Riding a Motorcycle in Severe Weather
Just because it’s not sunny doesn’t mean you have to keep the motorcycle in the garage. If you still want to go out and ride, even in bad weather, there are a few things you can do to make it easier and safer. Don’t let rain keep you from riding, but do be wary of the road conditions. As a general rule, if you wouldn’t want to drive a car through it, don’t ride your bike through it, either.
If it’s just raining, you probably do not need to take too many precautions. If you don’t want to get wet, make sure you have a waterproof riding suit. Sometimes a motorcycle rain jacket is not enough, if you’re looking to stay dry. You are going to want long sleeves, long pants, gloves, and a collar that tucks under your helmet to ensure to water gets inside.
If this is the first rain of the season or the first rain for a couple of weeks, the road will likely be a little slippery. For experienced riders, this is neither a surprise nor a problem. Give the rain an hour or so to wash the oil and dirt of the asphalt. If there is lots of standing water or a thin layer of foam on the road, you know it will be slippery goings if you do try to ride. Keep in mind that the striping on a road can become especially slick during inclement weather, so plan accordingly.
If you’ve ever ridden a windy road, you know how forceful it can be. Wind can throw a car around, and it can do much worse to a motorcycle. This can make some riders very tense, as they are trying to compensation for the seeming loss of control. In fact, the best way to deal with strong winds on the road is to stay loose.
Not only will this prevent a large gust of wind from jolting your arms, it will also give you the necessary reflexes to handle any wind that pushes the bike. In general, if visibility is low and winds are high, it might be best just to pull off and wait for the storm to pass.
Most bikers decide up front not to ever ride in snow, but sometimes it is a necessity. If you are only a few miles from home and it starts to flake, getting him is probably the best option, rather than pulling off and waiting for it to stop. Fresh, un-flattened snow is the easiest to ride in, as it will not yet have tracks that can pull at your bike and cause you to slip.
If the snow has already been driven over, try to stay in the middle of the tracks, as driven-over snow is very slippery. Keep a safe distance between you and other riders and cars.