Riding In The Wet

Mar 07, 2019

I looked out of the window this morning and saw the rain pouring down, yet again! It's Bank Holiday after all so what else should I expect? Oh well, this is England and it rains a lot. Not such a bad thing really when we consider the beautiful areas for biking that we have, made better by the green fields and the lush landscapes in different parts of the country. And when we take in Scotland, Ireland and Wales we have some of the best roads in Europe, if only we would do more riding in the wet.

When it rains though, we tend as a community of bikers, to not ride as much as we could, or maybe not at all. This is a great pity and I'm convinced that a lot of the reasoning behind it is because we just haven't learned as a biking community how to deal with it. And, as an aside, there is a lack of facilities for bikers nearly everywhere. How easy it would be for councils, workplaces and shopping centres etc., to provide proper and ample amenities for bikers such as secure lockers, suitable and secure parking and so on. However I'll stick with my main point about riding in the wet for now.

There's more grip available than you might think but gaining the confidence and expertise to experiment is a different thing. Training in the wet is something we should all do.

Riding on wet roads in the UK generally is something that goes with living here, yet very few riders ever take up the chance to learn properly in the wet. If they do it will be in conditions that probably aren't suitable for learning. In turn, this takes a lot of the fun out of riding. Then the bike gets used on dry days only and eventually it gets sold for someone else to go through the same motions. Training after a passing a motorcycle test is essential for the lifestyle of biking and even more so for wet road conditions. Ideally this should be with a full time professional as a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, notwithstanding that your neighbour might have a few helpful tips.

Proper tuition is the right way to get to grips with riding in the wet. The roads aren't the best place to practice this skill set. And those are the panniers you can see, not my knees!

It's true that the lean angle shouldn't be as extreme as dry riding, but it's equally true that unless the road surface is one of those that has been smoothed out with use, then there really is a good amount of grip available. Particularly with modern tyres and these days, all the manufacturers make fantastic tyres. We also have centripetal force to help us as always. The centripetal force provided by the wheels keeps the motorcycle on the curved path that you intended so it will take a fair amount of effort to shift you off your line, or a very smooth road surface. There is more to riding in the wet than this, but just a few hours to a couple of days, spent with me in the appropriate conditions, will bring your riding on leaps and bounds. Your personal safety, confidence and ability to ride in the wet will increase, and you will enjoy your riding even more. For a couple of hundred pounds you could save yourself thousands and get a bucket load more pleasure from biking.