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First ride in the rain- Exhilarating and terrifying


cpayne

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Just started riding again after 20 years of hibernation. Picked up a BMW 1150 RT-P about two months ago and have been riding nightly when the weather is good.

It was a great day and I rode to work and back (about 62 miles.

wanting to get some night time in and test the capacity of the city cases, I decided to go get the family some Long John Silvers. It looked cloudy but it was about 7:45. Took out and about 4 miles from the restaurant the bottom dropped out. Lightening, thunder, gusts and only a slightly rain proof Army PT uniform. I passed a Kroger with gas station about two miles back. I hoped that if I turned back I may get there. No such luck. I made it and parked under the awning to watch the show. after about a half hour It let up and I made it to the restaurant and home safely.

In a sense I was baptized by fire. During the ride I not only had to deal with the elements, but I had people coming into my lane. pulling out in front of me as well.

It was exhilarating to have to deal with the riggers of such a ride, but also very terrifying. I'm glad I had to take a MSF basic riders course to ride on base. Without the tips and practice braking and swerving I would probably be in a ditch or worse.

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Glad you made it home in one piece. I remember my first ride on the interstate: Old clunky bike, no speedo, dark, rain, semi trucks blowing past me.... GREAT FUN, and scary as hell. I recall holding the handgrips so tight that my forearms were sore the next day.

 

Now it's my daily commute, except there's no kung fu grip, and I'm passing the trucks. My rule of thumb for the rain - simple, just ride like your grandmother.

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Slow down, wear the right gear, be conspicuous, be courteous.

 

+1 - gingerly, gingerly with the throttle, and watch the lean angle - no points for speed in the wet. We're not getting paid to do this.

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With an RT, I would rather ride in steady rain (not a downpour, not when lightning is present), than in 90° heat. Get some decent rain gear; Frogg Toggs are modestly priced, light, and pack down nicely, and they are very effective.

 

I've never found a pair of "waterproof" gloves that really worked, and weren't clammy, but Aerostich sells triple digit rain covers that are truly effective, have reflective strips, and are even available in dayglo orange if you want.

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Me too. The gusting wind and visor fogging were the worst. Car lights helped . I went about 25 MPH and did not lean at all as there was much debris and the roads were slick. I really don't see how lean is possible at all on wet pavement. Amazing for those that want to try it. I was also concerned with the flying debris and trees limbs.

 

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Good info. I'll check it out. I had not planned on riding in the rain, but I imagine most people don't. I can the reason to pack for common scenarios even when commuting our a quick ride.

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Me too. The gusting wind and visor fogging were the worst. Car lights helped . I went about 25 MPH and did not lean at all as there was much debris and the roads were slick. I really don't see how lean is possible at all on wet pavement. Amazing for those that want to try it. I was also concerned with the flying debris and trees limbs.

 

For a good rider, 80% is rule of thumb in rain, as in 80% of traction available in dry.

Sometimes, after it has rained a while, roads are actually cleaner with the rain.

 

Nice thing about saddle bags is it allows you to prepare for all weather.

Get an anti-fog visor like a Pinlock, or start a thread and you'll get plenty of respones about how to reduce fogging.

 

Plan ahead, have rain gear, try to get some time to ride in the rain when you aren't time constrained, destination bound.

 

We've ridden 2 up through hurricane feeder bands, winds in excess of 40-50 mph, torrential rain, water over the footpegs, for miles.

 

The bike can handle it.

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Wow! over the foot pegs. I would like to see pics of that. I'm not confident enough to lean in bad weather yet. I'm just now getting comfortable with the bike and its size. My visor is supposed to be anti fog, but it fogs up with my breath in good conditions. I'll search first, then start the anti fog visor thread.

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I got soaked yesterday. Just EZ throttle, braking, and leaning and you will be fine.

First rain of the season is the most dangerous. Also stay away from the outside line of on and off ramps.

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Pat Buzzard

Army PTs are NOT good riding attire. I have found that as I acquire better quality protective attire my confidence has also increased. I have never put my beamer down, but knowing that if god forbid it does happen, I have the proper PPE on I feel more secure.

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Army PTs are NOT good riding attire. I have found that as I acquire better quality protective attire my confidence has also increased. I have never put my beamer down, but knowing that if god forbid it does happen, I have the proper PPE on I feel more secure.

Let be clarify and I understand armor rain gear would have been better. I had all other ppe except my jacket is the cold weather PT jacket. I'll have to invest in a good light weight summer water proof riding gear if it exists.

 

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Me too. The gusting wind and visor fogging were the worst. Car lights helped . I went about 25 MPH and did not lean at all as there was much debris and the roads were slick. I really don't see how lean is possible at all on wet pavement. Amazing for those that want to try it. I was also concerned with the flying debris and trees limbs.

