The sky has fallen and the rain is lashing down. The weather is fantastic. In one corner of the chockablock road, I can totally visualize kids venturing out of their homes to dance and play in the rain. However, you see motorcyclists hiding under the trees waiting for the heaven to stop the clouds from erupting. That is a good plan but definitely not an intelligent or should I say an electrifying one. Riding a bike, no matter where you are heading is an adventure in itself. Unless you are just a weekday trooper trying to make use of a machine to get to places then its fine. Shelter away. But if you signed up for some excitement, let’s give you that with the safety belts on.
Do you know people race their motorcycles in the rain? Nicky Hayden is one of them who not only races when it pours but also grabs trophies. Did I just come about to be fiercely adventurous? Well, I will mellow down a bit because at the end of the day we need to be realistic. Nicky Hayden is a racing champion with years of practice in the wet weather. Driving to work on a bike for 10 years doesn’t count unless you have spent endless hours in those 10 years pushing the limits of the machine. Of course, not to forget, racing is a whole different game altogether.
Riding in the rain is exciting but only when done sensibly and definitely not at the cost of your life. Driving a motorcycle when it’s pouring like cats and dogs – you need to be extremely careful (which also means you need to be intense-focused)… so a little attitude adjustment please…and make use of all the measures to ensure you are safe.
I am not an active bike rider but I have read enough and taken mental notes to jot down a few tips for you. There is a reason why both new and experienced motorcyclists shy away from the rainy weather. Wet weather can produce momentous challenges with a layer getting formed between the tire and the surface, making the journey slippery. So here are a few things you can take care of to have a safe yet a stimulating ride.
#Avoiding the slippery mess won’t make you a weekday trooper!
The moment it starts pouring, the initial 15 minutes are the worst and can be dangerous. The first thing that happens is that fluid gets mixed with debris and oil on the road that creates a huge mess. This can make the road conditions kind of treacherous. However, say if you wait for a few minutes for the rain to have its way, you will find the dirt getting washed away and the routes becoming clearer. This reduction in the oil and debris on the road can make the ride smoother and way safer.
Have you noticed rainbow colors on the road during rains? Yes, they are not there to make you see the silver lining on a cloudy day but you will surely see stars if you try to zoom through it. The colors are the result of oil or fuel mixed in water and can be extremely slippery. Read the roads – avoid puddles, rainbow colors etc.
#Maximize vision and visibility.
Your eyes need to see through the fogginess and others need to know you exist in that moment and time. Heavy pours can decrease visibility. It can make it tough for people to see each other. You can add LED lights that will enhance visibility. The brake-light modulators will help others see and segregate you as a motorcycle. You can also add anti-fog to the inside of your visor.
Don’t forget to get your eyesight checked – not joking guys! You need to have good vision to avoid a stickier situation on the road
If you were with a counselor for a session, she or he would probably give you the same advice. Though it would probably be for an entirely different reason. Maybe. In this case, as a rider, I am pretty sure you are aware of how braking distance can increase by 50%. Riding in dry condition requires one to apply just a little extra pressure on the front brakes than the rear brakes. The reverse is needed when riding in the rain. If the front wheel starts sliding, it would be extremely tough to control but if the rear wheel starts sliding it can be modified easily.
Brake needs to be applied smoothly to avoid the tires from locking out. You need to keep extra distance between you and the others to ensure you don’t slam into one.
#Technology at its best.
Today’s modern bikes have various advanced features that make mounting through not-so-great road conditions easier. Technological integrations such as ABS to high-performance tires, to all of the bike’s systems, will work even when you are gliding through the rainy sheets on the surface. They may not be highly effective however they will work enough to make your ride smoother – rest will but obviously depend on your proficiency, confidence, and measures you take to stay safe.
#Go slow – let’s not romanticize this.
Speeding is a thrill that several motorcyclists love to experience. It’s one of the reasons that connect them so fervently to this machine. But it’s an awful idea to speed during heavy showers or even drizzles for that matter unless you have a death wish. It takes longer to stop on slippery surfaces and it is thus important to ride at a slower speed. Also, go slow on the curves before you feel legless and out of control. Leave the thundering for highways on a dry day to feel the unadulterated sensation of freedom.
I am the last one to comment on fashion. But I don’t mind writing for the ‘appropriateness’ column. Yes. You need to dress right for the wet-weather ride. You can be appropriate and fashionable at the same time. The latter is not my forte but you got-to slay this one down with the right gear. Wear breathable clothes, a proper waterproof jacket, helmet that covers your face. Rains or storms don’t pre-announce their visit so you need to be prepared, always. Global warming and all have left us even more clueless than ever – we don’t have a weather schedule anymore and the forecasts are kind of pointless? So carry a backpack with the required gear and of course a towel to wipe your seat.
The key is to stay calm, aware and intensely focused. If you know what to avoid and what all you need to take care of – you’ll have an awesome ride! Riding in the rain can be extremely calming and fun. Bike riding does set you on a high and an exhilarating ride in the rain can take you to another level altogether. If you can’t purchase a bike, rent one from Ontrack. Visit our website to know more about us.