As the weather cools down, the rain will start up again. If you're a motorcycle rider, that means your rides will become significantly more hazardous. Unless you pack your motorcycle away the second the weather gets cooler, you'll stand a pretty good chance of getting caught in the rain at some point.
While riding in the rain has certain hazards, it's not necessary to completely quit riding during the rainier seasons. We've prepared this short guide to teach you some of rain riding tips that we find most important .
Invest in Your Equipment
With no cabin to protect you from the rain, your clothing and riding gear will become that much more important when riding. Sure, riding in the rain and wind is unpleasant. But it can also be more dangerous because it can decrease your motor skills and distract you from the task at hand. With the right gear, you'll stay warmer and drier while cutting out distractions.
Your helmet is the most important piece of riding gear you'll buy. If you're planning on riding in the rain on a regular basis, you'll want to invest in a full-face helmet. A full-face helmet offers the best protection for keeping water away from your eyes. It will also give you greater protection from road spray or any debris that might get kicked up by other vehicles.
A good pair of shielded gloves are important, too. They should be insulated and waterproof. If you misplace your gloves, a pair of latex household cleaning gloves will keep your hands much warmer in a pinch. Insulated and waterproof boots are also extremely useful to have when the rain comes. Make sure you apply protector if you invest in leather boots, though, as water, dirt, and road salt can all damage the leather. For an added level of protection, wear a neckerchief or neck gaiter to keep the water from going down your jacket.
Watch for Areas of Low Traction
A wet road will offer substantially less traction than a dry one but even on a wet road, some areas will slicker than others. Be aware of any place where water might pool as deeper water presents a hydroplane risk. For example, areas on the inside of turns often hold more water because corners are sometimes banked to offer more traction. Another area where you might find a depression in the pavement is the two parallel trenches that run through many roads. These trenches are caused by the wear of car tires over time and they often hold a substantial amount of water. Try to ride the centerline where the water can drain away and the pavement is drier.
Areas with lots of leaves can also be extremely slippery in the rain. Leaves will get ground up into a sort of paste that is as slippery as axle grease. If possible, avoid riding on streets with significant leaf litter. The metal construction plates used in construction zones can also be quite slippery when wet so make sure you either avoid them or proceed smoothly over them without any sudden turns or braking.
When traction is a problem, speed is your enemy. The more speed you have, the more inertia you'll have, and the more likely you'll lose control. Give yourself much more following distance than you would on a dry road. It's also wise to take corners much slower and start slowing down for stop sign significantly sooner than you would otherwise.
Hopefully, these quick tips have given you some things to keep in mind the next time you have to ride in the rain. If your bike isn't well-maintained, it won't be safe to ride in the rain or in sunny weather.