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Author Topic: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads  (Read 1995 times)

MrktStrtMyhm

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Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« on: July 10, 2013, 12:10:12 PM »
So chances are I'm going to have to ride in the rain since we are getting scattered storms almost every day. Is it really that much more dangerous? I feel like it's similar to driving a car (reduce speed,  no sudden turns..) but of course it's a bike so I'd be happy to hear wet riding tips?

Also, by bike has stock tires on it. I'm not going to replace them yet but I'm looking at the Avon Distanzia on/off road tire as it seems like it will give me best traction on a wet surface (and I could ride through the fields back home in Central Pa  ;) )
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gremlin

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 12:17:01 PM »
wet roads can be slippery.  drive smoothly.
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REdmonton

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 12:46:23 PM »
I like this video on how to drive in wet conditions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv8cVOkfvTI&feature=share&list=TLK0mb-QfxU0I

Rich Mintz

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 01:01:41 PM »
I'm a new motorcycle rider (8 months, 5000 miles, plenty of rain; 30 years car driver). All your common sense thoughts are probably right. (For instance: ease onto the brakes, don't jerk; ride slower; lean more gently so you don't undermine your traction; etc.) But I'd add one more:

Rain aside, physics keeps a motorcycle upright when it's moving (someone else can explain it, but you've probably noticed that tight maneuvering is harder when you're going slower). When you slow down for rain, be aware that if you slow down TOO much, physics will no longer be helping you.

The only time I ever took a spill on my bike was when I slowed down TOO much when riding over a rain-slicked steel plate in the street. The side-slippery forces became stronger than the bike's forward motion, and the bike slipped out from under me. Specifically: the rear wheel started sliding to the right, and then the bike fell toward the left and spiraled forward counterclockwise on the ground out from under me. Neither I nor the bike was seriously hurt but it was really embarrassing.

Since then I have taken extra care to proceed steadily and loosely (not too tight a grip) in slippery weather, as well as slowly.

But don't psych yourself out. A bike in good repair, with good tires, handled responsibly, can ride adequately in the rain. Just practice in low-traffic conditions, and be attentive.

Craig McClure

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 01:50:57 PM »
DONT SPEND ALOT ON AVONS.  Majority of riders here agree That DUNLOP K70 TIRES ARE EXCELLENT ALL AROUND CHOICE. 3.50 rear, 3.25 front. You will save money, & not regret the choice, they are very good in rain, & most other conditions, Tarmac to Highway & somewhat on dirt.
Check out Bike Bandit on tires line. then sell your "TAKEOFFS" on Ebay I was surprised at what mine re-couped.
Best Wishes, Craig McClure

Ducati Scotty

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 03:24:37 PM »
The first 15-20 minutes of rain are the most dangerous, especially early in the season.  During this time all the oil on the road comes up and makes it extremely slippery.  Pull over and wait this out, then head out cautiously.

Scott

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 04:01:00 PM »
They pretty much said it.  The K70s on mine are very grippy in the rain and tremendously better than the stock tires.  I'm more concerned with visibility in the gray drizzles or hard pouring rain than I am with traction.
Common sense stuff.  Slow before curves and turns avoiding braking in turns if you can, but not old lady slow, avoid slick spots when you see them and obvious things like puddles, man hole covers, pot holes, and steel repair plates.  I tend to ride to the left of center to avoid the major oil trail on the streets.  It doesn't take any hard maneuvering or braking if you leave a little extra space between you and the car ahead, except the idiot that turns with no signal or has no brake lights.
 And slow when you know there is sand in turns over blacktop.  It can just let go on you.  I've been caught in the rain every time I've ridden the past month or more except for Monday night and a nice afternoon.  Rained so hard Sunday I sat at church and drank coffee with the weirdos until the storms passed. (No old timers, strange people, not the band  ;D)

One more thing.  Don't get a death grip on the handle bars and tense up your body!
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High On Octane

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 04:07:03 PM »
I've ridden in all kinds of weather, including snow (wasn't intentional), the most important thing is to stay alert and drive with caution.  And by "caution" I mean use common sense, not "overly paranoid death grip on the handle bars" caution.  "Common sense caution".  Like Scotty said, avoid riding for the 1st 15 minutes or so, do not over accelerate in corners and turns, avoid riding thru large pools of water,in don't exceed 55 mph on the highways, and most importantly NO HEAVY BRAKING!!!  Make sure to give yourself plenty of room and time to brake for traffic, intersections and stop signs/lights.

