Nervous of riding in the rain? Don’t be. The basics of riding well in the wet are the same as riding in the dry; you just need to think a little harder…
This is how a website on advanced motor riding begins its article on riding in the rain.
Riding in the Kenyan weather is at times a bit like a game of chance. You take off when the sun is shining and by mid afternoon it starts to rain. So you have two choices, either wait out the rain or keep on riding in it.
Riding on wet asphalt is an acquired skill, it changes your handling as well as your braking, and it helps if you are aware of what the hazards in such weather are.
Traction – Slow down, your breaking distance increases in wet road conditions. Increase the amount of traction available to your tires by riding upright. Most tires available on the local market have limited traction when the road becomes wet, so keep that in mind.
Turns –Corners, Round Abouts , Junctions – reduce your speed and lean angle when at any of this spots, make the turn straight up, rather than in a lean. Avoid unnecessary swerves.
Road Textures – Any painted line is a hazard.
– Cabro or concrete used to pave some commercial and residential parking areas are very slick surfaces. So ride slow and straight up.
Rail Road Tracks, Manhole Covers , Bridge crossings – These are made of steel and are particularly nasty and slippery when wet. Try and avoid making turns on them and while crossing keep the bike straight up and cross over it slowly.
Pot Holes – In the rain , it is hard to gauge the size and depth of a pot hole . Avoid them if you can. And if you happen to realize that one is in your path and it is too late to avoid it, stand off your seat as you go through it to ease the resulting bone jarring shock wave.
Dirt , Mud and Oil – if you’re caught in the first rain remember the roads are covered with lots of oil , mud and dirt that will be lifted from the surface , or trucked in by cars in the first 30 minutes of a new rain. Take a break if you can. Ride slow and straight up.
Below are Pro Tips on Wet Weather Riding From ridermagazine.com
1.Choose a rain suit that incorporates a breathable membrane such as Gore-Tex, Reissa, Hipora or similar material.
2. Pack your rain suit on top, not at the bottom of your saddlebag.
3. Watch windshield wipers of oncoming cars to see if it’s raining ahead.
4. Put your rain gear on before the rain starts.
5. Wear bright colors for increased visibility to others.
6. Transfer wallet, keys, and other essentials to waterproof outside pockets.
7. Your windshield should be low enough to look over, not just through.
8. Use four-way flashers in heavy rain or fog.
9. Increase your following distance, and watch for tailgaters.
10. Avoid standing water as it can hide potholes and debris.
11. Check tire pressures periodically. Under inflated tires are more likely to hydroplane.
12. Tap rear brake in advance of normal braking distance to alert followers.
13. Gently apply brakes periodically to wipe rotors of water/mud/debris.
14. Watch out for painted lines, arrows, etc. as they can be particularly slippery.
15. After the ride, don’t pack your rain gear away until after it’s dry.