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Home Sharon's Biking Blog

Rain Rider

Blog Date - 12 May 2018

In a recent post by Ren the subject of my wet weather riding came up again, which got me thinking. I agree there is a lot of truth about experience making you faster and a bad experience making one slower. Be it in the wet or dry.

I have had a few scares. A tank slapper on the 125 in the dry, still never understand what happened there and a quite dramatic slip and save on diesel on a wet roundabout. No I wasn't hurt in either but yes they did slow me down for a while.

But I don't think my lack of experience or lack of a bad off is the reason I ride well in the rain. I think it is because so much of my riding has been in the wet. Jeez I even had to pass my test in torrential rain and blustery winds (Module 2 Test). I know my bike and tyre limits better in the wet than the dry. So come dry weather I don't improve as such. I have not gained enough dry weather experience or maybe I have just reached my limits of my riding skills and cannot go beyond that.

I am acutely aware of the what ifs when riding which is probably why I do not go fast into tight corners. I am always thinking what if there is mud, a dead animal, a broken down car around that unseen bend.

As for the wet I always buy good rain tyres so I do have trust in them which of course helps keep up your confidence and relaxed riding keeps you more steady. Hmmm relaxed riding...hang on I might just have had another revelation as to why I am better in the wet than the dry. 

I am actually more relaxed in the rain because I know I am good in it. I don't have to push myself to keep up with anyone because I keep up easily, in fact I'm probably able to go faster than some. There is no pressure, no feeling of "oh I wish I could do better if only I pushed a little bit harder". I am totally within my comfort zone.

Sharon smiles and gives a big thumbs up on a very wet and cold day on her motorcycle
I am strangely happy riding in the wet 

I know in the dry I can sometimes feel tense. Because there is an expectation that I should up the anti so to speak and go faster than I do in the wet. So maybe just maybe this expectation, this tension prevents me from going faster.

We all know if we are relaxed we are better and more stable riders. I am more relaxed in the rain...what a strange epiphany that is.

Hmm so where does the expectation to ride faster in the dry come from? Well it is just the done thing is it not? We all know that bikers should be faster in the dry. I see it in reality when I am left behind in the dry. 

I became a much better rider as I was learning when I finally stopped trying to prove anything to others and myself. I let it be, I relaxed and things naturally progressed rather than me trying to force them and ending up going backwards rather than forwards. 

So maybe I need to revisit my learner attitude when it comes to dry weather. Just relax, let it be what it is. Yes to be brutally honest it probably dents my ego a little bit when I get left behind. But I know better than to try and force it and to push too hard.

This summer I will endeavour to ride in the dry as I do in the wet, in a relaxed, confident and happy with myself manner. I will not try to go faster, I will let that come naturally if indeed it does decide to come at all.

If not then it will just be time to accept I have a personal speed limit that no matter the weather I am not comfortable to go beyond.

I am not the slowest rider out there even in the dry so maybe it may be time to accept my own limitations and be happy with things as they are. As a rain goddess maybe it's just natural I should not be the best fair weather rider.

Wearing all her bike kit Sharon stands in pouring rain and floodwaters
I guess I can't help if the universe thinks I need watering to make me grow.


If you've got rain gear you'd like Sharon to test and review then contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

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Reader's Comments

Ted said :-
I have a mate who lives in Wasilla, Alaska....he keeps telling me there is no such thing a bad weather, just bad clothing.

I'm still not sure if I believe him :-(
12/06/2018 06:59:31 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
No he's right Ted. Thing is would you want to be riding a motorcycle through the Alaskan winter even if you did have the right clothing?
12/06/2018 10:34:00 UTC
Mia said :-
Hi Sharon,

I just wanted to say a huge thank you for your inspiring blog.

I an new to biking and currently have a Suzuki Marauder 125 which is great for me as i am also a little vertically challenged at 5'3

I sadly do not have much confidence in myself where my riding skills are concerned but I have my BF with me on every ride. I know the more miles I put in the more my confidence and skills will improve but I do get very nervous before a ride (Not as much but still sometimes have the leg shaking going on)
My BF rides behind me and despite my constant uttering of Sh*t, Sh*t in his earpiece he tells me he sees nothing wrong with my riding so I guess i just need more belief in myself :)

Looking forward to reading more from you and hoping both you and your daughter are doing well.

Mia x
04/07/2018 12:25:45 UTC
Sharon said :-
Ted,
I sort of agree with your friend. Although nothing beats riding in warm sunshine the correct clothing can make wet weather riding far more bearable. If you are dry on the inside then the ride is far more pleasant. The correct gear does not have to be expensive either.
Both Ren and I have found the best way to keep dry is with cheap walking gear. Over trousers, such a Berghaus with full length zip for ease of access are great and team up with a packaway jacket such as Regatta. I also have excellent waterproof boots and I am almost completely dry apart from the hands. Still struggle with gloves. Had one pair that kept waterproof for a year but nothing really long term as yet. But having had sodden feet and a soaking right through to wet underwear yes I appreciate how much better it us to be dry on the inside.
05/07/2018 15:27:13 UTC
Sharon said :-
Mia,
Thanks for your lovely comment. It is responses like this that makes me smile and realise that my writing is of use.
How exciting for you to just be beginning your motorcycle journey.
Confidence comes with time but us ladies are often far too harsh on ourselves and our own worse critics.
I am sure with miles and your bf support that leg will soon stop shaking.

I do not write as often as I would like as time is limited due to increasing hospital appointments for my poorly daughter. We battle on however and time riding is even more important than ever to me as my major therapy, stress release and smile maker.
I hope you let me know how you get on in the future. Would love to hear of your adventures.
Thanks again x
05/07/2018 15:51:18 UTC
 

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