go at the right times it's actually not too bad for them. Best to play it safe and volunteer or donate to the folks who maintain the trails anyway.
  • 9 0
 Yeah! What he said! PNW sucks, don't go
  • 1 0
 What pack are you using in this???@christinachappetta:
  • 23 1
 Couldn't of filmed this on a wet day?
  • 13 5
 Do you even English?
  • 8 0
 It did actually rain this day, I swear! But we timed it perfectly so we weren't IN the torrential rain bc I'm pretty sure that's how camera equipment dies, and I get too jittery to talk.
  • 5 0
 @christinachappetta:
Ah we're just playing. It's pretty miserable in the UK at the moment and we're jealous.
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: Ha yeah, was gonna say I couldn't see a drop of rain but it's a great vid, lots of good tips. No point knackering your camera in the process.
  • 20 0
 Pro tip: stay indoors and drink beer.
  • 8 0
 Unless you're into country music, in which case it's required to drink alone in the rain.
  • 1 1
 Get to the Bike Park and it's full downpour? Good day for Nachos and a Pitcher of Brewskie beside the fireplace!
  • 15 0
 I think the key to not just surviving but having fun in wet weather riding is all about attitude. Yep, gear to keep you warm and toasty is nice; yep, tire choice; yep, all that. But ultimately, if you slow down a bit and think of it as a slippy-slidey giggle fest, it's downright enjoyable. Sort of life-affirmingly stupid.
  • 2 0
 This guy gets it 100%.
  • 14 0
 Why was there a couple seconds of loud music around 4:15?
  • 2 0
 Sound editing person was itching to crank it to 11 a few odd times there
  • 12 1
 Where was the "wet weather" part?
  • 5 0
 It got cut out in post.
  • 5 0
 Allll the things we covered were for preparation of a wet day haha so they still apply. One thing I have learned with filming, don't rely on the weather forecast. It will always let you down.
  • 10 0
 Pinkbike: posts anything at all mentioning rain.

Uk riders: CoMe OvA eR an Av a Look at Wot ReAl RaIn Lo0K LiKE tHen s0N.
  • 7 0
 Fenders help a lot particularly rear fenders and unless you are a fashion victim you will never regret installing a mudhugger rear for the rainy season.
  • 8 0
 This is classic in the bike park. All these guys in their pyjama suits and TLD stuff with tear away goggles yet refusing to use fenders.
  • 2 0
 I bought a Mudhugger...... absolutely outstanding. Far better than those tiny little fork fenders.
  • 11 3
 @alexsin: I’d rather be clarted up head to toe than be seen running a rear fender
  • 4 1
 @TSridesbikes: I used to agree with you, but I have to admit - having a dry arse is an absolute revelation.
  • 2 0
 @TSridesbikes: does the fender hurt your hoity toity fashion show points?
  • 4 0
 One thing. Washing the bike in the creek may not be the best for the environment. One drop of oil or grease contaminates 1000 litres of water. And we don't want our sushi to taste like bearing grease or chain lube now do we.
  • 3 0
 wet what?I hate ridding while raining,it is not my thing. Wet shoes is one of my less favorite thing about MTB. Love to ride the next day when the soil is still wet or moist but 0 rain. Sun all day long plz.
  • 2 0
 Riding in the rain ain't that bad if you adjust your expectations. Expect to get wet, expects difficulty of ride to be different from a dry ride. Expect to be cold if you stop for a prolonged period of time. Make sure you bring a towel for and some spare clothes for the after ride, at a minimum different shoes and shirt. Plan a loop that is a little shorter than usual and takes you into more cover such as a thick forest where rain doesn't penetrate as much. Always remember that a rain shell will keep you super warm and trap heat while you are moving. Don't wear cotton,

I pretty much use the same gear i ride with in dry weather for rainy days with the addition of a light rain shell. I ride in shorts, jersey wool socks (adjust thickness for time of year) non waterproof shoes, set of light gloves. Generally find the rain does not change the experience that much.

I ride North Van most of time.
  • 2 0
 Should add, ride trails that handle can handle riding in the wet conditions. In my area most trails are rated with a wet weather rating for ability to handle lots of riders in the wet.
  • 2 0
 Sounds like you guys have never been to Okinawa Japan during the rainy season. Lol. You want rain? THATS some damn rain.

Weeks on end of straight downpour. Like... big ol’ fat rain. And that stanging rain. Lol.
  • 2 0
 Very intelligent girl to recognize that the ground in bc is fantastic in the rain and that the clay-limestone soils are very slippery, sticky and that they are easily destroyed by the passage of bicycles in winter. Respect chistina
  • 2 0
 Survive a wet?? Here in the UK, I had a dry ride back in 2007 and I think another one, maybe 2012... winter it is so cold that birds fall out of the sky, gale forge winds that, even though you ride shit and creaking along at just over walking speed, the 80mph wind makes you look like Gwin on the race of his life. Often the big sending 'whip' pics are simply folk getting blown away. It rains so much here - we don't have bike parks with 'double black' or 'red' runs - here we have a deep or shallow end! We don't mind wet here in the uk though, as its a blessing to have days where you can move your fingers and toes outside, even though there is enough mud to look like you are riding in a bowl of shit.
  • 1 0
 I think you all lose.

The first stage of La Ruta De Conquistadores in Costa Rica is the worst mud on earth. Riding on Mud doughnuts until they stop turning and you just two wheel slide down(if you can stay upright).

