Technicalities of Riding in Rains
- on July 08, 2020
It’s fun to ride in the rain…. Undoubtedly, it’s an altogether different level of experience one can gain, albeit, with certain critical precautions, the ride can be a very memorable experience.
There are few factors that I consider very critical, as riding in the rain is nothing close to riding in dry weather. Let me break down different scenarios and try to give a small description on how, I would ride in such conditions.
I firmly believe in trying to avoid a ride in the rain, if I am on a long ride that gives me very little time to dry up for the next day. However, in the inevitable situation where I must carry on riding or I do not get a proper place to take shelter, the ride itself slows down as a precaution against the Element.
However, remember, there is NOTHING called WATERPROOF … The Element of Nature has not allowed anyone to overcome this! But, we can get closest by trying to minimize the drench!
When I choose to hit out in the rains, I don’t look back, since I know for a fact that I am absolutely prepared for the worst, even the torrential rains can and should be managed! Anticipating a pocket of rain or a possible situation of hitting a larger pocket, my day starts with preparing the gear.
I always have had a Pinlock Visor, which greatly avoids fogging inside the helmet. Apart from it, I prefer to use a 3 later coat of RainX, neatly polished on the outside of the visor, that just shatters the rain drops to keep the visor crystal clean.
With the visor clear, the biggest hurdle is addressed - VISION!
I always carry 2 pairs of gloves…. one a breathable one, usually leather with enough perforations to allow proper breathability and the other pair is for rains with a certain amount of tolerance to the chill factor. Rains usually make the environment colder than usual and we must ensure that the fingers stay warm and dry to manage the handlebar. Ideally, I carry a size loose on these gloves so that I can include wearing a warmer or a silk glove to ensure better warmth to the hand.
After hands, it has to be the feet! I usually have waterproof socks and also carry a scuba wear socks (as a backup) that has been most useful for my rides. While the shoes will be Gore-Tex lined, it is tad challenging to rely completely on just the shoes to ensure feet dryness. I sometimes use ankle length Forma Boots as I find them to be overall very convenient. Since I plan my rides mostly for the summers, it greatly helps to have low boots…..but in the case of rain pockets, these socks act and protect wonderfully!
While on the ride, I try to choose a pair of shoes that will be comfortable for the entire journey. Having an additional pair of shoes on a motorcycle is cumbersome and eats away space and weight. While Gore-Tex lined shoes are preferred, there have been instances where I have lived with water resistant shoes but had them covered with waterproof gaiters. Though not completely, they do help to a certain level. At least I survive!
Riding Jacket and Pants
This can be a debatable choice….For me, I have never liked jackets that provide waterproof liners, and even if they do, it’s cumbersome to get it on and off, since they are liners and have to be zipped from inside. If there is a situation where the weather plays hide and seek, it’s easy to get roasted! Hence, I head to Decathlon and get myself an oversize rain jacket and pant that fits perfectly on top of my riding gear… The product from Decathlon is light and does the required, almost perfectly.
Most important: Tires!
While it is impossible to have rain-adaptive tires while planning a ride that includes many Elements of Nature, it definitely helps to have tires with a certain amount of grip on them while heading out on rides where you can expect getting into rains. In the case you have been riding out on dry tarmac and encounter sudden rains, it’s good to slow down, allow the rubber to soak in the rains and keep a steady pace on the road. Best to avoid road rage, reactive braking, sharp curves where you can be tempted to lean on the corners, and most importantly, always keep a look out for diesel / oil spills that can be camouflaged due to rains.
I always keep my bike upright and avoid leaning of any sorts… having a fully loaded machine can be tricky in case of an unwanted skid!
Tarmac - to - off-roads – to - slush!
Nothing but tires, can and will help you enjoy those muddy moments! A normal street tyre is a strict NO! I always choose a dual-purpose tire with a fairly large groove and button for my rides. Long rides, no matter how much you plan for a dry ride, it’s definite that you will be hit surprisingly with patches of rains and then the tires should not be the reason for you to slow down or stop and take a U turn!
Prepare your mind to stay positive! Rides give you opportunities to connect with Nature…Stop and listen to the rhythm of the falling rain!
About Deepak Kamath:
An experienced biker from Bangalore, traveled across India and countries. Deepak has taken up numerous motorcycling expeditions and is an adventurer to the core. He is the first and the fastest one to circumnavigate the world on two wheels. Get inspired from his riding adventures on Instagram @theadventuresofarmstrong.