Thousands of cyclists taking part in Sunday’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 are being told to prepare for the weather after the Met Office today warned that the remains of a hurricane could be on its way to southern England.
Forecasters say there is a 60 per cent chance that Hurricane Bertha, which has swept through the Caribbean, will hit the country on Sunday, bringing with it torrential rain and strong winds.
The Met Office says the storm is “a particularly hard one to forecast but there is increasing confidence that this feature will affect the UK on Sunday, though with very large uncertainty remaining over the track and intensity.”
According to its chief meteorologist, Paul Gundersen,"There is still some uncertainty surrounding this weekend's weather, with the potential for heavy rainfall, strong coastal winds and large waves on Sunday.
“However, there is still a chance that the system may pass to the south of the country giving the UK a brighter day.
"Rain and strong winds may well bring disruption, especially across southern parts of the UK, with the potential for more than 50 mm of rain and coastal gusts of over 60 mph. People should stay up to date with the latest Met Office warnings."
That could make conditions very difficult indeed for the approximately 30,000 cyclists taking part in Sunday’s second edition of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, which starts at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park early in the morning and heads out into the Surrey hills before swinging back to the capital to finish on The Mall.
As well as the prospect of a strong headwind on the way out – and hopefully, a tailwind on the way back – heavy rain plus the prospect of surface water could be hazardous for participants.
Prudential RideLondon event director Hugh Brasher, quoted on GetSurrey.co.uk, said:: "A number of riders have been asking about the weather conditions on Sunday.
"As always with the British weather, it’s subject to huge change.
"We continue to monitor the weather situation and have numerous contingencies in place for inclement weather.
"We recommend, and have messaged to riders throughout the last six months, that they should ensure their bikes are properly prepared and they are suitably clothed for whatever the British weather may bring," he added.
We’d expect rain jackets that can fold into a jersey’s rear pocket to be in short supply in the capital’s bike shops by tomorrow evening, not to mention clip-on mudguards such as the Ass Saver.
Here are some tips for riding in the wet.
Tyre grip is less effective on wet surfaces, meaning you’ll need to reduce speed, particularly when cornering (when you will also want to keep the bike more upright than you perhaps would in the dry). Consider reducing your tyre pressure slightly to get a bigger contact point.
To ensure your brakes are most effective when you need them, periodically apply some light pressure on the brake levers. This will cause the brake pads to remove water from the rims, making them more effective if you have to stop suddenly.
With braking distances affected by wet road surfaces, try and keep a safe gap between yourself and the rider in front. Also, ride slightly to one side rather than immediately behind to avoid being hit by spray and debris.
If you are riding on Sunday, above all, enjoy the event, whatever the weather – and stay safe.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.