It’s been raining heavily in Mumbai for the last few days and the biker in me has been completely ‘happy-happy-joy-joy’. Now, normal bikers would grumble and mumble under their breath and park to the side of the road every time there is a slight downpour. I however, continue on–the reason being that I have a few tips of my own on how a biker can survive the rains to have fun, even in the most torrid weather. Read on ‘cuz this is where I’ll share those!
Trench coat (duh!)–buy one that is long and reaches at least till your shins. Make sure the sleeves have elastic at the ends because you don’t want water getting in from there when you are riding at full tilt.
Most people seem to think that it is OK to wear just a waterproof jacket but in reality that’s worse. What happens is that the water trickles down from your chest into your pants; making you look like you pissed in them. I’d recommend one of those Duckback two-piece raincoats, complete with waterproof jacket and trousers over a trench coat. It’s a pain to carry around but it’ll keep you as dry as a wafer chip.
When wearing the rain coat, make sure the jacket overlaps the pants. DON’T tuck the jacket into the pants as that makes it easier for the water to trickle in. Also, do keep 100-odd rupees in the pockets for emergency sake.
Backpack–Where else will you dump your trench coat after you have reached your destination? Make sure your backpack is waterproof, so you can dump your wallet, watch, mobile and other valuables without worrying too much about them.
It is recommended to carry an extra shirt/t-shirt in the backpack, though not compulsory. However, do carry three plastic bags. Why three? Because if you have a two piece raincoat – like me – then the pants tend to become dirtier than the jacket. They also seem to take on a muddier colour, and then you don’t want to keep the two in the same plastic bag. The third bag can be used for emergency or you can dump your valuables in it.
Wear the backpack inside the jacket, so that it is further protected from the elements. Now you also know why it was important to keep the emergency money in the raincoat pockets 🙂
Plastic board on crash guard of bike–I used to disapprove of the plastic crash guard once upon a time, but having fitted it these monsoons, I can safely vouch for it. Nothing else will protect your shoes from looking like they were pulled out of quick sand!
Shoes–When it’s raining, it’s important to be wearing shoes and NOT slippers or Crocs. The slippers will make your feet dirty and won’t provide you with adequate warmth. From experience, I can tell you that having cold feet is not a very comfortable thing, especially when riding. Crocs are another no no because contrary to popular belief, your feet stink after wearing those useless pieces of plastic for a while. Also they tend to get worn out faster than any other pair of footwear I know of, so it’s best to avoid those altogether!
It is important to note that wearing a raincoat and a helmet impairs your judgement to a little extent, especially when it is pouring hard. It is therefore very important to ride responsibly. Keep these in mind and you’ll love the monsoon rides.