Photo Credit: driver Photographer via Flikr (Modifications Made)
Riding in the rain has mixed reviews from bikers. While some just stop riding and cover their motorcycles with protective coating, there are others who just love it. It’s an unavoidable part of a bikers life and all of us have done it at some point in our rides.
As a rider, it is important to know the basics for rain riding. Here are 10 things to remember while riding in the rain.
1. GET THE RIGHT GEAR
Rain Drops become pricky at normal riding speeds. On bare skin, they feel like needles. Needless to say, you need to have the correct riding gear in the rain. Here is what you should have:
Helmet: When riding at high speeds, you don’t want the rain to touch any part of your body. Its painful and disturbing. Its even more annoying when the rain drops prick your face. Hence you need to protect keep your face protected. You should prefer riding in a full face helmet to restrict any rain touching your face or your neck. If you are the one, who prefers the open face helmets over the full faced ones, you should use it with a big enough Visor. Your visor needs to be clear and scratch free. So ditch your dark visors in the rain. Visibility is premium and you don’t want to reduce it further by using a dark visor.
Gloves: Next you should protect are your hands. Your hands are most susceptible to getting cold. Get a pair of waterproof gloves to protect your hand from getting wet and cold. Rain can tend to get into your hands through the wrist part of your glove, so keep it covered. Its best to keep it under the jacket sleeve.
Jacket, Pants and Suit: As with Gloves, your jacket, pant and suit should also be water resistant. Sadly, there are not many good riding jackets that completely protect from the rain.
Since visibility is low in the rain, ensure that you are wearing bright jackets, which also have reflective strips.
Inner Gear: You should always create a second layer of protection between your body and your riding gear. A non-absorbent shirt like the ones made out of polyester are a good bet.
Boots: For some reason, no matter what boots you wear, rain somehow creeps into your shoe. It’s usually from the top. Though it is difficult to stop it from the top, ensure that you have the correct waterproof riding boots. Keep your boots under your pants to protect any water from sweeping into your socks.
2. SLIPPERY ROADS
Automobiles spill oil on the road while moving. When it rains, the oil rises above the water making it very slippery. The cute rainbows on the road is not Facebook promoting gay rights, its oil and should be avoided.
You should also avoid riding over metal, like drainage covers, road blinkers etc.
Here is an example of how slippery roads can get in the rain
3. WATCH OUT FOR PUDDLES
You don’t know how deep a puddle is and hence you should avoid them. If it is absolutely necessary to pass through one, go over it dead slow.
4. RIDE SLOW AND RIDE STRAIGHT
This is quite a no brainer. You may want to reach your destination faster in the rain, but riding faster is just not an option. Ride Slower than you usually do. The reasons are simple, the road does not have good grip and you have low vision. Also avoid banking your bike too much, as you are likely to fall.
Even if you do fall, you are less likely to injure yourself if you are slow.
5. APPLY REAR BRAKES BEFORE FRONT BRAKES
The rear brakes provide stability to your bike, whereas the front ones are the ones, which have more braking strength. Always apply the rear brakes first and use them as much as you can. If you apply only the front ones, you will lose grip and are likely to fall. Also keep pumping the brake so that there is no water between the brakes and the wheel.
6. KEEP DISTANCE
Given the low visibility and that you have to brake cautiously, always maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you are riding behind a car, keep a little to the side. This will give you more space to brake.
7. BE VISIBLE
Visibility can get really low in the rain and hence you should do everything to make yourself as visible in the rain. Along with bright riding gear, you should also turn on your lights. If it is permitted, turn on your hazard lights as well.
8. PROTECT YOUR LUGGAGE
Most Luggage Bags are waterproof. However if you use the leather or canvas ones, you should protect them with a rain cover, as you are never too sure from where water might creep in.
9. STOP WHEN IT GETS DIFFICULT
There is nothing macho about riding when you are finding it difficult. You are not only risking your life but also of others on the road. When it rains hard, you should get under a shed and wait for the rain to stop. You may as well make some rider pals in the rain.
Lastly, you should relax and enjoy the ride. Think of the days when we were kids and would run in the open when it used to rain. Rains are fun and romantic. there is no better weather to enjoy the ride than the rains. Getting cramped up on your bike will only make your ride difficult.
We are sure there are more simple and great tips for riding in the rains. If you know of more tips, leave them in the comments below.