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Our Top 5 Wet Weather Riding Tips

Living in the mountains means embracing the wet weather. We all know how wild springtime in Wanaka can be, but a little bit of moisture can’t keep us inside when there are perfectly tacky trails to shred.

If your first instinct is to light the fire and get cosy inside, don’t stress. We’ve all been there, and we’re here to help change that.

With a bit of planning and the right gear, you’ll be right as rain (sorry, we had to). Here are our top tips to enjoying your wet weather ride.

Riders in wet weather

Layer up

A good day out in the rain always starts with good base layers. We’re partial to Mons Royale merino, but any non-cotton insulating base layers will do. You’re going to be pedalling uphill, so don’t wear big bulky layers that will sweat you out in the first 10 minutes. A high-quality long sleeve merino top will work a treat in milder conditions, and if it’s a bit colder, a thicker merino top or second merino layer can help keep you warm.

Your legs are going to be doing most of the work, and you’ll likely be wearing chamois under your shorts/pants, so unless you’re really prone to the cold, you probably don’t need to double up on the leg layers.

Don’t forget the extremities! Merino wool socks are our favourite, and a grippy pair of gloves to help you keep control of the handlebars are preferred.

Top off the entire getup with a high-quality waterproof jacket. The ideal jacket will be mountain bike specific. Look for a longer tail to keep your bum dry(ish), longer sleeves to cover your reach and good mobility through the shoulders. We recommend a jacket that is fully seam sealed with optional vents (you’ll likely be sweating on the ups!) and can pack down to a reasonable size so you can stow it away if the sun comes out.

Sort your bike

Mud guards

Look, we get it. Mud guards aren’t the sexiest of bike accessories, but when it comes to practicality and price, chucking a mudguard on your bike will be one of the cheapest ways to improve your ride quality. Even a simple front mudguard will drastically reduce the amount of mud spray to the face. These are cheap as chips and quick to fit, so if you get caught out without one, you can pick one up in our ticketing office or grab one here.

Adjust your tyre pressure

You should be checking your tyre pressure before every ride and adjusting depending on the type of riding you’re doing and the conditions, but this is especially true for wet weather riding. If the trails are slippery, reduce your tyre pressure a bit to help improve the tyre grip on the trails.

Lube up

Your chain is one of the hardest working components of your bike, so don’t forget to show it some love, especially in wet weather. You want to find that sweet balance of enough lube to reduce the metal-on-metal contact but not too much lube, which will attract dirt and grim, increasing the friction and wear.

As the name might suggest, you’ll want to reach for the wet lube for wet riding conditions. These lubes are designed for wet trails and will last longer than dry lube. To us, apply sparingly to each chain link and remove the excess with a cloth. Wet lube is more prone to collecting dirt and grit, so don’t overdo it.

bike-glendhu-wanaka-mtb-trails

Pump the brakes

Figuratively, not literally. Go slower than you normally would. Roots and rocks will be slick, so don’t worry about beating your Strava time. No one will judge you if you lose a few seconds on a segment due to wet conditions.

Your bike is going to move, so it’s important not to panic if you start to slide. Just like in a car, hitting the brakes hard will cause you to slide even more so fight your instincts, and try to anticipate slippery situations and brake before encountering wet rocks and roots.

bike-glendhu-wanaka-mtb-trails

Tone down the cornering

Ripping into a berm at top speed might not be a great idea if the trail is slick. Any sudden change of direction will threaten to throw you off balance, so when tackling a corner, try leaning your bike over as much as possible to get as much tread as possible on the ground. Using the side of the tyre and reducing your speed will help you keep control of the bike in wet weather.

misty-mountains-wanaka-bike-glendhu

Finish the ride with a clean

A bike caked with mud will be much easier to clean when the mud is still wet. If you let it dry, you’ll be doubling your workload, so save yourself the effort and give your bike a quick spray down if it’s been through the mud wars. You probably don’t need to do a full deep clean every time you ride, but when it is time for a good scrub-up, you can use the complimentary Krush Washing Station at Base 334.

Don’t let the wet weather scare you away. Some of the best dirt at Bike Glendhu can be found during a gentle rainfall or just after a storm. Use these tips and get after that blissful hero dirt!

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