The patter of raindrops, the howl of the wind, and the cold embrace of a stormy shower just add to the entire experience of riding in the monsoons. Things just seem so much more beautiful, especially when Mother Nature showers the biker in you with all the love she has, as the clouds burst open.
While monsoon rides are probably the most fun, you can't really grab a handful of brakes if you want to stop. Nor can you lean into the twisties as much as you'd like. So, before you start setting fire to the rain, here are a few things you need to take care of :-
Like we learnt in school, look before you lean. In monsoons, though, you need to look "into" the vehicle ahead of you. Take a peek through the rear windshield of the car in front, before you overtake it. Also, keep the visor raised very slightly to prevent fogging up
If you think you can do 100, do 80. If you think you can do 80, do 60. Always be at a speed lower than you think you can be. It's not about doubting yourself. But do not, for one moment, trust the road.
Now here's the tough bit. Most bikes in India (Indian-made), come with street-spec tyres as stock. These tyres do a lot of things, but cannot be expected to grip as well as specialised touring tyres. This only means that you have to be extra-careful while braking. A simple trick is to downshift, then pump the rear and front brakes. Like in all matters, smoothness works. Also, a lot of the braking depends on the condition of the tyres, so a new set of tyres before the monsoon really helps
Keep a bottle of chain lube and cleaner handy. Liberally apply the lube and cleaner as many times as you can. An oil-based lubricant really helps keep corrosion at bay. Dried mud is bad news, especially if accumulated near the suspension and exhaust mountings. Washing a bike with water is also a bad idea, as that would only accelerate corrosion. Bad news for both you and your bike
Yes, auxiliary lights do help, but the wiring matters more. While we all like to see into the future, having to push your bike through a muddy trail because of a short circuit is not a good thought. So, before you slap on those LEDs, get the wiring checked by a good mechanic, get the battery topped up and you're golden!
Not a good idea. While leaning a lot of the work is done by the front tyre. And it can lose its cool very easily in the wet. Ever heard of aquaplaning? No right? Well, think smooth slippers and a wet marble floor. That is what will happen if you lean too much in the rain. It's always better to slow down, get wet in the rain and enjoy the ride.
Riding in the monsoon is like walking hand-in-hand with your high-school crush. So many possibilities. Such wonderful memories. Cherish the experience. Ride safe.