Staying Upright in the Wet!
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
Firstly may I say I am not trying to teach experienced riders how to suck eggs but more give inexperienced riders or those who may have developed some bad habits a few things to think about.
RIDING THROUGH FLOOD WATER This poses a significant risk at any time but the risk can be minimised. Often we are forced to ride the same sections of flooded road regularly. Try and memorise where the holes and other hazards are otherwise follow the wheel line of another bike or car and have them identify them for you. Keep a steady even speed and hold a little back pressure on the bars with your thumbs behind the grips. This will help stabalise you if you do hit a hole or submerged hazard.
BRAKES Make sure your mechanic is adjusting and servicing your brakes regularly. Give yourself a bit more space on wet roads and load especially the front tyre before braking heavily. Both brakes should be applied together for maximum efficiency but come off the brakes if a pothole or metal plate in the road isn't safely avoidable and just run over it with a firm grip on the bars.
TYRE PRESSURE For those who follow my page I apologise for repeating this but tyre pressures are extremely important for efficient braking and handling anytime but particularly in the wet. For most scooters 30-35psi front and 35-40psi rear is acceptable. Ideal pressures for your particular bike will be easy found with a Google search.
WHAT TO WEAR Firstly a decent helmet that has a screen so you can be looking forward with good vision in the rain. Doesnt need to be full face which is ideal but I understand impractical for some applications. Many in the rain wearing silly little hats will be looking down to try and minimise the rain in their eyes so your ability to see clearly becomes all the more important when needing to safely navigate around them. Poncho's work okay until the first Muppet in a taxi throws a wave over you. A decent long rain jacket is a far better option or for longer commutes consider a full suit. Have a pair of old runners under your seat to save trashing your shoes or even better some waterproof overboots.
PLATES OVER THE ROAD
At present and for some time to come particularly in Thao Dien we have major drainage works happening overnight and precariously placed metal plates over the works by day. There has already been numerous accidents on these with tragic outcomes. Best to avoid these areas where possible as the upcoming rains are going accentuate the hazard. As mud is dragged onto the plates add some rain and they will be like riding on ice. If you do have to pass over them do it with extreme caution and at a speed where you don't have the necessity to brake heavily on the front. That won't end well. Keep an eye on heavy vehicles which may bounce the plates up under you or in your ride line.
TO FINISH If flood water is getting deep to the point that the bikes engine is at risk of cutting out. Stop the engine and push the bike through. If the level is so high that water when pushing has gone into the exhaust pipe have someone help lift the front of the bike to drain it once out the other side of the flooded area. The engine then should start as normal except in extreme cases.
Thanks for reading and stay safe.
REMEMBER: If you think a decent helmet is expensive think about what a cheap one might cost you?