Riding on rainy days is different to riding on comparably drier ones. For many people, the idea of riding through a wall of rain can be daunting. However, for some, gliding with the pillows of heavy clouds blanketing the tar black skies, waiting for the rain to soak into the skin, and listening to the sound of their machine blurring into the long whirring noise of the downpour can help breathe life into their souls.
If you’re among the people who love riding in the rain, or are compelled to ride in the monsoons, you need to take necessary precautions. With decreased visibility and slippery roads, motorcycles are more susceptible to the dangers of the road. So, if you are going to be riding in the downpour, these are the things you need to keep in mind.
Maintain a safe speed
When riding in the rain you need to significantly decrease your speed. The rain creates slippery portions on the road and lack of traction is a very real problem.
If you’re riding at a slower speed you will be able to avoid hard braking and anticipate dangers on the road better.
PRO TIP: Avoid the first showers. Leaked oils and coolants on the roads (which can be extra slippery in the rain) are more likely to be washed away with the first rain.
2. Brake more carefully
Depending on the front discs alone is going to get you into trouble. During the rain, the chances of the front tires washing out under hard braking are higher.
It is advisable to use both the front and read brakes (as you always should). And ensure that your brakes are in good working condition and the brake fluids are topped up.
3. Keep your headlights on
Decreased visibility on the roads isn’t only applicable to you. Other drivers are also going to have a hard time seeing you.
That is why you should do your part to make yourself more visible. Keeping your headlights on, even during the day, is the easiest way to do so.
PRO TIP: Wearing reflective gear will help you be even more visible.
4. Focus on the road
As riders already know, Nepali roads aren’t the best. Uneven patches, muddy tracks, potholes, waterlogged areas, stray dogs, pedestrians, and various other unpredictable factors need to be kept in mind when it’s raining.
Your focus needs to be on the road and what’s coming up. Look out for road signs, especially in low visibility, and brake accordingly. If you have a pillion rider, ask him/her to be alert and look around for any possible issue.
PRO TIP: Also avoid stopping or parking near trees, as they are more likely to be struck by lightning, or a broken branch may fall directly on your vehicle.
5. Maintain distance
Most of us don’t have a habit of maintaining a safe distance with the car in front of us. But during rainy conditions, you need to increase this distance from the distance you normally keep. Due to loss of traction, stopping the bike takes longer on wet roads than on dry roads.
6. Avoid water-logged areas
We just received news of a Safa tempo drowning on a street in Kathmandu, which is a good segue to our last point.
Avoid water-logged areas. You might have noticed massive potholes and occasional open manholes on the roads of Nepal. Well, there are chances of these hurdles sneakily hiding under massive puddles. So, always tread carefully.
Water can also severely damage your engine. If you do find yourself wading through high waters, make sure you maintain a consistent speed with steady throttle input so that water does not enter in through your tailpipe. Do not stop unnecessarily in water-logged areas.
If your bike stalls, get off and push the bike out of water.
To sum it up, if you are riding in the monsoon, make sure you are extra-cautious. Make sure you have the motorcycle checked and ready to face the monsoon. A healthy bike will perform better and will be more reliable.