Article by Alan Liptrot
You love riding in the rain don’t you? Don’t you? Why not? As long as you have the right gear and a little common sense, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a ride out when the wet stuff is falling. I have a friend who goes out every time it rains; mind you, he does live in a garage with a leaky roof, but that’s a story for a later date.
The most obvious thing you’ll need, that springs to mind is decent clothing, both from a weather and a protection point of view. Waterproofs, decent boots and gloves are a must, and it would help greatly if your visor isn’t constantly misting, A neck warmer pulled up over your mouth can help here.
Now what about riding your bike? The thing is to be smooth, and by that I don’t mean wearing wrap around shades and a James Dean Tee-Shirt. I’m talking about the way you handle your bike. Accelerate gently, squeeze the clutch and show respect to your brakes. Do not jump on them; treat them as you would treat a Rottweiler with a thorn in its paw. If you’re too harsh, it’ll bite your head off. Allow extra time and space for braking. This means looking and thinking ahead, anticipating hazards and adopting the optimum road position for bends etc.
When it’s raining, it’s very important to match your speed with the gear you are in, especially when gearing down. Changing down too early can cause the rear wheel to lock, and that’s just what you don’t need on a slippery road. Don’t forget that your tyres are going to need extra time to reach working temperature too, another reason why smoothness is the key. Steering into bends necessitates even use of the throttle. It goes without saying that braking harshly on a bend in the rain is not a good idea. If you adopt the smooth approach, you will probably find that it will eventually translate across to your dry riding. Riding in the wet can make you an overall better motorcyclist. The anticipation that you have had to learn in the wet, won’t suddenly be forgotten when you go out in the sunshine.
Keep an eye out for those dreaded white lines. I try to stay away from them at anytime, but when they are wet, they can become ice-like. Manhole covers too can be slippery. I’m not advocating here that you weave down the road like a demented rattle snake avoiding this and that, but if you can look ahead and see the hazard well before you reach it, all the better. In the wet, diesel can show up like a rainbow in a pool of water. Don’t head for the pretty colours, there’s no pot of gold there.
Visibility is an issue too. Car drivers can’t see you so easily in the rain. The blind spots at the corners of his vehicle increase in the wet. He’s limited to the arc that is cleared by his wipers, so make sure that you wearing clothes that are highly visible. This is not a bad idea in the dry either.
Once you’ve taken on board these few aspects of motorcycling in the rain, donned your wet weather gear and drank your Smoothie, you’re ready to head off into the elements, but don’t come round my house. I don’t want you dripping all over my floor. Go around to my friend’s and sit in his garage. He won’t be there of course; he’ll be out enjoying himself on the bike that was his half of the divorce settlement. Well, you didn’t think he was going to give that up, did you?The original article, along with other motorcycle articles can be seen at http://www.motorbike-tours.co.uk The website is dedicated to motorcycle touring in Europe. The tours can be seen at http://www.motorbike-tours.co.uk/tour.htm
About the Author
Alan Liptrot is the founder of http://www.motorbike-tours.co.uk The company offers guided motorcycle tours in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The tours can be seen at http://www.motorbike-tours.co.uk/tour.htm