What if it Rains?
What if it Rains?
The big question on a unsupported bike trip! Depending on when you go, that may not be an “if” question, but a "when" question. The answer to that question “what happens when it rains” is, to put it simply, “It depends”.
How much rain? What’s the forecast? How much wind? How cold is it?
Can you stay where you are another night? Are you in a town or other place where there might be something to do out of the rain? How much is the trip going to be screwed up if you stay another night?
What’s the ride like to the next stop? Is there a restaurant along the way for some lunch and a the chance to dry out a bit, or where you planning a picnic by a river?
You think about the answers to all these questions and you make one of several choices:
Spend another night where you are. If it’s really, really raining, or it very cold and especially windy (we find the wind more objectionable than the rain most times), and it’s warm and dry where you are, there’s something even modestly interesting to do out of the rain, and the subsequent trip wouldn’t be too messed up, we’d be tempted to just stay put. In fact, in all our tours, we’ve never actually done that.
Ride in the rain. This we have done, way more than once. That’s why you bring good quality rain gear, and your panniers are waterproof. Unless it’s absolutely pouring, freezing cold, and the wind is howling, riding in the rain isn’t that bad. Like the saying goes “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing”.
If moving on seems best but you just can bring yourself to ride in the rain, you still may have some choices. Worst case scenario is a taxi. Generally available in all but the most remote rural areas, this will set you back a bit, possibly 100 euro or more, but may be worth it in the end. Again, depending on where you are, there may be a bus (often hard with bikes) or, if you’re lucky, a train (which generally do allow bikes, see French Trains above)
Bottom line, a certain amount of rain is par for the course, especially in the spring or fall when we like to ride. With a little preparation and the right attitude, it doesn’t have to ruin the trip.