As the cyclone loses teeth, a bunch of bikers takes over the roads
On Friday, bikers of RoadRockerz kept a close watch on the weather. They waited for the cyclone to lose its intensity so they could ride in drizzling rain.
“Most serious bikers enjoy riding in the rain, especially in the gentle drizzle that signals the death of a storm,” says Senthil Kumar, a key member of this multi-bike adventure group that delights in endurance rides.
“We are not foolhardy — to avoid catching a cold or a fever, we wear our rain gear. To avoid mishaps, we follow safety techniques.”
Among the majority of biker groups, the ability to ride in a downpour is considered a measure of advanced biking skills.
“Sooner or later, a biker will have to face the prospect of riding on wet roads. On long tours, bikers travel across geographical zones and are often caught in a rain. If it is a cyclone, we go off the roads and resume the ride when the wind and the rain have abated,” says Sabyasachi Debnath of the Jawa-Yezdi club Roaring Riders.
“A cyclone purges the land of its dross and pollution, leaving behind leaves that are greener, air that is cleaner and a breeze that is cooler.”
A science, after all
When all the romanticism is blotted out, rain riding is a science to be learnt. A survey of videos offering biking tips will invariably lead to those dealing with this topic. Most of these videos offer safe rain-riding techniques.
“While riding in a rain, safety assumes greater significance,” says Senthil. “A biker has to take precaution. With road grip less during rain, air pressure in the tyres has to be reduced appropriately. Water seepage reduces the functionality of disk brakes; considering this, a biker has to ride slow. While fording heavily water-logged stretches, bikers tend to accelerate the bike and ride fast to avoid water entering the engine. Increasing the engine rpm without speeding is the correct method — in other words, a biker has to raise the engine but ride slowly at half-clutch. Investing in a good pair of gloves is essential. Those who can't afford quality gloves should go in for good handlebar grips. On the Highways, the white markers are thicker and turn extremely slippery in wet weather. Riders should avoid going over these lines or ride slow over them. In fact, riding slow is the primary key to riding safe riding in a rain,” he says.