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Thread: Rainy Paranoia

  1. #1

    Rainy Paranoia

    I purchased my 2004 RT last fall, and since then have used it almost exclusively for my daily commute to the big city. My low mileage truck stays parked in favor of a vastly more enjoyable commute and ten dollar a day gas savings. On rainy days, I've always been intensely but pleasantly focused on visibility, oily or slippery patches, and other considerations unique to wet weather riding. A couple of months ago, on a different bike than my daily driver, I enjoyed a low speed lay-down entering a parking lot. Super slick painted concrete, and I was down with a torn thigh muscle. Couldn't right the bike without help, heck I could barely walk at all for days. Since that day, I have had a phobia of wet patches and riding in the rain. Silly, but very real. Tomorrow, I'm getting back on the horse for a forecasted rainy commute. Wish me well with my ride and weird insecurity. It's laughable, but it's a formidable mental hurdle for me. Any similar experiences, rain related or not?
    R75/6, Non functioning 2014 FJR1300A

  2. #2
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    Oct 2003


    You will be fine!!!!

  3. #3
    John. jstrube's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Atwater, CA
    Living in Cali, I am the biggest Rain Chicken ever. I busted that one in Colorado last month, rode in a downpour of a lightning storm... Not looking forward to the next rainy day, but at least it is not the end of the world.

    Have fun!
    Atwater, CA
    2015 R1200RT

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    After the rain saturates the pavement, you still have 70% of your traction.

    It also gets better as it starts to dry. Of course, the most dangerous time for rain riding especially on city streets is when it first starts to drizzle.

    I learned this the hard way. If you ride in drizzle, before a rain in the city expect to slide around.

    The drizzle can make the road feel as if it is covered with oil or antifreeze.

    Ironically, if you don't crash in the rain, the biggest risk is getting run over.
    Other cagers have 4 wheels, and many do not slow down. They have no worry of failing with 4 wheels.
    They also will not expect to see a bike in the rain and will be texting.

    Do a track day in the rain, if you are worried. That will cure you.
    You can also practice in the rain as I did a once or twice.
    Last edited by LuckyGrownup; 07-11-2012 at 09:13 AM.

  5. #5
    Tutum amicum r184's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    So Cal
    Quote Originally Posted by JStrube View Post
    Living in Cali, I am the biggest Rain Chicken ever. I busted that one in Colorado last month, rode in a downpour of a lightning storm... Not looking forward to the next rainy day, but at least it is not the end of the world.

    Have fun!
    Same here. In SoCal I see rain very seldom, let alone ride in it. Last month, rode the Northwest, to include Portland. Several days in light to heavy rain. Just control that throttle, pay attention, invest in some good rain gear/tires and have fun. I did.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    Jun 2011
    Piedmont area of NC.
    Back in my youth road racing days, I was part of a team that rode in the 24 hr's of Nelson Ledges, Ohio.

    I had always avoided riding in the rain much less attempting to race in the wet.

    Came my turn in the middle of the night and wouldn't you know it . It starts to rain, I was pleasantly surprised at how much race pace i was able to keep in the wet.

    Had a few pucker factor moments , but over all once you get over the initial natural fear you can ride well and enjoy it.

    Pay attention, make no sharp or pronounced moves, be extra smooth and you will be fine.
    Oh yea, avoid painted lines and surfaces, they are slippery.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 175781 View Post
    A couple of months ago, on a different bike than my daily driver, I enjoyed a low speed lay-down entering a parking lot. Super slick painted concrete, and I was down with a torn thigh muscle.
    I'm guessing you tried to keep the bike from falling. Don't do that. Don't try to save the bike. Let the bike fall. You are less likely to get hurt that way. Broken plastic and bent metal are easier to fix than broken bones and torn muscles.

  8. #8
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Braintree, MA
    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    I'm guessing you tried to keep the bike from falling. Don't do that. Don't try to save the bike. Let the bike fall.
    Easy to say, not so easy to do. I've ripped both rotator cuffs trying to save the bike. Each took a year to heal. Yeah, I KNOW you can't save the damn thing, but you try anyway. Rough ride back from Meat Cove, but worth every mile!
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 And DRAT! Missed the last one in 2015!

    -Tom (KA1TOX)

  9. #9
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    SW Ohio
    Congrats for getting back on the horse. Chalk it up to experience and one more thing to be cautious of in wet weather.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    Jul 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    My rain phobia is not wrecking the bike.

    A couple of years back I got soaked riding my '08 Suzuki M50. Both times, I was so wet I would have been drier if I had jumped in the river!

    Even though I've been caught out a couple of time on my '96 R1100RT and have hardly gotten damp, I still think twice and leave the bike when it looks like rain.

