Story byDenise Gonsalves
Photography byFrancisco Guerrero
Est. Read Time
Biking around Metro Manila has never been more popular. Since the pandemic arrested the country’s public transport systems in March, more and more people have turned to cycling for mobility. These days, an average of over 2,000 cyclists pass through EDSA every day, while in cities across the metro, bike lanes are popping up where there previously weren’t any. Even local bike shops are struggling to keep up with demand, as more Filipinos grow to depend on active transport.
With this year's rainy season expected to last until December, it’s normal for new bikers to feel a little out of their depth. Biking in the rain is scary—the skies are dark, the roads are slippery, and there are many external factors to consider. But it only takes one thing to do it safe and well: good preparation.
“Preparing to ride under the rain means [being able to] bike anywhere, anytime, no matter how unpredictable the weather is,” says Andro Umali, a long-time bike commuter and member of the online bike community MNL Moves. Though a rainy day ride takes more planning than usual, the sense of freedom and control unlocked by bike commuting—especially when you have a bad combo like rain and traffic—is well-worth the trade-off.
And who knows—you might even come to enjoy it. “It’s actually more fun!” affirms Andro, who believes that biking in the rain is its own kind of adventure; he’s even discovered new routes while doing one of these rides. “The thrill of riding under the rain is something I’ve personally enjoyed.”
Any outdoor activity requires you to keep yourself safe—and this starts before you even head out the door. Never force yourself to ride in the rain; if you don’t feel comfortable, you can always opt to travel in another way.
But just in case you decide to go off into the streets, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Before You Ride
- Check the weather forecast. Anticipating the day’s weather will help you mentally and physically prepare. As much as possible, avoid riding out when there’s a typhoon signal—better to be safe than sorry!
- Always have a good, waterproof jacket on-hand—one that’s light and breathable to keep the sweat out, but thick enough to shield you from the rain.
- Bring extra clothes. If you arrive at your destination more drenched than expected, you can always change into something warm and dry.
On the Road
- Take. It. Slow. The rain not only affects you but other road-users as well. Expect a few more hazards than usual.
- Avoid riding through puddles—you never know if it’s deep or shallow.
- Brake earlier than you would while cycling in dry conditions. Wet brakes unfortunately reduce friction, which take longer to slow you down.
- As much as possible, rinse and towel dry your bike after a wet ride. This will remove any dirt or debris that managed to lodge itself onto your bike. If you’re unable to wash your bike immediately, make sure to wipe your gears down to prevent rust from building.
- Rainwater wears out bike chains and cables more quickly; make sure to lubricate your gears after cleaning so they don’t easily corrode.
- Bring your bike to a maintenance shop at least once a month to keep it in perfect condition.