Assuming a clean road, you have a lot more traction that you would think in the rain (something I have never been able to convince my mind to believe).

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Paul Mihalka

Something I've read in a few places is that traction on a clean but wet surface is about 80% of dry... I don't plan to test it...

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SteveHebert

I agreea Paul and Tim on the 80%. Respect the rain but do not be afraid of it. Ride the bike but just be more alert of the metal expansion joints on bridges, painted lines on the surface, etc. Braking is no issue with the ABS. Heck, go out to a parking lot and test the ABS when it is pouring out.

 

I would rather ride in the rain all day long, then ride a sandy patch in a corner, or on an absoulitely beautiful and twisty mountain road early in the am in the fall when leaves are laying on the road, especially in the tight corner. Now those conditions WILL get you attention! :eek:

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Paul Mihalka

The worst time is when it didn't rain for a few days and it is just starting. Specially if it is not raining hard but just wetting the surface.

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Me too. The gusting wind and visor fogging were the worst. Car lights helped . I went about 25 MPH and did not lean at all as there was much debris and the roads were slick. I really don't see how lean is possible at all on wet pavement. Amazing for those that want to try it. I was also concerned with the flying debris and trees limbs.

Assuming a clean road, you have a lot more traction that you would think in the rain (something I have never been able to convince my mind to believe).

 

WOW! What skill. I wonder if he bought it at some point. Looks like he really understood the bikes traction very well and controlled the sliding.

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I find that the brakes will also have a delay when very wet. I would rather get wet on the way home than miss a day of riding from fear of rain.

I use a cheap pair of mechanics gloves in the rain. They get wet all the way through, but for five bucks what the hey. Just don't try to dry them in the hotel microwave.

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It may be true that a wet road provides 80 percent of the traction of a dry one, but an important caveat is that if you hit a place where a bit of oil is mixed with the water, it's like riding onto a patch of ice. The telltale rainbow sheen can be very hard to see in time, and if you're leaned over you've suddenly got a real problem. Happened to me . . . :(

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I'm not sure I buy that 80% figure. Maybe in lab tests somewhere, okay. But out on public roads, there are too many variables to stick a number on it like that.

 

One thing I didn't understand, until I did my first cross country trip, is people's fear of rain. I commute in the rain all winter long, here in Seattle. Wet wet wet from August to July. I'm sick of it, but it doesn't bother me one bit. I don't get worked up like I do at freezing temps. What I never realized, is that around here roads are scrubbed clean by all that rain. Studs are legal here, so they help grind off the oily top coat. In other parts of the country, South of the snow and rain belt, roads are just a big oily mess. Riding in the rain like that can be terrible. Another issue is the rain itself. Here it's just drizzle that goes on for days at a time. Sometimes we get a good squall. Other parts of the country, rain is like being inside a dishwasher. Then it's over and the sun comes out. Inside an hour everything's dry again.

 

Anyway, the moral to the story is - take people's fear of (and advice about) riding in the rain with a grain of salt. It really depends on where they're from.

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I use a cheap pair of mechanics gloves in the rain. They get wet all the way through, but for five bucks what the hey. Just don't try to dry them in the hotel microwave.

Presumably the voice of experience...

 

I usually carry 2 pair of polypropylene glove liners, a pair of unlined armored gloves, and a pair of triple digit rain covers. If water leaks in through the cuff, I switch to the alternate pair of liners, and if both are soaked, a hand dryer in a fast food rest room is usually enough to dry out the glove liners, and overnight over a light bulb takes care of the gloves.

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I'm not sure I buy that 80% figure. Maybe in lab tests somewhere, okay. But out on public roads, there are too many variables to stick a number on it like that.

 

One thing I didn't understand, until I did my first cross country trip, is people's fear of rain. I commute in the rain all winter long, here in Seattle. Wet wet wet from August to July. I'm sick of it, but it doesn't bother me one bit. I don't get worked up like I do at freezing temps. What I never realized, is that around here roads are scrubbed clean by all that rain. Studs are legal here, so they help grind off the oily top coat. In other parts of the country, South of the snow and rain belt, roads are just a big oily mess. Riding in the rain like that can be terrible. Another issue is the rain itself. Here it's just drizzle that goes on for days at a time. Sometimes we get a good squall. Other parts of the country, rain is like being inside a dishwasher. Then it's over and the sun comes out. Inside an hour everything's dry again.

 

Anyway, the moral to the story is - take people's fear of (and advice about) riding in the rain with a grain of salt. It really depends on where they're from.

 

All the above is true. If I didn't ride in the rain I would never ride. In areas that get plenty of rain, provided your tyres are in good condition, there is no reason to fear it. I have touched down peg feelers on my RT on a slow bend in Scotland - low load on the rubber and gentle throttle and there is no issues.

