The heat of the sun has been blocked out by dark rain clouds. The air is fresh. The dirt has been washed off the streets and barren lands are carpeted in green. It’s almost criminal to remain indoors during these amazing monsoon months. You’re probably itching to get back in the saddle and ride your motorcycle through the rains, too. Riding through the hills, watching waterfalls in the distance, and sipping on that steaming glass of cutting chai – it is a tempting idea. Well, we agree. And we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our essential monsoon-riding tips so that you’ll always be right as rain.
PS: This goes without saying but always wear protective gear when you are in the saddle.
A. Before the ride
1. Check-up: If you haven’t done a pre-monsoon service check-up, we suggest you do one before you hit the streets in the rain. Any mechanical or electrical issues are only going to get worse when you’re riding in the monsoon. It’s also vital to check your tyre condition. If they’re near the end of their life, replace them. It’s easy to lose traction in the wet and good tyres will keep you safe.
2. Back-up: Ensure that all necessary paperwork is in order. Bike insurance is essential, and you should always confirm that your insurance papers are on you at all times. It’s also a good idea to let family and friends know the route you’re likely to take if you are going for a long ride.
B. During the ride
1. Exercise caution: Don’t ride fast. Enjoy the weather and the ride. You’ll be comfortable and have more control over your motorcycle.
2. Gear-up: Always wear your helmet. Make sure you have protective and waterproof riding gear and boots. You’re going to be exposed to the elements and this is what will keep you out of harm’s way. If your gear is dark-coloured, make sure it has some reflective strips on it so that you’re visible to others.
3. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles: You’ll avoid potholes hidden by the car in front. It’ll be easier to brake as your stopping distance will also be shorter in conditions that could compromise traction.
4. Tap the brakes: If your bike has ABS, you’ll have better control. If it doesn’t, then remember to be gentle on the brakes. You don’t want your tyres to lock up and send you into a spin. Remember, use both front and rear brakes during a sudden stop. Also, slow down in a straight line and don’t brake during a turn.
5. Stay alert: People, animals, bad drivers, and (in the monsoons) falling trees fill our streets. Avoid these, as well as waterlogged roads by being vigilant and careful.
6. Lights on: Keep your low headlight beam on while you ride. It’ll help your visibility and let other motorists know where you are, too. The low beam also won’t annoy other drivers and riders.
7. Plan ahead: If you’ve been keeping an eye on the road, you can avoid sudden movements. The smoother your ride, the safer you’ll be.
After the ride, remember to give your ride some TLC. Get it pressure-washed to clear away any mud and gunk that could damage parts of the bike. After washing and drying it, check the chain and get it lubricated. These basic tips will go a long way to ensure that you and your bike ride together happily and safely for years to come.