Bicycling Weather Tips

For Commuting or Touring

bicycling barecelona, bicycling in the rain

There are five major weather types that bicycle commuters and bicycle tourers will be faced with. And since you don't have the convenient option of sitting inside a covered enclosed space, like most auto commuters, it's important to recognize the different types of weather that you will be riding through, and different actions you can take to protect yourself the best you can.


Sun & Heat


Rain & Sun



Bicycling weather is the all important question. Here in Seattle it can sometimes be hot, it sometimes snows, they also say it rains here :) but all-in-all, weather in Seattle is pretty moderate. But the rain's the thing. Mostly it seems to rain harder when in a moving car then when on a bicycle. And let's not forget. our skin IS waterproof.

Our rain strategy page features a great video for safe cycling in the rain.

Sun & Heat

- Often In Combination

But planning for different types of weather does take time, and good forecasting to how your day is going to go.

Layers are good: Wool is warm even when wet and does dry fast. And there is a whole world of "engineered" fabrics out there that repel water, vent body heat, dry fast, and are lightweight enough to not take up a lot of storage space.

All sorts of cycling and outdoor clothes abound at places like your local bike shop. It always pays to make friends with those who own and run the local bicycle shop since they know more about bikes than you do. Bargains on last year's models of clothes usually abound.

Cold - Protecting Ears, Noses, Fingers and Toes

When it's cold the effects can sneak up on you with little advance warning. Incorporating layers, doing the best you can to cover your nose and fingers and toes, and making sure to "check in" with those fingers and toes is important.

Water is critical. The natural response of your body when it gets gets cold is for the blood vessels to constrict. This affects your bodies ability to circulate blood. Your blood is what keeps you warm. If that circulation is impeded, those far away from the heart areas; toes, fingers and brain are affected.

If you don't have enough water in your system, the effects of this slowing of circulation is increased. And so are the chances of frostbite. Often, when riding in the winter, cyclists forget to drink water. But it is important that you are drinking two liters of water a day in order to keep that circulation working in tip top shape.

Rain & Sun - Spring and Fall Brings Them All

Often in the Spring and Fall you can find yourself cold in the mornings and afternoons and hot during the middle of the day. and almost always on trips over mountains this can be the case. Again this is where loose layers are important in managing your body's temperature. When it is cool, and you are just starting out for the day and it is cool, or cool & damp, then you want all your layers on. As the day progresses, and your own body temperature rises from the activity of bicycling, then you can stow some of those layers- Then as the day progresses, and the rain or coolness returns, the layers can go back on again.

After a few hours of riding when you stop for fifteen minutes or more, your body temperature will drop and having layers to put on again is very helpful.

Wind - The Unseen Weather Force

Above all, wind can be the most disconcerting weather condition while on your bicycle. On one leg of a trip we spent the entire day bicycling into the wind, and even though it was sunny. it seemed it would never end.

It is a joy when a tail wind comes from behind and adds a few extra miles per hour to your peddling. Mostly though, that rarely happens. wind can come head on toward you as you cycle along, and the force, and sound of that wind in your ears can make every turn of the wheel seem like a challenge.

So too, strong winds from the side that will push you to and fro affecting your steering and challenging your balance.

Seattle Weather Resources

Seattle Weather Data

National weather forcasting