How to Ride in the Rain
Every beginner thinks about rain riding with fear, avoiding as much as possible his/hers first encounter with the slippery roads. But this is not an exclusive beginner problem. Those who have been riding through rain already, know how it is, but still try to avoid it. There are multiple reasons for this rain riding phobia reported by riders, such as getting wet, hard vision or slippery roads, all of which are quite understandable.
We cannot make it disappear or make you enjoy it, but at least we can give you a couple of tips to help get along with the rainy situations.
A Good Rain Gear
If you want the inside of gloves to stay dry longer, then you have to put the gauntlets under the cuffs of your rain suit or jacket. This keeps water from running down into the cuffs. A full-face helmet is indicated, but don’t forget to change the dark faceshield with a clear one or to take off the sunglasses.
Traction seems to be the primary concern for most riders, usually because they aren't sure how much grip they have available. The easiest way to test traction is to see the limits of your rear brake. Assuming you know how much deceleration you can develop on dry pavement before the rear tire breaks loose, you have a gauge of what's available if you repeat the test when the road is wet.
Once you have a feel for traction, you should have some idea of how much you can safely ask the tires to deliver under braking and cornering. A slight increase in tire pressure also improves the wet-weather traction of any tire. Increasing your tire pressure by five psi or less helps to cut through the film of water and prevent hydroplaning.
First of all, relax. It’s not a solution to stay stiff like just waiting for anything to happen. All you have to do is stay relaxed, focused, but also ready for everything. Face the direction you want to go with your chest. Keep your legs on the pegs, and to make it clear, the toes on the tip of the peg, while the heels are up and pushing on the heel guard of rear-sets.
Control and Technique
You have to focus on the speed and direction changes, as well as on braking and throttle. Let’s take it one step at a time, which is exactly how you should take it when you are riding on rain. In other words, accelerate after you make a turn or downshift before you start to turn. It is better not to combine actions on your tires, because less tension on the tires means a better traction.
Since during the rain surfaces are slicker than usual, brakes are less effective, so it will take you much longer to stop than when you are riding on dry roads. Begin with slowing down and keep the throttle neutral. Initiate turns a bit more gradually. Downshift smoothly, engaging the clutch a bit slower than usual, and avoid abrupt throttle changes. Get on the throttle progressively. Anticipation can help you use more efficiently the engine brake inputs in preparation for turning or intersections. The engine break reduces the potential sideslips and blocking the wheels.
As for your own ability to see, wear a helmet with a clear faceshield, and treat it with an anti-fogging solution. But be careful. You can ruin it by using chemicals designed for glass only, so you should read the label first. Don’t wipe the visor with your hand while riding!
The first 15 minutes after it starts raining are the slickest. That is because vehicles deposit oil, brake fluid, fuel and other crud on the road over time. When it rains, all this crud mixes with water and sits on top of it. That is why it’s for the best to pull over. If you can’t pull over, at least drive extra careful and slow during these 15 minutes.