It’s easy to ride on a dry surface, but it’s been said that skilled motorcycle riders are made in the rain! Even though you can plan your ride as best can be, eventually you will get caught in a downpour.
As a motorcycle instructor and a road racer with a second place podium in the rain (TT Circuit Assen), I recommend to all riders I’ve coached, that you might as well embrace riding in the rain. If you prepare yourself and stop avoiding riding your motorcycle in the rain, you’ll learn a lot of useful skills, in these particular conditions. Much of the anxiety felt riding in the rain, arises from imaginings, and other riders’ poor experiences. Experiences usually prompted by panic. Riding your motorcycle in the rain is part of the total adventure of motorcycling and when you know what to do and what to expect, you you can really have some fun in it!
“Go out and ride in the rain.” – Vicki Gray, Instructor
Once you’ve obtained some seat time in the rain, you’ll find your skills and confidence will increase. You’ll find at rains threat, you won’t let it stop it you from getting out there and enjoying yourself.
If you’re still in doubt, here are six good reasons you should get there and ride in the rain, anyway.
- Gear & Clothing Smarts. Here’s where you’ll understand if the gear you purchased to keep you dry really is all that. You’ll find the benefits of waterproof zippers after reaching for that pack of gum in your jacket which has become entirely soaked. Rain sneaks in everywhere, and the art of keeping dry is really the answer to step one of enjoying your ride in the rain. You’ll find a rank jacket and pant that actually meets your needs. You’ll master the art of layering to let your body breathe while keeping the rain out. You’ll grow to appreciate waterproof gloves as well as a set of waterproof over boots for your motorcycle boots. You’ll discover a visor which actually enhances light in the rain. And when you find what’s right, such as a one piece rain suit or two, you’ll be comfortable to ride for hours.
- Improved Motorbike Handling. Riding in the rain presents more risks than riding on the dry – for obvious reasons, wet equals slippery. The road and everything on it or crossing it because slicker. Painted surfaces and metal road obstacles are riskier and need to be handled smoothly. You’ll need to increase spacing, operate the controls smoother, and build in more time for coming to a stop. You’ll throttle smoothly through corners keeping your body more upright, relaxed. Careful operation on the controls, no sudden moves and with the seat time you gain in every rain-ride, the easier it will become. Furthermore, your dry riding skills will benefit greatly – you’ll see the difference.
- Increased Confidence / Mental Toughness. All the skills and wisdom you’ll gain riding in the rain, will indeed give you more confidence. The reality is, if you can ride through a stormy downpour with your body and mind intact, you’re ready for pretty much anything. Enduring a ride through a downpour is the kind of thing that builds mental toughness.
- SOLITUDE – Most people tend to stay inside and off the roads when it’s raining. That means you have the road nearly to yourself. You’ll notice the silence, the wet fresh air and the beauty along roads you may have not previously just passed along by on. Often the sky’s darkness and the wetting of the surrounding greenery make for some vivid exciting scenes. You’ll enjoy these moments and likely ask yourself the question – why you haven’t done this more often.
- Increased Appreciation for Comfort. When the initial ride minutes or hours wear off, and chill sets in; maybe the downpour starts to make you weary, the thought of reaching your destination and drying off becomes really exciting. A hot shower or a warm drink will never feel as luxurious as they do after you’ve arrived, parked and gone inside to dry off.
- Champion Points. You’ll observe the admiration of those others, driving in their vehicles at every fuel stop – happy they’re not you, but appreciating your biker stamina. And besides, the real champion or “winning feeling” comes from you, knowing you’ve the ability and the embraced pleasure to do this, ride in the rain!
You are the motorcyclist! And those sunny days, will appear ever sunnier when you’ve embraced the rain.
READ MORE ABOUT RIDING IN THE RAIN!
By Vicki Gray | Editor, founder MOTORESS; motorcycle basic, advanced and race instructor certified for over 30 years. Motorcycle On-road and race licensing examiner. Coached, taught, examined riders for European, Caribbean and North American training institutes.