Scottie
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barenekd

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 04:39:20 PM »
The stock tires offer very little traction in the dry! They really should be replaced as soon as possible.
Do Distancias come in small enough sizes for an Enfield? I had a set of Distancias on my Triumph Scrambler. They weren't nearly as terrible as the stock, but they still had their problems. I would get a lot of head shake crossing seams on the freeway. I finally put a set of Bridgestone Spitfires on it and they were much better. But then I traded it for the  Enfield, got rid of the Skidmasters and as much happier!
I did run the Skidmasters for 2500 miles until they finally managed to pitch me off a cliff!  They were gone after that! A set of K70s improved the days after that considerably! Until I put some Pirelli MT66s on it, and they were the best!
Bare 
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 04:41:55 PM »
As mentioned above, wet steel is slick as ice.  That goes for plates, manhole covers, train tracks, whatever.

Scott

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 04:52:46 PM »
I took my second driver's test in the snow.  First time I put my foot down like an idiot.  Back in the '70s you had to have an appointment and be accompanied by someone with a motorcycle license at MVA.  I followed my brother down, both on leaky Sportsters.  He took it very easy for me, but did the speed limit.  A cop on a dresser passed us just before we got to MVA.  I went inside and low and behold, he was to give me my test.  He said he should postpone for clear weather, but since he followed me for a couple of miles in snow and traffic, he only made me do the U-turn (which I failed the first time) and cones.  I lucked out I guess 'cause I'd never ridden in rain before, much less while it was snowing.
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High On Octane

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 05:10:13 PM »
Something else I should add is that cold rain/snow has a bad tendency of fogging up your eye protection on your warm face.  If you plan on spending a fair amount of time in the rain then I HIGHLY recommend using some RainX anti-fog on your eye protection, whether you use goggles, glasses or a full face helmet with a shield.  You can't be safe if you can't see.  Also, invest in a motorcycle rain suit.  If you're soaked inside and out, you will become miserable quite fast, and that can take away from your concentration and ability to remain in control of your bike.  I have a Bike Bandit rain suit that works VERY well.  So well, that I've worn it in torrential down pours and the only thing that got wet was my hands and feet.  Speaking of which, make sure your foot wear is water proof as well.  Your feet will soak up everything splashing up from the road.

http://www.bikebandit.com/bikebandit-com-two-piece-motorcycle-rain-suit

Scottie
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2013, 05:19:09 PM »
I got one of these for the rainy season a few years ago.  It works so well and is so comfortable I've never bothered to take it out, even when the weather is good.  It works better to prevent fog on my face shield than anything else I've ever tried.

http://www.respro.com/products/racing/road-racing/foggy_mask/

Scott

barenekd

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 05:20:51 PM »
Rain-X is NOT recommended on plastic! There are other defoggers out there, including spit and dishwashing liquid
Bare
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D the D

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2013, 05:34:33 PM »
Even shaving cream in a pinch.
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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2013, 05:36:14 PM »
Rain-X is NOT recommended on plastic! There are other defoggers out there, including spit and dishwashing liquid
Bare

Interesting.  I did not know that.  Nor has it ever had any adverse effects for me other than doing it's job.  What do you use Bare?

Scottie
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barenekd

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2013, 05:43:22 PM »
Spit works in a pinch, but usually use dishwashing liquid. I have some other stuff around here, but honestly I don't know where it is, or even what it is. Stuff I got at the IMS Show years ago from the guys who like to clean your glasses. As I recall, it does work. I think it's in one of my old tank bags!
Bare
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Arizoni

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2013, 11:21:37 PM »
When riding in the rain, beware of high speeds and hard braking.

When a car turns on a wet road it has four tires working to guide it so if one starts to slip it is never noticed.  With a bike, if either tire starts to slip and the rider isn't prepared for it,  down it goes.
It is also surprisingly easy to lock up the front wheel if heavy braking is used in the wet.
Once that wheel stops turning and starts skidding the bike will almost instantly throw itself and the rider to the tarmac.

