Majority of the time, riders gain experience riding in the rain without choice. With notorious Sydney “four-seasons-in-one-day” weather, you can often leave for a ride with the sun out and 24°C being displayed on your thermometer, but then cometh the afternoon, cometh the clouds, and you’re stuck in a thunderstorm and forced to ride in the rain. Those who get used to it will continue to ride, no matter the weather and will ride on into the storm clouds with a grin on their face. However, those who are apprehensive and contemplating venturing into the grey void, here are a five tips and hazards you should look out for no matter your age or experience.
- One of the most prevalent hazards are painted lines, and examples of this can be seen in zebra crossings and approaches to school zones. If you are forced to turn on these lines at an angle, slow down more so than you would and try and make this turn as upright as possible, rather than leaning the bike in.
- Another dangerous surface to be weary of is slick concrete, prevalent in commercial and resident car parks. As mentioned in the point above, ensure all movements are made as upright as possible and remember to slow down!
- Metal plates and covers in the road are your worst enemy in the rain. Keep an eye out for them as you are riding and try and stay straight up when travelling over them. Avoid them at all costs, but if you are forced to make a turn over these surfaces, once again remember the slow and straight methodology.
- Oil is everywhere on the road and is a fact of riding. Nothing can be done about it, however you have the power to control when to ride. A first rain on a dry road is very dangerous, as the mud and oil on the road combine with water to create a slippery layer. If you can, try to avoid riding in the first half hour and stop and have a coffee before venturing out again.
- Gravel can be one of the trickiest hazards for
motorcyclists to navigate, and particularly tricky during cornering. As it
happens, majority of the time this gravel on the road is prevalent on winding
roads, which are a bikers bread and butter. Accidents involving gravel are more
often than not attributed to speed as well as riders who don’t have the
required experience to handle the situation.
So don't be afraid of the rain, simply be mindful of what to look out for and you'll be as good in the wet as Chris Vermeulen, who won the 2007 Le Mans GP in the rain!
Safe riding Rhinos.