As the BMWMOA resident "Rain Wimp" it was quite disconcerting when I rode into a strong storm on the way home from work last Thursday. I felt sick looking at the shiny paved surface as I steered through the on ramp onto the highway. I will say that, except for the lightning, it was not as bad as I imagined it was going to be. I was fortunate to ride out of the rain about four miles from home. I was on a /5 and the road spray was awful. Without any fairing or windshield I got a full dose of road spray and it is nasty stuff. It is dirty and gritty. I think I would prefer to ride a lonely road in the rain than a well traveled damp road.
I practise many of the rain tactics previously mentioned, including gear that keeps me dry. When riding in the rain, especially in mountains or foothills, there is always a smile under my face shield. Such rides remind me of our three month European honeymoon in '71, where riding in the rain, especially in Scotland and England, seemed to be a common daily occurrence, interspersed between short breaks of sunshine.
Next time you ride in rain and don't fall down, congratulate yourself for not fitting the longest-mileage tires you could find. And for your current tires not being bald.
Another VERY effective way to enjoy riding in the rain is to take the sidecar. Assuming you have one, or course :nyah:laugh:twirl:jester:rofl:beer
[QUOTE=bluehole;806758] I will say that, except for the lightning, it was not as bad as I imagined it was going to be. [/QUOTE]
:jawdrop I don't do lightning...having worked in it when an electrical lineman and reminded again yesterday at the Pocono NASCAR race...it will get you!
Having had a strike many miles away on a line crossing from that direction about take me off a pole in the sunshine one day got my attention.
And if folks think a motorcycle has the same "protection" from lightning that a car shell does...good luck on that one:brow
We got caught in a lightning storm coming back to the National in Gilette...stopped under an overpass to question our sanity. Waited it out and hoped a strike did not hit the structure. Two of us broke our rule about that one that evening:banghead
I'll ride in hurricane torrential downpours before I will take off in a lightning storm...and have...the hurricane thing that is!
I use Apex Cycle as well. Thanks Wes and Tim. Thanks for the improved road. :)
here's what happens!
So I left on my "annual" (almost annual) trip, headed from Chicago to International Falls. I wanted to go thru Galena, where there's some little bit of curvy roads and then up The Great River Road. Again, some curves , and two days to make the easy 700 miles. I knew that despite the summer-long drought, rain was forecast. I could've missed the rain by taking the slab thru Madison or Milwaukee, but thought I might sneak thru and let the rain move East as I turned to go North. Nope. It sat on me for two days. say: "La guerre."
At first as the rain began to fall lightly I was happy that the RT fairing was keeping it mostly off me. i didn't even put on my rain gear under my RevIt mesh suit. At a gas stop I only changed into my yellow glasses for better visibility. Still hoping for a break in the weather. As the rain increased I decided to stop for a coffee and wait for it to pass. Two hours later I thought, "Screw it. Go get your rain gear and ride." So I went thru all nice curves surrounding Galena at a very cautious rate, gave up on camping for the night, headed North to La Crosse, found a motel and dinner.
Next day was cloudy and damp at the start and looked hopeful for a couple hours. About 7:30am it started again, and seriously. But I'm getting bored with the slow pace and gradually, gradually start to "wick it up" as they say. Now the rain's heavier and the traffic more intense, and I'm really just trying to stay out of the truck spray; wide on the two-lane as they approach, and "other" lane on the slab. Letting the SUV's pass and staying wide and out of their spray as they go by. Still no rain gloves or rain boots, and my boots are completely dry, still dusty, and my gloves mostly dry. My triple digit Riderwearhouse gloves are good, but I feel more confident w/o them. Same for my Totes. And I'm 99% dry anyway. And the traffic's all at 70+ mph so I figure I should be 70+ too just for safety, and the next thing you know I've ridden almost all day in the rain, stayed dry, and even had an hour of great riding in the post-rain clean air at the end of the day.
This is what "always" happens to me in the rain. I guess my message is that it's a process. Take it slow, give yourself a chance to get a feel for it, gear up so you're comfy, be smooth, and def not aggressive. Above all keep an eye out for the other traffic, keep a better cushion than your usual, and go with the flow. Whatever it takes for you to feel confident. Lots of breaks under the gas station awnings if you need them or if you see lightning. You meet so many nice riders under the bridges on the freeway and you can share a coffee from your thermos, and have a laff.
A lesson from the MSF Basic Rider Course: When approaching a potentially extra-slick spot such as paint, metal, a puddle, running water, etc., pull in the clutch and let the bike's momentum carry you across the slick area.
DO NOT roll off the throttle while on the slick spot. Engine braking can break traction as easily or more easily than the real brakes - ABS doesn't work on engine braking. Even without rolling on or off the throttle, just the power to the rear wheel that is sustaining your speed is enough to cause you to lose traction on a very slick area. So pull in that clutch and coast until you are past the danger zone.
As mentioned, the road is most treacherous when the rain has just started. But if you are familiar with the area, if you know that it has rained hard in the past week or 10 days, then most likely the oils have already washed away and haven't yet accumulated back for the most part. Still need to be cautious, but just maybe it'll not be that bad.
But I still slow down. But sometimes, if it's a real lengthy downpour and I see that the vehicles ahead are disappearing into a gray mist that's a combination of the heavy rain and the spray the vehicles are kicking up, than I consider myself invisible to others and find a spot to wait out the heavy stuff.
What I don't understand, is why the road departments don't introduce say, a fine sand into the paint mix that they paint the lines and lane turning markers with? Or sprinkle sand onto the still wet paint? I know it may eventually be worn off but at least it will be safe for a while. I know, it'll call for them to buy sand and assign another worker to the paint detail and that costs money. Seems to be worthwhile if it prevents a few crashes, both motorcycle and car crashes, but there I go, bringing common sense into a governmental operation. I'm on the condo board at my other property and we have the painter do that on all the parking space lines and other painted areas. Previously, several people slipped and fell in the parking area, but the fine sand works great and no one has slipped since.
Rode in this morning. Monsoon. Couldn't see through the rain, the dark, the fogging. Got so darned wet that now, 10 hours later, gear is still sopping wet. Frogg Toggs and 5.11 patrol jacket kept me completely dry. Still got in fine.