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Yes, You Can Ride Your Motorcycle in the Rain
Your bike doesn’t have to stay in the garage every time the road is wet. In fact, learning how to ride safely in rain can make you a safer rider overall. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe while riding in wet weather.
Plan ahead. Check the weather before you ride – even for short distances – so you’re prepared in case things get wet. Find an app you like that shows live radar to help you plan your route. If severe weather is coming, it’s probably best to wait it out. To be extra prepared, take a beginner or advanced motorcycle training class to give you the know-how you need to stay safe on wet roads.
Gear up to stay safe and dry. This tip is a no-brainer – you need the right rain gear before taking a ride out in the elements. From waterproof gloves and boots to full-on rain suits, you have plenty of options to keep you dry. Preventing a visor fog-up is also key – try an anti-fog coating for the inside of your visor or a fog-preventive lens insert you can attach on the inside. If things start getting foggy, crack your visor a bit to clear things up.
Be a smooth operator. On a wet road, every move you make on your bike is amplified, so make sure your braking, turns, throttling, gear changes and all your other inputs are slow, smooth and easy. Remember, anti-lock brakes don’t come standard in a lot of bikes, so learning proper braking technique is essential. Engine braking or downshifting can also help you slow down smoothly in the rain, but it’s best to only use this technique for very low speeds.
Keep your bike upright. Wet roads mean decreased traction, and your tires get maximum traction and contact with the road when your bike is completely upright on the road. For turns or lane changes when you’d normally lean a bit, learn how to pivot steer, or try the “one cheek off” method of shifting in your seat during a turn.
Watch the road. You’re always watching the road while on your bike, but in the rain, some surfaces – such as painted street lines, railroad tracks and sewer covers – can reduce your traction. And while it’s not common, hydroplaning is possible on a motorcycle. So, keep an eye out for surface changes, accumulated water and even the shallowest of puddles on the road.
Slow down or take a break. The faster you go on your motorcycle, the less traction and visibility you have when it’s raining. Make sure to slow down, leave extra room behind the car in front of you and even take a break if things get rough on the road. Roads are most dangerous when the rain first starts to fall, especially if there’s been a long dry spell. If it hasn’t rained in a while, stay off the road for an hour or so until all that slippery oil build up washes off the road. Even if it’s rained recently, a few minutes of waiting can help keep you safe.
Love it. With the right gear and know-how, riding your motorcycle in the rain won’t just be easier, it can be a challenge you’ll enjoy for years to come.
The best riders are prepared riders. You’ve worked hard to achieved your dream of owning a motorcycle, so make sure you arm yourself with the knowledge to keep that dream alive.