    Yeah, I'm a wuss...
    The "Miracle of Modern Technology" is that we get anything done using it...

  11. #11
    Registered User bluehole's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Midlothian, Virginia
    I am glad to learn there are others like me. I my younger days I did not like riding in the rian, but if I had to it, was inconvienient, but no big deal. When I resumed riding 8 years ago I discovered that I had this enormous fear of riding in the rain. I feel like I am riding on pavement coated in Armor All. I have never had an incident in the rain. Still, I make a seroius effort to avoid riding if it is even in the forecast. Ironically, I seem to get caught in the rain far more often than I should. The worst was a day long drenching from Ohio to Virginia. I will say that the fear factor has become less intense over the years, but still do not like rain riding.

    Am I still allowed to ride a BMW?

    Let us know how it went.

  12. #12
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    B.C. Canada
    There are three factors which I think SHOULD make riding in the rain scary:
    1. You know you have reduced traction, but you don't know HOW MUCH that traction is reduced. Forget those numbers such as "you have 70% as much traction in the rain." I would wager those numbers come from lap times on a track. Tracks don't have tire ruts pounded into them by trucks which can hold a half inch or more of water. Tracks don't have antifreeze, oil or diesel on them, to be spread around and become invisible in rain. In short, I believe that traction figure is always shifting on real roads. Other than avoiding ruts and painted lines, slowing down (how much?) and running tires with decent tread, there isn't much you can do about it.
    2. Many car drivers do not slow down in the rain. In dry conditions, your safest option is usually running the same speed as traffic or slightly faster. In rain in traffic what do you do? Keep up and run the risk of dropping the bike, or slow down? Chose the latter and you have to pray they see your tail light, which for many bikes is inadequate even in dry conditions. Deal with the passing vehicles throwing spray on your faceshield. (Got a faceshield wiper on your left glove?)
    3. Fogging. I just recently got a Pinlock faceshield for my helmet. Before that, tried a half dozen magical potions which basically didn't work. I found the fogged helmet even scarier than the slippery roads. You've GOT to be able to see! Open the faceshield a notch to clear the fog and you now have water on both sides of the shield!
    4. Finally (well, probably not) you have to be WEARING your rain gear so you stay dry and comfortable. A cold wet body is a distraction and we all know how well distracted drivers perform.

    Be good to hear from some of the "Rounders" who live in places like Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, etc. They may have knowledge that I and others don't.
    1992 K100RS

  13. #13
    Enjoy The Ride saddleman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Huntersville N.C.
    The painted concrete is what got you. When riding on wet roads after a good wash from rain with good tire tread depth you only loose about 20 % of traction. You loose much, much more on the painted lines on the road & anything steel like manhole covers and R.R. tracks. When crossing a R.R. track at a angle on wet roads hang on to the bars extra tight.
    Dave Selvig
    2008 Black LT
    2004 Black LT
    2000 Canyon Red LT

  14. #14
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Spring Lake NJ, USA
    I've found that getting into a mindset for rain riding makes it almost fun.. sort of zen like. I call it smooth riding. The challenge is to make all inputs to the bike in a manner that all the bikes outputs (like steering, leaning, power/acceleration, braking) are as smooth as possible.

    That helps prevent the loss of traction.

    Being comfortable helps a lot also. In rainy weather I tend to wear my electric gear, even as temps approach 70F.. I also wear an Aerostich Roadcrafter, which zippered up is about as waterproof as anything I've found. I wear rain gloves from RoadGear (their H2O gloves), and BMW All-Round boots (which have kept my feet dry in all day rain many times.)

    Being dry and warm helps a bunch in allowing me to control the inputs to the bike. As mentioned - some surefire antifog is a DogSend.. I'm now wearing a Schuberth C3, my former helmets were C2's and C1's (and the original BMW system helmet made by Schuberth). All have effective anti-fog faceshields. Being able to see is a great thing.

    Good tires (and I've found nothing the equal for wet of the Michelin Pilot Road 2 or Pilot Road 3) are really important. They allow you to maintain your grip with the world as you move smoothly through it.

    I also used to dread riding in wet. Since I figured out how to do it - I actually sort of enjoy it. It's another challenge in motorcycling, one that really requires some care and concentration, and it's more mental then almost any other facet of riding safe.

    Good luck, and if it starts to become less of a fear for you - try to think "smooth" and see if it becomes enjoyable.
    Don Eilenberger
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  15. #15
    I was painted super slick concrete that got me. Almost like glass. The whole area has since been refinished. The problem with rain is that, on the road, you just never know when you're going to hit a patch of oil or other contaminant that renders that precise patch slick. My ride went fine. Today, with almost 100 percent chance of rain for the day, I drove the truck.
    R75/6, Non functioning 2014 FJR1300A

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