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What are the tips for riding a motorcycle in the rain?
A lot of people love riding in the rains and certainly, most of them hate it. It depends on you how you take it. It can be an interesting challenge or it can be a terrifying task on the slippery roads. One needs to be calm and confident for riding in the rain. If you’re the kind of person who loves to ride in the rain, you ought to follow these tips.
Don’t trust puddles
However fun the mini-ponds and puddles may look, for all you know they might be hiding a foot-deep pothole or even manholes. So, if you can’t avoid a puddle make sure you go steadily through it and be ready for what may come. Stay upright and don’t even think about braking.
Avoid shiny-smooth surfaces
The roads which are usually slippery or smooth are proven to be very dangerous in monsoons. Try and avoid things like manhole tops, painted lines and tar snakes. If you are in an unavoidable situation just roll over them without any sudden accelerations or braking.
Keep your cool
Stay focused and keep your calm. Never make any sudden moves. The traction on a slippery road is already very low so better to avoid harsh accelerations or braking or even sudden turns can prove fatal. Progressive braking is all you need to do, squeeze the lever lightly at the first to create a load on the front tire and compress the suspension.
Do one thing at a time
We often combine a lot of actions together while riding, as in trail braking, shifting gear, accelerating while turning. But in the rain, you need to focus on one thing at a time. You need to finish your deceleration before you take a turn into the corner. This will help you reduce the traction requirements of your tires.
Clinging to the bars with a death grip will do three bad things: a) tire you out faster, b) exaggerate the effects of any movements you make, and c) keep your suspension from working as it should. Remember that your bike is designed to handle small bumps and wiggles, so let it do its job.
Having a tight death grip on the bars may have three outcomes −
- you’ll be tired fast.
- Emphasize the effects of any movements that you make.
- Keep the suspension under high tension which isn’t a good thing to do.
Rainbows are not your friend
If no one’s ever told you, the colourful swirls on the road are just slippery oil pools of death. You do not want to ride over them. They’re formed by vehicles which sit on the road for a while and leak oil. As a result of rain, they turn into shiny and dreadfully slippery roads. You have to be extra careful near intersections and crossings.
Give yourself time and space
You need to maintain a proper distance between you and vehicle in front of you as the braking distance is much longer comparatively in rains and you cannot count on the vehicle in front you to not apply a sudden brake. You need time to scan the road in front of you to avoid the mishaps mentioned above.
Find a dry line
The best possible route to take would be to follow the car tire tracks on the road as the cars tend to push away the water and pave a path for the brief moment. Try to be on the dry pavement for as long as possible.
Dry gear isn’t enough
Wearing a waterproof gear is not just enough, it would be better if you wore a reflecting or shiny high-visible gear as in the rains cars and trucks cannot spot small bikes on their way. It would be thoughtful to invest on something like that. If you have a basic black rain gear try to highlight it by using radium or some shiny object which will help in reflecting the high-beams of vehicles.
Orange is the new clear
A face shield in orange or yellow perhaps can increase the contrast in poor visibility conditions. An anti-fog shield would be a bonus. The wax you use to polish the bike can be used to keep the droplets off the visor.
Consider wearing goggles
Consider buying a dual-sport helmet with goggles in it. They can be used to off-road as well as riding in the rains. On top of it, the goggles fog less comparatively.
Some more tips
ZIPLOCK your belongings
Keep your mobile, wallet and any important papers in a waterproof plastic or Ziploc. This way you can be sure of not ruining your belongings.
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