The rainy season is here!! The temperatures drop, trees look greener, and everything seems to be covered with a wet layer that makes it shine and shimmer. There is a little downside though: the rainy season makes it hard to ride a bike. While it is not outright dangerous to ride in the rain, it is advisable to take a few precautions to keeps ourselves safe.
When it rains, mud and oil residue accumulate on the top layer of the road. This reduces the friction between the road and the tyres, making it very slippery. So, when the brakes are applied, the distance taken for the bike to slow down, increases, as do the chances of colliding into a vehicle up front. So try and follow the tips below, and make riding in the rain a lot more enjoyable.
Before riding in the rain, check the depth of your tread. The deeper the tread, the better it will displace water while riding. If the tread depth is below the recommended limit (For info on how to check tread depth, click here), change the tires the tyres before riding, or travel by car or public transport.
If it is raining like there is no tomorrow, i.e. very heavily, it is best you park your bike aside, and find shelter until the rain dissipates.
As with riding in the dry, a calm and focused approach is necessary to ride safely in the rain. When on the road, pay keen attention on avoiding the various obstacles on it.
It is advisable not to travel at a speed in excess of 40kmph when it is raining. Remember, slow and steady gets you home safe.
Avoid riding into standing water at all costs. Don’t ride into water by assuming it to be shallow: it could be an open pothole, or deep enough to enter the silencer and stall your bike. Wait for a car or truck to pass-by, and if they cross it without any problem, follow the path which their tyres traced.
Maintain a good three bike lengths between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This is to compensate for the increase in braking distances.
Apply both brakes gradually at the same time. Slamming the brakes will only make the wheels lock-up, making you lose control. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) helps a lot here, so if your bike has an ABS option, take it.
If your bike comes with disc brake, be aware that, when riding in the rain, the discs tend to be coated with a thin layer of water, making it ineffective momentarily. Here’s what you should do: apply the brakes very lightly for about ten seconds, whilst moving. This makes the brake pads wipe away the film of water on the discs, so they are effective when you really need them. Do this every time ten minutes when riding in the rain.
Avoid turning into corners aggressively: It’s raining for god’s sake! Unless you are Rossi, or one of his fast MotoGP friends, keep that aside for a dry day.
Invest in a good rain cover if the bike is parked in an uncovered place. If the bike is remains wet for long durations, rusting of the metal parts may occur.