Tuesday, 4 May 2010


As an afterthought to this morning's piece on riding in the wet, here's a video that demonstrates that wet weather riding is largely psychological. Kiyonari has obviously told himself that it's dry out there, just as the late, great Joey Dunlop used to do.

Ultimately, all wet weather riders should aspire to this level of excellence!

Wet weather riding

Riding in the wet is something that most motorcyclists dislike doing to a lesser or greater degree. Indeed, some just don't do it at all; if there is the slightest risk of a light shower in a 200 km radius the bike doesn't come out of the shed/workshop/garage.

Personally, I've always ridden all year round, and in all kinds of weather, but I must hold my hand up and admit that for a long time was something that I cordially disliked. Mainly it was because for a long time, I didn't really have any proper rain clothing, so I'd get thoroughly soaked and miserable, which isn't conducive to enjoying a long ride. But there was also the fear factor. As soon as it started raining, roundabouts, corners, stop/give way signs, traffic lights, all became a source of potential danger, injury, and possibly even death. I would sit there on my bike, tense and rigid, handling the brakes and throttle as if they were live snakes that might bite me hard. The concept of leaning into a corner was instantly washed away by the first drops of rain, and I'd sit bolt upright on the bike and steer the machine rigidly round corners with a minimum lean angle. An overtaking manoeuvre was something I carried out with the deepest misgivings.

So, for many a long year, I lived in awe of motorcyclists who managed to ride in the wet as if it wasn't that big a deal, and wondered if one day I'd learn to be like them, laughing in the face of storm clouds, riding gleefully through standing water... and gradually the change happened. I couldn't say exactly when or how I lost my deep dislike of riding in the wet, but the case is that I now barely bat an eyelid, even when the horizon is almost black and criss-crossed by spears of lightning. So, how does one approach riding in the wet? Let's have a closer look.