Go out in the rain. Get dirty. Go on! So that random day you get caught out in some moist weather, you're prepared and not left in a state of panic.
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Having the right gear on wet days will likely determine how much you enjoy a rainy ride. Many of the best wet weather threads are designed to keep you waterproof, warm, and visible; which makes all the difference to your damp day experience.
One thing this gorgeous rider Emma can now vouch for is the importance of proper riding shoes... no Converse! Not only did her tootsies get drenched & soggy during this shoot, she also found the road and her pegs incredibly slippery. Motorcycle shoes are designed with extra grip on the soles to keep you in control on wet days like these.
Being cold can adversely affect concentration. A Cornell University study showed that employees made 44% more mistakes with only a 5º drop in room temperature. Those mistakes have more serious consequences in the saddle, so staying dry & warm is super important.
We know what a slight drop in body temperature can do to concentration, so keeping warm is important. That means covering every inch of exposed skin in places like your neck, wrists and ankles with winter lined gloves, neck warmers, and thick socks. But heated vests are brilliant, too.
You don’t need to roll ponchos or all-out expensive gear to keep from getting wet. Rain jackets and waterproof pants are an easy step-off point for wet weather rides. They’re affordable, light and often come with little storage bags to slip into your saddlebag.
When it comes to leather, a waterproof wax sealer will help keep boots, gloves, jackets and pants dry – in turn keeping you dry. It’s inexpensive, widely available and not only will it help keep your favourite duds waterproof; it’ll increase the lifespan of the leather, too.
Visibility is also super important in the rain; even more so on those dark rainy winter rides. With the sun tucked behind a blanket of dark clouds and rain bucketing down, you’re far less visible on the road. This is where reflective strips, panels and prints come in handy, so look for wet weather gear that includes them.
At the end of the day, a very rainy day, keeping dry keeps you warm and staying warm means being comfortable & safe. It’ll help maintain your focus but most importantly it’ll ensure your winter riding experience is an enjoyable one. Rainy day rides can be hella fun with the right kit and the right frame of mind. So go out there, splash about, stay safe, and have fun.
By slowing down and isolating individual tasks, you’ll stay calm and relaxed but most importantly you’ll stay upright.
The onset of rain shouldn’t incite fear but instead be seen as an opportunity to up your skills. A positive mindset makes all the difference and with the right frame of mind, wet riding can be crazy fun. Just know when to ride it out and when to sit it out. Lightning loves a good conductor and all the metal in that machine you love so much makes a fine conductor; if it’s raining bolts of lightning, better to pull over and get yourself a warm pub meal.
Most things in life, motorcycle riding included, really are 90% mental; Neurological studies show that action precedes intention, meaning that to induce a calm mental state you need to first make physical changes. The double Helix breathing technique is one of the quickest, most effective ways to reduce stress and calm your farm.
How to chill the f*ck out:
1. A single deep inhale
2. A second inhale to completely fill the lungs
3. Followed by a gentle, sighing exhale.
Repeat this half a dozen times and you’ll be as wound down as Whim Hof in an ice bath.
First and foremost you gotta ease off that throttle! Damp days are not a time to be heavy handed. Water will significantly reduce your traction while increasing the number of potential road hazards, so go slow. Both acceleration and braking should be gentle. Think of yourself as the Karate Kid painting a fence. You want to Miyagi that sh*t: roll on roll off, nice and gentle like.
And that Miyagi meditative headspace is exactly where you want to be; not panicked but present. Good riders anticipate potential hazards; great riders double down on wet days. That means if you’re too close to oldmate ahead of you, ease off the throttle and increase your braking distance. By lengthening the distance between you and the vehicle in front, you can respond to slowing traffic or sudden stops with greater cool, avoiding lockups that could send you arse up.
The increase in distance between you and that vehicle in front now gives you greater visibility, allowing you to better anticipate potential road hazards.
Hazards to avoid:
• Road rainbows (oil spots)
• Tar snakes
• Road markings (lines & crossings)
• Pothole covers
Road rainbows on wet days are an indication of oil, not a pot of gold. Ever heard the term, oil and water don’t mix? Well, beyond being a sound molecular truth, it’s especially so in the case of motorcycles. Road rainbows are slippery as sh*t and should be avoided wherever possible. You’re most likely to find them at intersections between wheel tracks, so avoid lane centres at lights and intersections to help you stay upright.
Tar snakes and road markings.
Tar snakes and road markings (white lines) are also slippery as sh*t. On wet days these hazards will increase your likelihood of losing traction, and losing tractions means losing control of your ride. A good rule of thumb is to stay aware of these wet-day hazards all year round. If you’re always anticipating these potential problems, you won’t need to increase your focus so much when the rain does fall.
Pothole covers & tramlines.
Pothole covers and tramlines are hazardous enough when you're on four wheels, let alone two; riding over them in the wet is like joining Cirque du Soleil… on ice!
It’s important to resist braking or hard accelerating when riding over either. Again, we go back to the Karate Kid: roll on roll off, nice and gentle. If you can, it’s best to avoid both entirely. But if you must, do your best to ride over tram tracks slowly, upright, and at a 90º angle.
In the end, road awareness is key and your relationship to the road needs to be far stronger than if you were in a vehicle with four doors, seatbelts and an airbag.
What you’re looking for is a safe line and the safest line on wet days will almost always be the driest part of the road. This is often vehicle wheel tracks. Yes, those four-wheeled tin buggies you try to avoid at the best of times will also be your saviour on wet days. Their tyres help disperse road water faster making wheel tracks the more likely line of dry road on a wet day.
There’s no golden rule as to how regularly you should shop service your ride. If self service of any kind is out of the question, be it brakes, fluids or chain tension, then a shop service every six months or 6500 kilometres is best practice with a service every twelve months as your bare minimum. Undertaking many of the aforementioned tasks yourself, will allow you to stretch these estimates a little.
How can you keep your tyres in top nick?
Moto Est. Winter Giveaway
Behind the scenes.
In true Melbourne style, it pissed down with rain on the way too and from work then stopped throughout the day during our "rain" shoot.
With thanks to our work experience kids, Mason & Aaliyah, they were able to help with our lack of rain situation...