You're amped for a ride and go about putting your motorcycle gear on, getting your motorcycle ready and organizing some friends for a short ride following a route you worked on for a few days. All of a sudden you hear the thunder rolling in and rain drops begin to fall from the sky.
Within a few minutes. Mother nature has turned an epic adventure into a total letdown, forcing you to pack everything away and call off the ride. How many times has it happened to you this raining season?
Let's face it. Wet-weather riding simply isn't as enjoyable as a sunny Sunday road trip with your riding buddies. It's technically challenging, uncomfortable in more ways than one and downright dangerous if you happen to come across an oil slick. But we can't always avoid it – especially if it starts raining right before knock-off time and you've ridden to work, or if you're out having lunch at your favorite meeting point on the weekend and still need to ride home.
The most essential part of riding in the rain is ensuring that your safety margin between the vehicle in front of you is larger than when it's dry – and that you maintain even more focus than what you usually do when it's dry. One mistake and you'll be down before you believe it. What you need to do is focus on the road that extra 10 percent, visually keeping a lookout for any oil, fuel, mud or loose gravel on the road that could potentially cause you to crash. Rain tends to cause any oils in the road to rise to the surface, which makes some roads extremely slippery even if a vehicle hasn't leaked fluid on it that same day.
Look up and ahead, scanning the road for possible dangers while decreasing your speed should you feel uncomfortable at any point in time. Speed doesn't matter, but your health and motorcycle do. All of the fundamental riding techniques are even more crucial in the rain, because incorrect inputs into the motorcycle are magnified if you make a mistake on wet surface.
You want to brake more precisely, squeezing the lever as you were doing the first day you had the motorcycle, and be smooth in your movements on the motorcycle while maintaining control over the machine at all times, working with the motorcycle as one in a detailed process.
Flowing around the corners and not rushing it is certainly the way to go – going slower on the straights, minimizing your braking distances and power, effectively decreasing the angles required to lean you way through a turn.
In order to maintain focus if you have a long way to go, have breaks more often than you would if it wasn't raining, get refreshed and have another go at it when your hands are warm and feet are dry.
Using a clear visor will greatly assist your vision and clean it at your service stops, or keeping a cloth on you, will make sure that you have adequate vision for the trip. Your motorcycle's mechanical state is also a crucial aspect of making sure you're safe in the rain, so keep it up to scratch and make sure you're not the one in your riding group who drops some fluid onto your rear tire causing you to come off, or even causing your riding partner behind you to tip over...