In my over 45 years of riding I've only dropped my bike a few times.
With the exception of the anal orifice that changed lanes into me all of the other times were due to water on the road and me breaking the rules I mentioned above.
(Yes, the heavy braking was to avoid some idiot in a cage each time.)
Jim
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D the D

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2013, 01:15:27 AM »
Yep Sir!  I locked up the front wheel once in the rain and luckily, as the bike was laying down, I just stepped off.  I was only going about 15 to 20 mph to start, maybe down to 5 when I stepped off.  I couldn't hold her up without hitting a car.  Not good luck, I was going too fast for a wet, slick parking lot with cars maneuvering about like idiots when someone pulled out in front of me.  I wasn't cautious enough.  I was a lucky idiot.
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Craig McClure

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2013, 01:59:13 AM »
The Irish cut a Potato in half & rub Potato juice on interior glass/plastic to fight mist. That is when they have a Potato.
Best Wishes, Craig McClure

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2013, 02:04:37 AM »
Divers use potatoes too, but spit is easier to carry w with you :)

mattsz

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2013, 02:12:12 AM »
The Irish cut a Potato in half & rub Potato juice on interior glass/plastic to fight mist. That is when they have a Potato.

As the man said, "THIS is why I love this forum!"

D the D

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2013, 03:03:08 AM »
And you stuff half the potato in your buddy's exhaust pipe and laugh drunkenly as he kicks and kicks....
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1975 XLCH

Bulletman

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2013, 04:19:06 AM »
There is a product I use when Scuba diving, which I do very frequently, its called "Spit" anti fog. I use this on my MC Helmet, only every other month, andits awesome. ( whilst diving, it has to be used before every dive though).
www.jawsproducts.com.
Worth every penny costs about 7 bucks.
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MrktStrtMyhm

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2013, 03:02:37 PM »
Good tips from everyone! I'll look into the K70 tires as an upgrade. I'd really like to be able to do my own work on my bike (studying the shop manual like crazy) but I don't have any experience at all so I'm a little cautious. I'd rather not take it to the dealer who estimated me $250 for my first check up @ 300-500 miles.
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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2013, 03:29:04 PM »
Maintenance on these bikes is easy and simplistic.  Just do your research on what you're about perform and you should be fine.  I recommend you pick up Pete Snidal's repair manual for the Bullets.  It will greatly expand your knowledge about your bike and walks you thru many of the various repairs required for basic maintenance and even advanced repairs like replacing the cylinder and head.  And if you have any questions, just ask here!

Scottie
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mattsz

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2013, 04:01:18 PM »
MrktStrtMyhm -

I was in the same boat - some car wrenching experience but no moto at all. I've heard mixed reviews about the Snidal manual as relates to the UCE bikes, but it turns out that the same thing can be said about the current factory UCE book! I bought the latter anyway, along with the parts catalog and the B&W wiring poster (all from NFG when I spotted them on sale).  They've been invaluable for my home service work, but not as valuable as this forum!

I've changed my engine and fork oil, replaced my drive sprocket and chain, made some electrical mods, swapped my seat for a solo and added a rack, upgraded my rear shocks and even removed and repaired the swing arm I busted in the process!  I'd still be scratching my head without the help I've found here...

I've learned a ton, had fun and made some new friends along the way - what more could you ask for?

Gypsyjon

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2013, 07:51:37 PM »
The first 15-20 minutes of rain are the most dangerous, especially early in the season.  During this time all the oil on the road comes up and makes it extremely slippery.  Pull over and wait this out, then head out cautiously.
Scott

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Gypsyjon

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2013, 08:00:39 PM »
Rain X is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) with enough sulfuric acid to drop the pH to 2.

You can make your own for cheap if you have access to a lab.

Put isoprop in a beaker with a mechanical stirrer. Put in probe from pH meter. Drip in concentrated H2SO4 until pH =2.

Voila, isopropyl sulfate, also called RainX.

I've gone back to my roots. British 1 lunger, stump puller.

Arizoni

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2013, 09:26:42 PM »
Has anyone mentioned painted lines on the road?
Many of them are very slippery when they get wet.

I'm talking slippery to the point that while making a turn I've felt the front tire start to slide sideways and the rear tire slip  sideways enough to move the whole bike when some power was being applied.  That will make your butt pucker as it grabs for the seat!!!
Jim
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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2013, 11:16:27 PM »
+1   ::)
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MrktStrtMyhm

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #32 on: July 28, 2013, 11:23:01 PM »
Has anyone mentioned painted lines on the road?
Many of them are very slippery when they get wet.

