“If it aint raining, we aint training” is a common military expression I’m all too familiar with. While I’m a believer that nearly everyone has the physical capability to become a solider, what excludes most people is the mental fortitude to do things that aren’t “normal” by modern standards. The Army is an all-weather sport; the elements are to be combatted just like the enemy. In a way, riding a motorcycle is no different.
Last night was a meetup with a bunch of the guys I ride with; knowing full well it was going to rain, I rode anyway. Truth be told, I hate washing motorcycles (I’ve covered this before), but at some point, you’re going to get wet, might as well be prepared. After my exciting return trip from Tennessee last weekend, the bike was already dirty; that and the fact I figured it would be relatively light rain, it seemed as good a time as any to prove if the new FirstGear kit was actually waterproof.
As luck would have it, the meeting ran long enough that the rain had nearly stopped by the time I rode home. This actually made me feel somewhat better because riding in the rain is inherently dangerous, riding in the rain after dark even more so. After a half hour commute back to the house, the FirstGear Rainier Jacket and Escape pants appear to be waterproof, at least in light rain. While I had hoped for slightly heavier rain, this first test was a good way to stick my toe in the water.
So, if I may get on my soap box for a moment: as I said, riding in the rain is inevitable; far better to expose yourself to the conditions in a familiar, expected environment, than to be caught unexpectedly, white knuckled, and completely unprepared for the conditions. While I would by no means consider myself an expert, you would be surprised by how much grip your tires still have on wet roads. Certainly I don’t condone pushing the envelope on purpose, but trust your bike, slow down, don’t lean so hard, be visible, and dress for the conditions. Riding in the rain does suck, but with the right gear, and most importantly, the right frame of mind, it can be done, and it certainly extends your riding season. Drawing on my military experience, I force myself to do it (despite how I detest cleaning up afterward), knowing that with experience brings confidence to overcome the fear of mother nature.