The clouds have rolled in, the sun has disappeared, and the raindrops are falling from the sky. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to put the motorcycle away. In fact, many riders love riding in the rain. It takes some practice, preparation, and experience to feel comfortable on wet roads, but these tips will help riders get started. For more in-depth instructions, consider taking a learn-to-ride course. That being said, if a biker feels uncomfortable or the weather conditions are particularly bad, he or she should absolutely pull over and wait it out.
Check the Tires
Tires take longer to warm up on wet roads, so riders need to put special care into warming them. Weaving back and forth to rough up the tread surface does very little to warm tires, and it’s particularly dangerous in the rain. The stop-and-go technique (accelerating and braking) is best. Riding with worn, overinflated, or underinflated tires is dangerous in any weather condition, so every rider should make a habit of checking tire condition and pressure before each ride.
Adjust Following Distance and Brake Times
Everyone should remember from Driver’s Ed that it takes longer to stop in the rain. Increasing following distance could literally mean the difference between life or death. Following eight to ten seconds behind the next car leaves more time for stopping or swerving. It also takes a second or two to actually get to the brake lever after noticing a hazard; covering it with two fingers while driving in the rain can shave a few seconds off the brake time.
Watch for Slick Spots
Slick roads require special caution, and metal bridges, manhole covers, painted lines, and tar snakes present even more of a danger when wet. Another perilous spot is the middle of the road near stoplights and stop signs, which gets coated with oil and other residue from stopped vehicles. Stopping on a bike is extremely difficult in these spots. The steel on railroad tracks is also precariously slippery. Approaching them as perpendicularly as possible makes the bike less likely to slide.
Choose the Right Gear
Bikers should dress for both comfort and weather conditions. Feeling cold or soaked will take attention away from the road. Every rider should invest in a pair of quality waterproof gloves and waterproof boots, which are nice to have when caught in those surprise springtime thunderstorms. Plus, a good waterproof suit can make all the difference in comfort level in the rain. All gear should be brightly colored with reflective strips for added safety. Town & Country Sports Center has all the gear you need for a comfortable ride in the rain. We also have a huge selection of safety accessories, like helmets and anti-fog shields. Call us at 517.236.7203 or stop by our showroom today!