Motorcycling in the Rain-My Thoughts

The Pacific Northwest in the Winter

Yep, you know what they say…If you don’t like the weather in the PNW, wait five minutes; it will still be raining!  Where we live on the central Oregon coast, this is a fact from November to April; the temperatures are usually not too cold (today it’s 54) but rain is a likelihood!  So, as riders, how do we enjoy riding in wet, sometimes stormy weather. The following are some of my musings on the subject…

Know your Limits

As Dirty Harry once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”  Isn’t that true for all riders, woman or man?  I think it is, but as motorcyclists we have a tendency to push those limits for thrills or time constraints, or we may let fatigue drive our riding habits.  So, a wise rider knows when to ride, and when to grab a cup of coffee or a motel for the evening.

So, what are your limits?  When do you call it  a day, or even more importantly, decide it might be better to stay home and binge-watch MASH or something…Comment below and tell me your thoughts.

I don’t ride when the temps are below 42f.  Around here, any elevation gain may mean snow, and I definitely  don’t want to plow the BMW through that.  Likewise, when the rain forecast calls for more than a half inch of rain for the day, and/or the wind is predicted to blow over 15 mph.  That’s a pretty high wind velocity if it’s traveling across large open areas, or the beach, especially if I’m loaded down with my Brooks AutoSports panniers and other gear.  A final consideration is fog; I ride with extreme care if fog is closing down the local coastal passes; if it’s night time and rainy, I don’t ride!

Equipment and the Rain 

Quality riding gear and some moto accessories can make the difference between a successful, reasonably warm ride, and a miserable, cold, and wet experience.  Personally, I’ve never skimped on cold weather apparel or gear that helps me be warmer, safer, and more visible to traffic.  Fortunately there are many companies that build good-to-great cold weather apparel.   Olympia makes a reasonably priced suit that in my opinion works very well.  Of course, you can spend more money; KLIM, BMW, and MotoPort all make excellent gear.

In my riding career, I’ve worn most every high end riding, and for me nothing comes close to my Darien Jacket and AD1 riding pants.  Superb protection, completely waterproof, and loads of pockets make this apparel excellent, especially when I am riding through different climate zones!  You can find their stuff at Aerostich.  Add a good pair of waterproof boots and you are good to go!

Think about the riding gear your bike wears.  Hi intensity driving lights such as those made by Clearwater may save your life.  LED lights that increase the brightness of your turn signals and brake light are beneficial by making you more conspicuous;  to a motorcyclist, conspicuity is the name of the game!  Clearwater installs at their shop,  or are happy to sell the the systems for you to install.  Yes, they are spendy, but so is the hospital, or a funeral!

The Most Important Gear is Between your Ears

Do an attitude check…Yes, you can spend a fortune and watch the weather, but if your brain is not up to the task of riding in stormy weather, you  should stay home.  And, that is perfectly fine;  it all goes back to knowing your limits, right?  Many of us, including me, in most cases, are fair weather riders.  Neither you nor I have anything to prove.  Remember risk v rewards?  If riding isn’t pleasurable, then don’t go.

If you are riding in the rain, your brain is working even harder than it would on a sunny day.  Adjust your speed according to traffic and visibility.  Slow down, and don’t even think about tailgating.  Make sure at stop lights you have an escape route in case a distracted driver cannot stop behind you!

Riding the Motorcycle in the Rain-Final Thoughts

I hope you are enjoying your personal motorcycle journey.  I know I have; with 310,000 accident free miles on several BMW motorcycle, I continue to enjoy riding very much.  I hope you will consider your riding style when the sunshine turns liquid.  With some preparation, riding in the rain can be enjoyable and relatively safe.

I’d love to hear your comments about this blog entry; check out the comment section at the bottom of the page.  Even more, I hope to see you on down the road!






Brooks Auto Sports Pannier Review

Brooks Auto Sports builds a very robust after market pannier system for the BMW R1200 GSA motorcycle.  These panniers are very well built, easy to install, and are completely waterproof.  A complete set is about $800 less than the original equipment panniers one can purchase with their GSA.  I have been using these panniers for a few months now, and they are every bit as sturdy as the OEM panniers were.  And, the Brooks panniers are truly waterproof, unlike the BMW bags, which began to leak after a year of service.  I highly recommend the Brooks panniers!



