what, wet, when?

what, wet, when?

I am beginning to be hopeful; it has been at least two weeks since we saw freezing temperatures and it makes me believe that spring is definitely on its way. Of course it might not be freezing but it has been pissing it down and blowing a gale but I am thanking the gods for small mercies.

A light shower in the west of England!

As spring ambles its way towards us and we start to pull our trusty steeds out of the garages, sheds and maybe front rooms, it is important to remember that although it is warmer, it is not necessarily perfect riding weather yet. We need to be prepared for what lies ahead, and for those of us who live in the northern parts of Europe that means rain of almost biblical proportions.

Riding in the rain is an “interesting” experience, interesting in the sense of, “I need to keep interested in what I am doing or I foresee great pain and suffering in the future”.

If we all rode like him traction control
would not be necessary

The need for smooth throttle operation is of course well documented, and this is more and more evident with bikes that are more and more powerful. That little contact patch of rubber has a hell of a lot to do, and it is so easy to have it break away, even in the dry, let alone in the wet. Luckily the bike manufacturers are more than aware of this and so driver’s aids such as traction control have appeared on newer bikes.  I am not a great fan of electronic gizmos on my bikes but traction control in the wet is not a bad idea, at all.  I think another great idea is antilock brakes, panic braking in the wet is a great cause of bank balance diminution. Both of these driver’s aids have a place in our armory of bike features, but only if we have the option to turn them off if we wish a little more adrenaline fueled fun.

However there are other equally important considerations when riding in the rain:

Awareness is paramount in motorcycling and in the rain it is everything.  Braking distances go up and visibility goes down, and not just for you, but for the other road users as well. It is all very well you being able to stop for a braking vehicle in front of you, but what about the guy or girl behind you? You need at least one eye on the mirror just so that you can look for an escape route should you think it necessary.

Flattering, perhaps not, but at least you can see it.

Talking of visibility, I know that day-glow is really not the most flattering color scheme, but on a storm grey day, with the rain lashing down, anything that can make me stand out like a sore thumb is a great idea, worthy of Armani in my opinion.  However I  do also believe that the companies that make waterproofs could incorporate the day glow materials a little more effectively, how about a few tribal designs or flowers for the ladies? I have just broken the zip on mine so I am waiting to purchase some new ones, manufacturers, here is your opportunity for a guaranteed sale!

As I look out of the window, here at work, (yes I am skiving off writing this) I have noticed the rain has stopped and the sun is out. This of course means it is time to go home so….

Stay safe

Ratso

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