Brian Joss – Parts of South Africa have seen some considerable rain recently. Those who commute to work and other destinations know how uncomfortable this can get. The training director at MasterDrive, Derek Kirkby, provides a few tips for riding in the rain for the next time riders face a continuous downpour:
Make sure you have a quality rain suit (in yellow). This will not only keep you dry but will increase your visibility.
Remember, if you are warm and dry you can operate the control more efficiently. Be aware whilst lane splitting that you have less grip and you are riding on the dotted white lines, so take it slower. Keep in mind that side windows of vehicles are misted up and drivers cannot see you in their side mirrors.
Ensure you treat your visor with anti-fog or that you have a pin-lock insert on your visor to prevent it from fogging up. Try stay in the wheel wipes (wheel tracks) of vehicles ahead of you as they have distributed the water already. Use more of the rear brake than the front as traction is limited. Be aware of oil that has mixed with water on the roads.
Avoid puddles as this might be a pothole filled with water. Wear good quality waterproof gloves.
Avoid shiny-smooth surfaces. Surfaces that are slightly slippery on dry days become perilously slippery in the rain. Stay off of things like painted lines, manhole covers, metal plates, and even tar snakes. If you do find yourself caught on one of these, avoid hard braking or acceleration — just roll over it without any sudden inputs.
Loosen up. Clinging to the bars with a death grip will do three bad things: Tire you out faster, exaggerate the effects of any movements you make, keep your suspension from working as it should.
Remember that your bike is designed to handle small bumps and wiggles, so let it do its job.
Give yourself time and space. Take it easy. Reduce your speed, and put more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Braking distances are much longer in the rain, and you can’t count on having traction when you need it. Plus, you need time to scan the road ahead and choose your lines.
CAPTION: Rain, rain: quality rain suit is essential. Picture: Motorpress