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Dealing with weather

Rain

It’s not that I like cycling in the rain – it’s just that I hate it a little less than the other riders – Stephen Roche, Tour de France winner.

Nobody likes cycling in rain. When faced with it, you have two options. You can cycle through it or change your plans.

A good quality rain jacket that you can fold up and put in a pocket will be invaluable for cycling in the rain. The majority of such jackets are luminous green, which is a help in overcast or foggy conditions when you are most likely to wear it anyway.

If it is cold, overshoes (if you are using clip-in pedals) can make the difference between keeping your feet warm and feeling like they are about to drop off. If you are wearing ordinary shoes, a tactic to use is to wrap plastic bags around your socks.

Often, a detailed weather forecast such as from met.ie will reveal a band of rain moving across your position which lasts a few hours. Thanks to long summer days, this gives you the option of going early or late or breaking up the day so that you stay off the bike while it is wet. Often rainshowers will be as brief as a couple of minutes. If they are punctuated by spells of sunshine you will dry off quickly, especially if you are wearing a rain jacket.

So what do you do on those days where it rains all day? If you have a flexible schedule or were planning a looped ride you can postpone the day’s cycling. If not, the best thing to do is to plough through it with few breaks and to keep them as short as possible. If it helps to keep you going, remind yourself of the option to call a taxi for the end of the ride if you really don’t want to complete it.

Remember to use a plastic bag or two to keep your possessions dry. It will be much easier to dry your cycling gear at the end of the day than to have to dry every single thing that you have.

Heat

You are unlikely to face excessive heat while riding in Ireland. Temperatures above 25C are rare and almost exclusively confined to the midlands. Nevertheless, if you do find the heat uncomfortable, drink extra water, take short breaks in the shade to cool down and remember to apply sunscreen more frequently to avoid making a bad situation worse.

Wind

Ride with the wind. No, seriously, that’s the best tactic for wind. Fortunately the wind in Ireland is very predictable. West, south and southwesterly winds are by far the most common.

Summary

Be flexible and have a plan for any reasonable weather scenario – don’t make it up as you go along!