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Oh, No! It's Raining! Hints & Tips for Riding in the Rain

It's 8AM Tuesday morning and you peer out your kitchen window. Although the weatherman on TV had announced the night before that clear skies were in today's forecast, dark grey rain clouds are looming in the distance. While sipping on your morning cup-a-Joe, you try to estimate just how soon they'll be hovering over your home and contemplate thoughts to yourself such as, 'If I leave now, maybe, just maybe I'll be able to make it in to work without getting wet.' After all, that shiny bike of yours, sitting in the garage all night is begging for you to take it for another spin. You glance back up at the clouds and decide that yet again, you will chance it and ride on into work. In case luck is not on your side, here are some tips on how to prepare for riding in the rain and to keep yourself as dry and as safe as possible without having to succumb to driving to work in a cage. Let's begin!

Gear - In an ideal situation, you'll have invested in some all weather riding gear including waterproof boots and if that's the case then good for you! The minimum investment you should have on hand when it comes to rain gear is waterproof gloves that fasten securely around your wrist. Not only do gloves keep your hands dry during a rainstorm, but they'll also help keep them warm too. Another option is purchasing a rain suit to wear over your leathers if you don't have all weather gear. Waterproof your boots prior to riding in the rain as an extra precaution. However if you still don't want to spend a few extra dollars on a rain suit and waterproofing boot spray, then another, albeit low-cost option is to wear a couple of large trash bags over your clothing and plastic grocery bags inside your boots wrapped around your socks to help with rain-proofing yourself. Riding in the rain is not fun, but it's even worse if you get soaked.

Tires - Tires with a good tread pattern on them are the safest type to use when it's raining. This is because, there's more rubber to grip the slippery road. Still, even with decent tread on the tires, pushing your two-wheeler to the limits in the rain, be it a drizzle or a downpour, is not advised unless you want to hydroplane or worse yet, lay your bike down in front of oncoming traffic.

Wait - Oil and grease on the road tends to loosen up and sit on the surface during the start of the rain, so allow a solid 15 minutes or so for cars to splash the excess muck off onto the side of the street. Otherwise, you're just asking for trouble!

Avoidances - Steer clear of the painted lines on streets and hi-ways because they become extremely slick when wet. Common sense should encourage you to ride in the path of the tire trails left by vehicles in front of you since it will be the area on the road with the least amount of water on it. Manhole covers and railroad tracks are very slick when wet too. Avoid them if at all possible, but if you must cross over them, heed with caution keeping a steady throttle.

Visor Care - To help eliminate rain from building up on your visor and impairing your vision, there are a few products on the market you can apply prior to riding such as Rain-X. This product and products like it encourage the water to roll and bounce right off of the visor. Your visor may also indeed become foggy while riding in the rain and although there are products on the market to help prevent that too, just cracking your visor open a smidge every now and again will help quickly eliminate this problem.

Though motorcycle riders generally avoid riding in the rain at all costs for obvious reasons, there is still that rare occasion that may sneak up on you and leave you in a compromising situation. Be prepared and alert so that you'll still be around to ride on future dry weather days as well!

Shannon Duffy is a freelance writer living in Southern California where rainy days are few and far between.



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