When you first get a motorcycle, you worry about and try to avoid motorcycle riding in the rain. But once you gain more experience, you will learn two things. First, it’s not if, but when you will get caught in the rain, and second, if you are prepared, it’s not as bad as you thought.

Be prepared

Sooner or later, you  get caught in the rain. Whether this is another factor of riding a motorcycle or a miserable experience depends on how prepared you are. You will need gear specifically for motorcycle riding in the rain. This equipment will serve several purposes. It will keep you dry, it will keep you warm, and it will minimize the effect of the rain on your driving. You need more than one set of rain gear that you swap out depending on the temperature. You want a lightweight suit to keep you dry when warm and a heavier suit to keep you warm and dry when colder. You don’t want to get too cold when riding; it will make you sluggish and slow your reactions. Whether you generally wear gloves, you will want some for motorcycle riding in the rain to make sure you have control on the grips.

Make sure your bike is prepared

You don’t ever want to ride a bike with tires that are too smooth, but this is critical when riding a motorcylce in the rain. Wet roads will give you less control, and slick tires will multiply the problem. Also, make sure your brakes are in good working order, and you don’t have to give them too much pressure to slow down evenly. If you don’t use a windshield, you might consider one. With a windshield, as long as you are moving, the only part of you that gets wet is your legs. And if you don’t wear chaps, they sell thin vinyl covers that fit over your pants from the knees down.

Be extra vigilant

The way to ride safely is to be always looking for threats. This is even more important when riding motorcycles in the rain. Watch out for puddles, because they are likely to be hiding potholes. Watch out for discolorations or rainbow patterns in the street. This is an indication of the presence of oil. If oil and water don’t mix, oil, water and motorcycles sure don’t. Avoid painted stripes and crosswalks; these are slick when wet. Be very careful when it first starts raining as the roads tended to slipperiest then.

Be extra careful

Not only do you have to be watching for more threats, you need to be able to handle them when they arise. Drive a little slower and be prepared to brake earlier. Use a little more rear brake than normal to prevent skids. Bring out all your reflective gear to fight the reduced visibility. Ease into your turns and keep your turning radius even. Be extra careful when motorcycle riding in the rain.

Use common sense

This is the most important tip. No matter what your normal riding style is: crotch rocket or easy rider, the rain makes it more dangerous. Use common sense and courtesy and get home safely. Speaking of getting home, when you see rain approaching, your instinct may be to speed up and try to beat the rain. Don’t. Pull over and put on your rain gear and then drive normally when riding your motorcycle in the rain.

The thing you find out the first time you go motorcycle riding in the rain, once you’re wet, you’re wet. Be prepared, sit back, and enjoy the ride.