So today was my last day of my MSF class, brought this great flourescent rain jacket and some leather gloves for when it rained. Well about 2 hours in the class the skies opened up on us. One of my classmates ended up hitting the deck when he used his brakes through a turn and lost control. Cracked his face mask a smidge and he had a swollen pinkie but it he was ok; it made everyone much more aware of the water though. We waited about 45 minutes for the rain to stop and eventually called it quits due to persistent lighting/thunder. I had ridden my RE to the course and waited around for the rain to let up and once it was a light drizzle I hopped on the bike and headed out. I learned a lot of things on the ride home, which was about 5 miles, and this was one of the tips that stuck in my head.
I avoided painted lines, especially when starting at a traffic light. I made sure I was on straight pavement to avoid skidding out. The first mile went smoothly and I was feeling a little more comfortable. I did feel the bike sway at times (on top of the rain there were wind gusts from the east) but I maintained full control the whole ride back. If it weren't for the fact I didn't have rain pants, I really didn't mind the rain, it was actually pretty fun. It really made me focus on everything I've learned about riding safely.

After 18 days of riding, I've logged 153 glorious miles, and met a lot of cool people. Looking forward to performing the first service on her around 300 miles!
2013 B5 Bullet 500

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #33 on: July 29, 2013, 02:00:45 AM »
Congratulations on completing your course and discovering another enjoyable facet of life on two wheels.
I can break it better,,,,at night, in the rain, on the trail,, 20 miles from nowhere.

REA #136

"TIMEX", the '06 Iron Barrel Military that takes me everywhere I want to go... and some places I shouldn't.

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #34 on: July 29, 2013, 02:09:55 AM »
For those of you who live in California, just stay off the bike during the first major rain of the season. Typically we get the "big rain" in October. After a few months of no real rain all the oils come pouring out of the asphalt, so much that you can see foam forming. The roads are so slick in this condition you can barely drive a car. One time I drove from UCLA to my apartment in Santa Monica (15 miles) on surface streets during the first big rain in months on October 15 and every intersection and I mean EVERY intersection had an accident. I have ridden my bicycle several times in the first big rain and fallen while going straight! It just isn't worth the risk. Park the bike and call a friend or a cab. It isn't worth dying for.

barenekd

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #35 on: July 29, 2013, 09:25:14 PM »
If you live in an area that still has a few brick streets, avoid them in the wet. Extremely slick!
Also the center of a lane. That dark stuff in the middle of the road is oil. Can be slick especially around intersections.
Doesn't have to be raining.
Bare
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Craig McClure

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads & black ice
« Reply #36 on: July 29, 2013, 11:41:38 PM »
I came to realize some years ago, that my 1972 Triumph Tiger 750 was magic, or I lived a charmed life. Living in the south, it is possible for the young & hardy to ride all year combating cold rain with waxed cottons. Riding to work daily in Atlanta Georgia, I used to cut through Ansley park Headed south west. There was one intersection with a sweeping left feed & a yield sign. One very cold morning I got my first introduction to BLACK ICE there.  Coming through that sweeping left turn, it was to late to do anything when I saw it. I didn't change the throttle or brake, I just slithered right across it & the street, still upright, Until the patch ended close to the far curb. At that point I was able to brake & turn hard on the dry pavement I had reached. I couldn't believe my good fortune not having fallen. Later I learned several cars crashed there that day.  Just one of many fond memories of close calls. That Triumph saved me (or indirectly caused) quiet a few.
Best Wishes, Craig McClure

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2013, 03:09:36 AM »
Thanks john as to how to make rain x in the lab (in my case...the embalming lab). I had quite a bit of luck over the years running my wax polisher over the windscreen of my cage. Turtle wax doesn't do a half assed job, but rain x, the real stuff, and its actions was always elusive to me. 
« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 03:16:40 AM by Desi Bike »
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میں صرف اپنی موٹر سائیکل پر سوار کرنا چاہتے ہیں

D the D

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2013, 07:10:00 AM »
Watch out in parking lots too.  We tend to park out bikes to one side or the other of oil spots, but if you step onto the wet oily spot, you may slip with one leg up in the air and 400+ lbs of bike helping you meet asphalt.
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heloego

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Re: Riding in the rain/on wet, oily roads
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2013, 05:49:32 PM »
Lest we forget...
Over the last few years the road crews have been using a new crack sealant made with some kind of silicone rubber instead of real tar. This crap is not only useless for filling cracks, but is slicker than hell in rain or shine. Especially when wet. When turning I have to negotiate these carefully or start slipping. Pucker factor shoots way up!  :)
Rather than have a homeless person for the holidays, I decided to stick with ham.