Family Biking: Get ready for puddle season

Posted by on November 14th, 2018 at 10:46 am

Start ’em young…also, balance bikes have no drivetrain to douse with puddle water.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Puddle season is right around the corner, are you ready?

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Officially, I believe one should always avoid puddles because you never know what’s hidden under the water. Unofficially, they’re really fun to ride through!

But seriously, puddles can contain sharp rocks that puncture tires or hide deep potholes that throw you over your handlebars when you enter them. Or if you lose momentum on your way through a big puddle and have to put your foot down: soaking wet foot.

Shallow puddles are fun!


Sometimes puddles feel unavoidable, filling a depression across the whole bike lane or road. We cautiously ride through these sorts of puddles, lifting our feet to keep them dry, but it’s never a bad idea to backtrack and choose a drier street or take to the sidewalk to avoid unplumbed depths.

Sometimes the fun is in avoiding the puddles.

We encounter a lot of puddles on rainy days and without constant encouragement to avoid them, one of my kids aims at each and every one. Luckily my kids will usually listen to reason and skirt around those enticing day ruiners. Another trick I’ve used in the past is to stop and throw rocks or sail boats in puddles to scratch the itch. That said, we’ve had a few miserable day with cold, wet feet and “notes to self” to pack spare shoes and socks in the future.

Well. This felt unavoidable at the time, but I could have elected to use the sidewalk.

What are your thoughts on puddles? Have any horror stories to tips to share? Thanks for reading.

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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B. CarfreeGreg SpencerHello, KittyDavidCaptainKarma Recent comment authors
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When I was but 5 yrs old and having inherited my sister’s balloon tire bomber (The girl’s frame made it so much easier to learn to ride by myself, with no training wheels), my grandpa warned me against riding through puddles. ” You’ll get a flat!” Well that sounded like “You’ll put yer eye out!” of course. I loved my grandpa but have been riding through puddles to this day. Never did get a flat from that.


My only crash was due to the puddle on Barbur Blvd southbound before the offramp to Capitol Hwy; hit a large rock and had a really bad rest of the night. Generally puddles are alright if they are optional to bike through and not seemingly mandatory. Rain boots, and possibly a Muddy Buddy, are really helpful if the plan is to puddle jump on or off bike no matter your age.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty

Love the photo!

Greg Spencer
Greg Spencer

Two of my worst spills were due to hitting deep potholes that I didn’t see cause they were filled with water. Puddles scare me and I always try to avoid them.

B. Carfree
B. Carfree

There is one upside to doing a lot of riding on the same streets/bike paths over and over. During leaf and puddle season, I know where the worst of the hidden road defects are even when they are hidden from view. Of course there’s always the possibility of a new hazard making its way to the bottom of a puddle, but I haven’t yet done an imitation of Papa bear of the Berenstain Bears.

We always pack spare clothes for the granddaughters, especially including comfortable wool socks. Even as protected as they are, they still manage to get a good soaking from time to time.