I’ll ride in the rain. I don’t like it, but a smart rider can do it safely. Here's a common sense approach to riding in the rain. It's actually a blog I wrote a while back for a different website. First, when you see any hint of rain, pull over and put your rain suit on. If the cars coming towards you have on their lights and it’s ominously dark ahead, chances are, it’s raining. You can also smell a thunderstorm. It’s hard do describe, but you’ll know it when you smell it. Take your time donning your rain suit. There’s no need to rush. Plus, a lot of time, those afternoon thundershowers are fleeting and only last for a little while. I like to pull over under a bridge or somewhere else where I can have some sort of shelter. If I get tired of waiting out the storm, I can hit the road dry. If the storm passes, then my gear and I both stay dry. There’s also another very good reason why I like to wait just a little while before I take to the road. That’s because the roadways are their slickest at the beginning of a storm. I’ll explain. All vehicles leak or deposit some sort of fluids on the road. Some leak more than others, but inevitably, they all leak. Those fluids concentrate on the road in the center of the lane. The majority of what’s in the center of the lane is oil. Oil and water don’t mix. Instead what you get is oil floating on top of water. This oil sheen is super slick. When the oil is on the water and not the asphalt, it is free to move any which way it wants. It’s not until the rain has had a chance to wash this oil off the roadways do I want to venture back out. I’ll stay dry in my rain suit. But I’d really like to stay off the ground, too. This brings me to my next point. Mud may look like fun, but as I found out on my way to The Little Sturgis Rally and Races last year it’s also not conducive to keeping a bike upright. A little bit of mud may not be a bad thing, but this was deep thick mud. I really should’ve just stayed clear of it and gone through the grass. You also want to double or even triple your safe zone in the rain. For example, if you are used to riding a couple of seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, give yourself four. Increase your expected braking distance. You never know what might have been washed up that might make you lose the traction you need to make your bike stop. Stay away from hard acceleration. Breaking traction may be fun, but you should really try to leave it for when you can know what to expect for when you want your traction back. Also, lose the shades. Keep a pair of clear or amber lens glasses for night riding and riding in the rain. Keep an eye out on your rear. Just because you can stop short of that light doesn’t mean the car behind you can. I’d rather run a light than get rear ended. When done right, you can safely ride in the rain. Am I an expert? No, but I’ve put about 12,000 miles on my bike a year for the past few years, so I would say I might know a thing or two. ‘Till next time, ride safe!