Meet our New-to-Us BMW R1200 GSA!

Yep, we have a new baby in the house;  after logging a bit more than 100,000 miles on “Bikeopotamus,” we decided to trade up to a newer GSA model.

Here she is, our new dream motorcycle an incredibly good looking 2016 BMW R1200 GSA!  About a week or so ago, we rode up to Gig Harbor Washington and picked up “Blitzopotamus,”  Of course, Blitz is aptly named due to the increased horsepower of the ’16 model,  the result of which really allows us to ride at a more “sprightly” pace!

The search for aftermarket parts began…

After owning the 2011, we knew exactly what  parts we wanted to add.  After all, why would you buy a GS and not add your favorite parts, or “farkles.”  We started off with a custom saddle from “Mr. Ed’s Moto” in Albany.  Don, the owner, is a true craftsman of the seat building trade, building each seat himself, exactly to the customer’s specifications.  The saddles he builds are true works of art, but more importantly, they work!  I cannot say enough about his shop, and hope if you are interested in custom seat work, that you give him a call!  Of course, you can ride in or send him the seat; Don will give you all the details when you speak with him.

Next up, we purchased Clearwater LED driving lights.  We selected a lighting combination that give us conspicuity in the daytime, and unbelievable range at night. Living in a place where the deer run rampant, it’s nice to have every riding advantage you can have; to see and be seen in most important!  The folks at Clearwater can send you whatever you need, or you can opt to ride out to their facility where they will install them for you; just make an appointment, ride in, and they will expertly and quickly set you up.  That’s what we did, and we couldn’t be happier with the install!

Aftermarket additions are all about making your ride safer and/or more comfortable.  We also installed “Pivot Pegz,” because they, well, pivot.  Being able to change your foot angle while sitting or standing is easy with these pegs, and as a result they are very comfortable.  Finally, we installed a Puig windscreen brace from the friendly folks at Revzilla.  Revzilla rocks for moto accessories.  The depth of stock, knowledge of the customer service reps and speedy service makes Revzilla a winner for aftermarket moto stuff.

New Clothes for the Blitz, and New Apparel for Me!

A new jacket seemed like the perfect addition to a new bike!    In this photo I rock the Olympia Three Way jacket which has an outer jacket, rain, and quilted liner.  As a result, it is a very handy jacket for the tricky weather up here on the Central Oregon coast!  If you are up in the area, swing by “Premier Moto Gear” in Albany, Oregon.  In the meantime, follow the link to “Mr. Ed’s Moto” above for more information.  “Premier” is the apparel and parts section of Don and Debbie’s business.  Stop in, have a cup of coffee, some conversation and check out some awesome gear….

These accessories make Blitzopotamus more comfortable and safer to ride.  We’ll see you  on the road, and remember, if you are on the central coast of Oregon stop by and say hello; we’d love to meet you in person!

Avenue of the Giants, Eureka CA

149 °F Clear and dry

Tires, Grip, and the Great Pacific Northwet!

Recently Marina and I made a huge lifestyle change by moving to Newport Oregon.  Newport is located on the beautiful central Oregon Coast.  Here, huge waves crash against timeless sea stacks, foggy mists cling to huge trees, and crystal clear rivers rush into the Pacific Ocean.  It is truly, God’s Country in many ways.

One of those heavenly ways shows itself in the quality of  motorcycling. Just leaving our driveway puts us in fabulous, uncrowded riding conditions.  In fact, navigating our driveway could be considered an “adventure ride.”  We, of course, ride Bikeopotamus, our 2011 BMW R1200 GSA, which allows to nimbly pick our way up the moss/pine needle/rain-covered gravel of our driveway.  Those guests who come visit and ride bigger ‘street’ bikes might elect to park down below the house and walk up the final steps to the house! Continue reading “Tires, Grip, and the Great Pacific Northwet!”