As we move into the later months of the year and we say hello to the wetter weather, summer feels like all but a distant memory. And we find ourselves digging out our old winter coats, our neck gaiters and our thermals.
Whilst some people love riding their motorbike in the more adverse weather, there’s no doubt that with more rain comes trickier riding conditions. The road surfaces become slippery, your braking distances change and don’t get us started on puddles.
With this in mind, we’ve put together some important tips to consider for riding your motorbike in the rain:
First things first, it’s crucial to remember to stay relaxed, keep your cool and not make any sudden moves while you’re out and about in wetter conditions. On roads with limited traction, any harsh acceleration, steering or braking could lead to a slip or fall easier than you might think.
Avoid the shiny-smooth surfaces
Surfaces can be slippery even on the dryest of days so imagine how they get when we see some rainfall. If you can, avoid things like grates, painted lines and manhole covers. If you can’t avoid them, keep the braking steady, ride over and don’t make any sudden movements whilst passing over.
Follow a dry line
If you can, ride in the tracks of the vehicle in front of you. A car’s wheel helps push the water out of the road for a few seconds. Giving you a chance to ride on some drier road for a little while
Allow more space and time
This one goes without saying really. As braking distances are longer in the rain, you might not be able to count on traction when you need it. So give yourself more room between yourself and the car in front.
Whilst it can be one of the most fun things about riding on wet roads, you never really know if a puddle is just a mini pond of joy, or a huge pothole. If you can’t avoid a puddle, keep your bike upright and don’t touch the brakes.
It’s a given that waterproof riding gear will become your best friend when the conditions get a little harsher. But whilst waterproof attire will keep you dry from rain, a lot of the time, it’ll do little in alerting other road users of your presence.
When it rains, other road users’ visibility becomes worse. So it’s worth investing in some form of hi-vis gear or some other reflective accessories.
Focus on one thing at a time
In the drier conditions, it’s normal to combine multiple actions at once e.g. braking or accelerating whilst turning. In the rain, do one thing at a time e.g. finish your deceleration before you turn. This helps reduce traction demands on your tyres.
This is nothing new when riding your motorbike, but even more so relevant when riding in the rain. The sooner you see potential hazards, the sooner you can prepare to manoeuvre them.
If you don’t see a puddle, particularly slippy section, or a corner in time and you have to react harshly, you could be in trouble.
In summary, whilst riding in the rain does become a little trickier than riding in dry conditions. It can actually be one of the most fun times to ride. Just keep focused, stay cool, follow the above tips and don’t let a little rain dampen your ride.