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How to and not to ride in the rains

Snapshot: Here are some of the tips that should help you overcome your fear of riding in this rainy season

Yesterday changed a lot of things. When I left home around 11 in the morning, little did I know that the temperature would be dropping more drastically then our share market. Rains followed soon and suddenly June became my most favourite month of the year. But there was a glitch. How to reach home with minimal damage? Damage not only in terms of getting wet, but also safely. When the showers didn't stop for a while, I decided to keep going and reached home after a few hours of relaxing with friends at a nearby tea stall, and decently wet.

It's never comfortable to ride in the rain. It can be pleasurable or painful depending on the mood and situation, but never comfortable. So, on the basis of my understanding, here are some of the things that have been making my life good if not better while riding a motorcycle in wet conditions. I also hope that if they have served me enough battling the water from high above, they should serve you well too.

Reduce Tyre Pressure

Don't do it in excess, but reducing your tyre pressure by roughly 5 pounds should help you make extra grip on the usually slippery roads. The company recommended tyre pressure is perfect for ideal conditions and the conditions on a rainy day is far from being perfect. By reducing the tyre pressure you are increasing the surface area of the tyre that comes in contact of the road and hence resulting in more grip.

Go a Little Slow

We are not doubting your riding skills, but it's always advisable to go a little slow on wet roads. Your reflexes might be as good as Marc Marquez, but your bike's aren't. The friction reduces tremendously in wet conditions and it might take longer for your bike to stop. Not to mention the fact that tyres tend to skid in such conditions on the wet roads. To avoid such confrontation with your luck, do not jam the brakes as it locks the tyres, which is something we do not recommend. If you are not going too fast and need to take a corner, try using engine braking. Engine braking is nothing but downshifting to reduce your speed. Before you approach a corner, shift a gear down and use the rear brake just enough. It will not lock your rear wheel and let you take that corner without risking anything.

Avoid Aquaplaning

Aquaplaning, even though sounds fancy, sends a shiver down my spine every time I think of it. In simple words, it is like riding your motorcycle on ice. Not snow, but ice. Where you apply brakes, turn the handle, try to stop the bike but to no avail. Talking Physics, it is a phenomenon that takes place when your motorcycle tries to clear its way through a water pool, which was a result of the rain that happened a few hours ago. Aquaplaning happens when your motorcycle hits a pool of water at high speeds resulting in building up of water just below your tyres. That simply means that between your tyre and the tarmac is a thin layer of water. The water between your tyres and roads removes any possibility of your tyres finding traction for a little while. But this little while is enough for the rider to panic and slam the brakes, so that when the tyres find the tarmac, they throw you away. To be honest, there is little you can do in that situation except not slamming the brakes, not panicking, keeping the handle bar straight and pray.

In the end, I would like to sum it up by saying a few things like:

  • Go easy on throttle
  • Try riding on the dry patch of the road
  • Wear a helmet
  • Try avoiding slamming the brakes
  • Use engine braking with rear brakes

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