Riding in the Rain: A Discussion

Putting On Rainsuits

The OFMC suits up before rain in Utah.

I didn’t coin the phrase but I’ve repeated it plenty of times: If you don’t ride in the rain you don’t ride. Recently this topic came up for discussion in an online group I belong to and I figured I’d share some of the more interesting remarks.

The person originating the discussion (David Bayer) is a rider trainer and one point he made was that, “Typically a bike will hold traction much better than most of us can ride it! Even in the rain!! You need to trust your tires. Try using your rear brake when it’s wet to test how much traction you have available. Keep in mind that your mentality can be your worst enemy. You should be relaxed and be as smooth as you can on the throttle and brakes. Trust is a learned behavior so if you acquire some experience with the available traction in the wet then your trust of your tires (and your bike) will improve.”

Here are some of the responses (edited for brevity):

Eric Levy: Unless it’s a crazy deluge, leaving an inch on the roadway, there’s really nothing to be concerned about. However, on the highways, puddles and standing water tend to make autos hydroplane, so I worry a bit about that.

K Cavaliere: I look for the tell tale “sheen” on asphalt, or beading, that would indicate some level of oiliness. In more rural areas, leaves can be slippery.

JT Pedersen: Personally, on any multi-day road trip, I figure if rain is anything <50% it was a good trip:).

Eboton “Reggie” Jackson: Rain or shine I’m on mine. I just throw on my wet gear and keep going!

Johnathan Wilkinson: I grew up in Wales where it rains far more often than the sun shines. Ice, snow and slush are good fun to learn on, too. However, growing up in such a bike-unfriendly climate… Nowadays I’m scared of sunshine, dry roads and grippy tyres!!! Holy sh*t! The bike actually does what I tell it to in the sunshine….. I had always thought riding was supposed to be like riding a horse that needed to be ‘encouraged’ to go, stop, make a left, etc.

Axe DeKruif: personally was never wise enough to pull over in rain in over 20 years of riding, and generally yell unkind comments at those hiding under overpasses when i drive by soaked. i know, i know. i don’t mind straight line riding in the rain. i rode most of a 90 mile stretch at high speeds on the ape in a downpour years ago, no worries. however, i hate having to lean or corner in it. long as i can keep the bike upright, i’m ok.

Rainer Schade: High powered sports bikes with more track focused rubber were a real problem – saw a riding buddy lose it at speed just changing lanes when he crossed the white line.

Dave Larson: When the cats and dogs start coming down, this old man pulls over.

Yeah, well–from the weather forecast it doesn’t look like rain is going to be a major concern for us here in Colorado in the next few days. We’re supposed to get snow. But then we’ll have Indian summer and it should be some great riding. And seeing as how I’m out of work right now with the federal government shut-down I’m figuring to get in quite a bit of riding time. Could be a lot worse.

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