The sun has eluded us in South Africa for the last few day with no near end in sight. The rain has fallen and fallen – and fallen some more. This however is by no means a bad thing, we have been needing the water desperately – some of out dams only reaching 10-20% capacity.
As the week comes to an end and the soaked ground becomes fulled with more drops from the sky the idea that Sundays ride will be cancelled becomes more and more real. A break maybe needed – we have been riding hard the last few weeks – but non the less the run will be missed.
It makes me think of a run we did end of last year, just as summer was approaching – first rain of the season heading our way. It was a early Sunday morning, weather was looking marginal, phone buzzing with messages from my good friend on if we canning the run or not. Having not ridden a few days prior to that we decided we were going to brave the rain and go for it – my word. We both were riding Yamaha R1’s the Big Bang before I got my BMW HP4 – no abs, no slipper clutch, no traction control. I learnt an important lesson that day, first rains present its own problem. See all the oil that had been building up on the road for winter was now being washed down the roads, did it make for good fun? hell yes! – a few oh crap moments? plenty.
Rain riding brings another dimension, the road is different, corners change, visibility is reduced, breaking affected. They say that true bikers ride no matter the weather, that might be the case – for me, been there done that. I think for now I will stick to the dry road…… for now
3 Tips for Rain Riding
Tip 1. Ride Smart
Think smooth – change the way to ride the bike. The throttle needs to be advanced and retarded smoothly and in smaller increments. Heavy handed on advancing can easily cause that back wheel to spin and slide – all fun while it lasts. Breaking is the next big consideration get that breaking done early and smoothly, especially if there is no ABS to help you out – take a big handful of front break and watch that front disappear like Houdini.
Tip 2. Think Heat
Think heat, heat when it comes to yourself and your bike. Wet + wind = cold, so make sure you have appropriate riding gear for the conditions, nothing worse than being cold and miserable on a bike wishing the ride was over. Something else that is missed is anti fog visor, not pleasant having to lift the visor up in the rain too defog it all the time. Finally the bike – engines will require longer to heat up so give her a good amount of time to get warm before you wack her open – look after the heart of the bike. For me I am running cut slicks for tires on my BMW HP4 – tire heat is a big deal for me as that is where the grip comes from. In the rain tire heat will take much longer to generate and will dissipate quickly from the cold roads.
Tip 3. Visibility
Bikes are hard to see, even in the bright sunlight on a beautiful day. Now add rain, distractions, reduced visibility, misted windows and this becomes a recipe for disaster. Double check all intersections and stop streets before crossing. When stopped at a red light check behind for cars that could possibly not stop before you – we all know this happens even when it is dry. Another big hazard especially in South Africa is water fulled pot holes, these are hard to see when riding and become concealed in the road with all the water. Some guys even loose there whole bike in them – no joke, check the photo below, happened near to where I stay.
“I saw a lot of mud and water and thought I would drive through it slowly, because I didn’t want to get my bike dirty. Next thing I knew I was underwater, it felt like I was drowning,”
That’s all from me today, where ever you are, what ever you are riding ride safe this weekend everyone. Drop us a like or comment, would be great to hear from you all.