Riding in the Rain | A Beginners Guide
For a lot of beginner riders who just got their CBT licence, riding in the rain definitely seems unappealing. In fact, many people on a CBT licence straight up refuse to ride when it rains at all. It’s a shame and means you only get to enjoy your motorcycle half the year (if you live in London or the rest of the U.K). You can always tell a real motorcycle enthusiast when you see them cruising along the motorway in December still looking happy as can be.
But we’re here to say you don’t need to lock up your bike and forget about it for the rest of the year. Of course it goes without saying that riding on a CBT licence often means you may not be the most experienced motorcycle rider. But that doesn’t mean you have to let your bike collect dust in the winter. Remember what you learnt in your motorcycle training and take these tips to be more confident!
Gear - Do you have the right motorcycle equipment?
This is something you get explained in your CBT training. It seems obvious but learning the right gear to wear is something that shouldn’t be kept to the motorcycle training whiteboard. Your comfort and warmth is absolutely essential if you want to be safe and alert when riding.
You can now buy electric heated vests for around £100 which will almost definitely keep you warm and dry. Don’t rely just on this though, layer up. This matched with a waterproof rainsuit is an absolute winner. Make sure your hands and feet are well covered and protected too. When you’re driving your motorcycle in the rain you need to make sure you can be very accurate and responsive with your brakes. So make sure you can feel your hands!
Driving in the winter or the rain is often coupled with the dark which means visibility is poor.. It’s therefore imperative you have the correct motorcycle helmet for the wet weather. You should make sure you have an anti-fog visor equipped. It’s all good being warm and cozy, but if you can’t see, you’re in trouble..
If you find the rain eases off, you should look for dry lines on the road. It seems simple enough but it might be something you just don’t think about if you’ve only recently done your CBT training. It’s quite common to see people driving on wet road kicking up water when they could be following a dry line next to them. Essentially try and follow other car and bike tracks. This will give you extra traction and maneuverability.
Flow and have smooth control of your motorcycle - Just like in your on-road CBT training
You need make extra effort to remember and implement everything you learnt in your CBT motorcycle training. Riding a bike in the wet doesn’t require a lot more skill, it just requires you to not let yourself get away with bad habits. If you ride on your own like you would in the wet on a motorcycle training course, you’ll be fine. Stay textbook!
The word “smooth riding” is thrown about a lot when talking about motorcycling in the rain. It’s important to flow, don’t make sudden movements. Gradual use of the throttle is key. You should also leave a much larger braking distance and gently brake to make sure you have a smooth ride.
It’s also important to try and keep your bike more upright in wet conditions. Don’t lean quite as much into corners. Again, smoothly ease into them by leaving more distance to decelerate. Apply your rear brake lightly to stabilize the chassis when you’re on straights.
Be extra vigilant of the ground when on your motorbike
This is something which isn’t always taught in depth during your CBT training. You need to be very vigilant of the ground in the rain. This is for two main reasons:
- It’s harder to see the floor in the rain. You can’t always clearly see the surface clearly like you might in good conditions. You should therefore drive slower and keep an extra keen eye on the road ahead. Oily patches and warn tarmac can be even more slippery so just look out for them.
- Everything from cat’s eyes to manhole covers are more slippery in the rain too. Generally speaking you should avoid these anyway, but just pick your line more carefully. Leave yourself enough time and space to gradually ease out the way of road markers. It's not a slalom, you'll see them coming.
These things aren’t disastrous or hidden death traps. If you’ve taken your CBT training already you’ll know not to panic if you hit things like this. It’s just an extra precaution worth consideration.
Having a CBT licence doesn't mean you can't ride your motorcycle with confidence!
This is a simple but effective tool! Sometimes this might involve taking further motorcycle training. But taking your CBT training is enough to know what confident riding feels like. A common error when riding in the rain is forgetting to relax. If you’re completely rigid and not flowing in and out of turns, you’re more susceptible to slipping. You don’t have to use a closed throttle when cornering. In fact, we would advise against it. Generating some force will help your grip. Just make sure you’ve gently slowed down going into the turn.
Stopping and starting will also warm up your tyres. This doesn’t mean testing your 0-60. But just have the confidence to come to a stop and then push off again to warm up your tyres. Having warm tyres is a massive plus. Training yourself to do this is very important. But remember that it will take them longer to warm up in the wet than in the dry.
You don’t need to be an expert motorcycle rider to enjoy riding your motorbike in the rain. Having a CBT licence and the basic CBT training is enough to be confident. If you're still considering getting a CBT have a look at getting set up here! Just remember to relax and enjoy it, a lot of people actually prefer it! You’ll also find you’ll become a far better rider if you perfect riding in the rain. Don’t lock away your bike, roll it out of your garage, slap on your Ls and get stuck in!