Unexpected rain while riding your e-bike? In the Philippines where we only have two seasons - dry and wet - it's bound to happen! Here are a few tips to #RideSafe in the rain.
Stay dry and visible
We're lucky we don't need heavier gear since it's still warm even during the rainy season, so a lightweight rain jacket is enough. Because visibility goes down when it's raining, it's best to choose a brightly colored one, like this neon yellow city cycling rain jacket.
When it's getting dark because of cloud cover, remember to turn on your front and rear lights as well for added visibility.
Check your electronics' IP rating
Some bikes ride better in the rain than others. Now is a good time to check the IP (ingress protection) rating of your lights and your e-bike. Here's a quick reference on the 2 digits on the IP rating commonly seen on bike electronics:
The first digit is the protection rating from solids
- 4 - protected from solids more than 1mm (like wires, screws)
- 5 - dust protected (but not completely)
- 6 - dust tight
The second digit is the protection rating from liquids
- 4 - protected from splashing water from any direction
- 5 - protected from water jets from any direction
- 6 - protected from powerful water jets from any direction
- 7 - protected from short-term immersion in water
- 8 - protected from continuous immersion in water
For example, Nakto E-bikes are rated IP65, meaning they are dust tight and protected from water jets from any direction, so they can be safely ridden in light to moderate rain.
Photo by Mark Nathaniel Malonzo, posted in the Nakto Philippines Community after riding in rain.
Shield your eyes
Use wraparound eyewear to protect your eyes from the rain. Consider lenses that can increase contrast in low light conditions such as these yellow sunglasses or these cross country MTB shades that protect eyes from spray and wind.
Heavy rain? Stop and take cover
When it's really pouring down, it's safest to stop for a while and wait until the rain lightens up. In heavy rain, your visibility is even more impeded, as well as those of other motorists. In some parts of the metro, flash floods also often occur, which may damage the e-bike when submerged.
Protect your tires
No one wants to patch a flat in the middle of a downpour! When it starts to rain, try lowering tire pressure by 5-10psi to give your tires larger surface contact and better grip on slippery roads as well as prevent sudden blowouts. Pro tip: Consider adding a tire liner and/or sealant to instantly seal small holes while riding, since rain washes out more sharp objects, glass and debris onto the road.
It might seem fun to splash across puddles, but you can't be sure what's under it - an open manhole, parallel drainage grates that can trap your wheels and send you flying, or sharp stones that can puncture your tires. Carefully slow down and ride around them instead.
Easy on the brakes
To avoid locking up your wheels and slipping on the wet road when stopping or turning, gradually apply pressure and make more use of the rear brake to slow down long before stopping, especially on descents.
Clean up, dry down, lube up
It's harder to get off grime if you put off cleaning your bike, not to mention possibly getting your chain rusty if you leave it wet and dirty. Check your tires for embedded debris, spray off your whole bike with a low pressure hose, run a brush over grimy parts especially the chain, rinse and wipe it down dry. Remember to lube your chain before your next rainy ride!
Cover photo: Don't leave it wet and muddy! A Nakto Ranger E-Bike after a rainy trail ride