The only people whose front wheels would turn were those riding Cannondale Lefties.
  • 2 0
 hahaha good point! The EWS round I did in Ireland a few years back was wild! That was possibly the muckiest mud I've ever experienced. I had to clear the tires at the top and bottom of every stage just to barely make the transitions.
  • 1 0
 Especially if you are riding clipless the absolute top tip is to wear shoe covers. Nice thick neoprene ones for the cold days. Sure it looks stupid but it's totally worth it. Without them basically all water sprayed on your legs dripples down in to your shoes. And there is not much worse than riding whole day in cold with puddle in your shoes. +You have absolutely clean shoes. ...Alternatively winter shoes wsually also do the job well.
  • 3 0
 I hate riding in the rain, I work outdoors all year round in often shocking conditions so to heading out at the weekend in pissing rain ain't gonna happen !
  • 2 0
 +1. I’m a builder and I spend most of my time working in deep mud. Have to dig real deep to drag my arse out for regular rides. I look forward to the real cold days where the ground is frozen so it feels like a dry days ride.
  • 1 0
 Close to or below freezing conditions (it may still be wet) requires wool. Everywhere.

Wool underwear, Wool midlayer (times two). Socks. Liners inside your gloves. Wooly hat inside your helmet. And then a layer to keep you dry.

If you start at the traihead and you feel a little chill, then you will probably warm up and you may have hit the sweet spot. If you start out all comfy and warm you sure as hell have put on too much clothes ...

Not to mention a spare set of everything to get you home without a frost bite.
  • 4 1
 Looks positively tropical compared to an average UK winter. Where are the Shortys, RRP Proguard etc!
  • 4 0
 I'm not wearing a garbage bag. It's not aero enough.
  • 2 0
 Can't ride when the trails are wet here.. red clay and little to no topsoil. Need to run mudspikes when it's wet. Otherwise, I love the clay, but wish I were in the PNW
  • 1 0
 Top tip; install an outside hot water tap for a hose.

Absolute bliss to fire hot water into your wet through shoes when you can't feel your toes after a mid-winter schlopfest ride.
  • 1 0
 This only works in places that never freeze.
  • 2 0
 I like these videos, but we shouldn't be washing bikes in the actual water course because of contamination from oils and grease.
  • 3 1
 Error: [Wet Has Not Been Found]

[ OK ] [Record again but in England]
  • 3 0
 Need a one piece suit and Conti Mud King for winter slop bliss
  • 2 0
 Have you ever tried them backwards... they are so good for intermediate to mud conditions. Plus they dont roll sideways on rocks etc like they do when run the right way around. One of my fav race tires in Scotland where its muddy quite often at a Dh race.
  • 2 0
 I spent my life savings on one of those Dirtlej Dirtsuits and its first ride was in treacherous conditions. As much as my mates paid me out, they were all jealous rather quickly. However, once the Mud penetrated the DWR coating...... still did pretty well, but nothing could stop the onslaught of the weather. Then required a proper waterproofing wash, and hasn't been as waterproof since.
  • 1 0
 Ability to ride in wet is dependent on soil type. Local stuff here is black topsoil/yellow clay which is unrideable peanut butter when wet.
Patience is key...
  • 2 2
 Ppl moaning about the weather in the UK.You are all just office nerds who have to wait for the good weather at the weekend . 1st world problems moaning about living giving nectar falling from the sky.
  • 3 1
 Nothing against Christina but, if you cant figure out what to wear for the weather, how do you survive?
  • 2 0
 Pro tip. Stay of the trails when wet!! (Especially if trails are not rocky or rooty)
  • 2 0
 Some of my most memorable rides were during averse weather conditions: rain, hail, snow, lightning and thunder.
  • 1 0
 As long as it's not snowing, with snow on the ground, it's just another day in paradise. 80% of riding in the rain is just getting wet for the first time.
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta how come you are running downhill tires? Do you find the Super Trail and Super Gravity casings insufficient?
  • 2 0
 And the color choices are limited.
  • 1 0
 + added weight
  • 1 0
 "Don't ride muddy trails". Around my parts, wet weather = muddy trails. ;-(
  • 2 0
 Can we get a riding vid from christina.
  • 1 1
 Anyone else notice that Christina replied to every thread in the comments on her last video? Wow! Thanks so much for these tips, they are really helpful!
  • 2 0
 You can only get wet once.
  • 4 2
 Pro tip: ride your bike you filthy pu$$y.
  • 1 0
 Nope. If I wanted to get wet I would take up swimming. Despite living in the UK there are plenty of dry days to go riding.
  • 2 0
 Pro tip: Just ride your bike, you'll figure it out.
  • 1 0
 Neck warmer and balaclava can be key
  • 1 0
 Amazingly, Sydney gets twice as much rain as London...
  • 1 0
 run Magic Mary in the front and Forekaster in the rear.
  • 1 0
 great advice Christina rocks
  • 1 1
 Video about riding in wet muddy conditions. actually watch 8 minutes of a bird riding hero dirt.
  • 6 6
 And then you have kalifornia where the trails are closed when raining.
  • 20 0
 For some places and some trails that's the right call.
  • 2 0
 @alexsin: I rode Santacruz etc in the rain when I was over, it was a tropical storm in fact. for over here it was a wee bit wet without the wind and cold.
  • 2 3
 Sorry but some of these are dumb af...
  • 1 2
 Your kinda right

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