 

In Spain however, the road has much less grip for the first hour or so of rain. Then it stops and is dry in no time. In those areas it pays to pull over and wait for the sun to mop-up the moisture.

 

Andy

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beemerman2k
In Spain however, the road has much less grip for the first hour or so of rain.

Andy

 

This is very true of the Los Angeles freeways. I rode those highways hard in the rain on my R1100RT. Then one day, my ABS brakes went out (unrelated to riding in the rain). Next time I rode in the rain, I gently applied my rear brake and it locked up on me! I lifted my foot to regain traction, no big deal or drama, but it drove the point home to me of just how slippery those highways are and how well the ABS brakes were, in the past, hiding that fact from me.

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Well, speaking of rain. I just rode home from work in a downpour. Left work in the sunshine, heading north, 23 miles to home. Looking north, the skies were black. I pulled over and pulled out the iPhone and hit the weather ap. Sure enough, dark red and yellow right over where I was heading. Put on my rain suit and proceeded. Few miles up it started to sprinkle, then rain, then hard rain and then the skies opened up. Add to that a strong wind and dropping temps. I was about a mile from home and there was a bad accident and the road was closed and they made everyone detour. Now I'm following a very slowwww detour line of cars threw the neighborhood. Well, all is good, I made it home and the rain suit is drip drying in the garage.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Me too on the 20 years off the road thing and just purchased a 99RT about 500 miles away from home. Rain was pouring down most of the way back and I found the scariest thing was traffic behind me as I frequently needed to slow down more than my four-wheeled friends. I was passed twice without even knowing there was a car back there which was unnerving to say the least.

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When I first got back into riding, rain always made my jaw hurt and my eyes dry out. Now, I've quit bothering God with empty promises and just try to ride smoother and away from big trucks.

 

----

 

 

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Rain can be a disorienting experience for newer or casual riders and that's most of the reason its moredangerous.

Traction is generally pretty good and racetracks provide quantitiative data on exactly how good. For example, at VIR (a track on which I've got enough miles to wear out many vehicles), a decent lap time of the fullcourse averages out to about 90 mph counting all the straights, hairpins, etc etc.

In the rain it drops only to about 83 mph for a 7 mph loss.

 

I'd worry a lot more about being visible and staying situationally aware than about traction loss. Bright reflective rain gear, bright light on rear, etc etc..Cagers have a tough enough time recognizing a bike when its clear and dry..

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd worry a lot more about being visible and staying situationally aware than about traction loss. Bright reflective rain gear, bright light on rear, etc etc..Cagers have a tough enough time recognizing a bike when its clear and dry..

That's my concern. I'm good with the bike - it can do more than I can ask of it but the other drivers out there aren't necessarily expecting a motorcycle out in the rain, much less one at night. Did nearly 1200 miles in the rain one day two weekends ago riding the PA Tour of Honor and it was the other traffic that bothered me the most. When it's not cold, rain is great for freshening things up and then when the sun comes out it's a whole new level of Wow! :)

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I shall never ride in the rain. I shall never even consider it. It is simply out of the question.

I shall only ride in fair weather. I shall hereafter be known as a fair weather rider.

dc

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Don't believe it- seems I read somewhere you've done a few miles and that has no doubt given you chances to get wet...

 

On hot summer days around here I've been known to hunt rain showers to cool off- they tend to follow and band about 20 miles in from the coast around here..

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lawnchairboy

no offense: if you are not comfortable enough to lean it in the rain yet I would offer that you may want some more training. youmay have no choice at some point other than lean or collide. go find a big wet open parking lot, be safe, give it some

progressive lean. build your confidence.

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Riding on "clean" wet pavement is usually not so much of a problem.

 

Oily patches and slimey dirty spots can cause a real pucker moment when wet. Some experience riding dirt bikes in loose stuff is the best preparation I know of.

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While I prefer a 75 degree sunny day, I kind of like riding in the rain. It gets me amped up a little.

 

Last Sunday, three of us rode about four hours in pouring rain and fog with 45 degree temps and no rain gear. We were on an Interstate often boxed in by semis front, side, and rear, traffic moving along at about 75. After a while, you just get used to it and motor on.

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While I prefer a 75 degree sunny day, I kind of like riding in the rain. It gets me amped up a little.

 

Semis to the right of me Semis to the left of ...Into the gauntlet!

Ain't it the truth. Once you're suited up rain raiding isn't so bad.

Done a lot of wet miles, some in torrential downpours. If you can keep the hands dry and warm life can be good.

Slowing in the wet is a good idea especially when you can't see squat. With glasses and a dark visor and the shield that's 6 surfaces specked with water drops. Yah gotta move your head around a lot to see through all that. :P

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