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Riding in a Downpour(14 posts)

Riding in a Downpourjagiger
Jun 24, 2002 11:22 AM
Over the weekend I got caught in a major downpour, which was something new to me. I slowed down & tried to get a feel for braking & handling in the rain. The water was deep in parts & hydroplaning seemed like a definite possibility.

I was wondering how the Pros handle something like this. It made me understand a like how someone with above average foul weather skills could do a number on everyone (ala Andy Hamptead) It's also easy to image some outrageous crashes... best left to the Pros...I'guess
I don't think you can go fast enough to hydroplane...tronracer
Jun 24, 2002 11:39 AM
on a bike and the wheels are too thin also. I could be wrong, just my opinion.
You are correct.SnowBlind
Jun 24, 2002 11:48 AM
You can't go fast enough to hydroplane, the cross section is just too small and the weight is enough to keep it from planing.
Your traction, however, is *HIGHLY* comprimised and the natural swaying of the bike as you pedal and balance can be enough to slip a wheel out from under you.
I don't think you can go fast enough to hydroplane...Skip
Jun 24, 2002 12:05 PM
Rule of thumb is that hydroplaning starts at a speed equal to 9X the square root of the tire pressure. So, if your tire pressure is 100 PSI, hydroplaning starts at 90 MPH; 145 PSI = 108.4 MPH, etc.
Good to know.....and I'll keep my tire pressure up!! [nm]jagiger
Jun 24, 2002 3:37 PM
Watch the white line.Sintesi
Jun 24, 2002 11:45 AM
Basically common sense. As you stated, slow down and give your self far more braking time. Any painted surfaces on the road are slicker than grease in the rain, never corner hard over a bunch of wet leaves either. Lightly tapping the brakes periodically will remove water buildup on the braking surface of your rims.
and those tar linesMisJG
Jun 24, 2002 12:08 PM
Around here [Chicagoland] they fill cracks in the asphalt with a ribbon of hot tar. I guess it works, 'cause they keep using it, but it's slick as ice when it gets wet, even on a motorcycle!! I've ridden through all kinds of rain [insert 'Forrest Gump' quote here], but was never concerned with hydroplaning. Braking and cornering are where you've got to be most careful. Road debris sticks to wet tires better than dry also, so you may be more prone to inflation issues.
Like driving in snow...biknben
Jun 24, 2002 12:12 PM
You just need to take it easy. Sudden changes in direction or speed can lead to problems.

Painted lines while turning should certainly be avoided. Manhole covers and other metal object also become slick as ice.
Being visible to drivers in the rain is also a concern. -nmTig
Jun 24, 2002 12:13 PM
the worse time when rain starts..cyclopathic
Jun 24, 2002 12:44 PM
water brings oil from cracks, watch out for at lights and stop signs. the other thing rims get oily slippery from brake dust you need to apply brakes several times to clean them. With respect to traction avoid white strip and choose good rain tires.
Don't forget pot-holes and debris hide under water. nmMike P
Jun 24, 2002 1:43 PM
Don't forget pot-holes and debris hide under water. nmJimP
Jun 24, 2002 2:21 PM
Glass and other sharp objects will cut a tire much easier when they are wet. First, you can't see the glass to avoid it. Second, if you remember high school chemistry, a dry rubber tube is difficult to cut with a razor blade but just add a drop of water, and it cuts like soft butter.
re: Riding in a Downpourflybyvine
Jun 24, 2002 7:12 PM
Commuting in Singapore, I get to ride in tropical downpours quite often (actaully a nice change to riding in the heat - either way you are as wet as hell).

Road markings and steel plates are nightmares. Cornering is no problem with road tyres (no way you could hydroplane). Braking is a pain in the arse. I use ceramic rims for commuting to help a little bit but once the road is completelly covered in water (sometimes an inch thick in sheets) you can't clear the water off your wheels & have no braking ability at all. In these situations I just stop at a bus stop & wait it out (5-10 mins max).

Many people are too frightened to ride in the rain but once you know the "rules" its really quite nice ( and a relief from the heat). But then again when it rains here it means the temperatures drop into the 20's C not F !! I'm not sure I can handle the cold anymore.
I hear that!Soultrain
Jun 24, 2002 11:08 PM
I am in Diego Garcia, which is just below you, and east about three thousand miles or so. We get about 120 inches of rain a year here and the rain is the only time that the temp is comfortable to ride in. I've been here about eight months and have learned to love riding in the rain. The only time that I have any problems is when I sprint. I have somewhat rough form and it causes the rear tire to slide a bit under full throttle.(scary sometimes) I think that most people never actually challenge the cornering grip of their tires on solid, flat, pavement; in the dry. If you understand that you have very little when it's wet, and ride like it, then you shouldn't have a problem. I have never had a wreck because of wet conditions.
Since I have been here, we have had a low overall temp of 68 degrees. Brrrrr!!!
I can't wait to get back to socal and see mountains again.
I might even like being a bit chilly every now and again.
-Soultrain-