My commute today was drizzled on which made me come up with a post on this topic.

This past year 2008, I rode to work during several downpours. Riding in the rain doesn’t have to be miserable. The design of your Vespa allows you to ride in the rain with more comfort than a regular motorcycle. The legshield and floorboard gives you some degree of protection from oncoming rain and upward splatter as compared to regular motorcycles. Here are some tips that come to mind.

1. Own a decent motorcycle rainsuit/gear. Seasoned riders like to say-“there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. Start with a rain jacket with matching pants and booties. Ideally you have some form of raingear in your topbox whether its a one piece rain suit, a jacket and pants set, raincoat or poncho. Have a set stored in your workplace so that in the event it rains when you are about to go home you have something to use. I guess depending on the distance of your commute and how hard it is raining, you can use a raincoat/poncho for short commutes and a drizzle and a complete motorcycle rainsuit for longer trips and heavier rains. Me I always use a rainsuit. Your raingear should be worn over your protective gear, and your reflective vest over your raingear if you rainsuit is not orange or yellow.

2. Regarding tires and tire pressures. Be familiar with the characteristics of your tire. Some tires are known to perform poorly in wet conditions. If your tires are one of those, replace them if you can, if not then ride more carefully. Regarding tire pressures, I read a post in a forum recommending that you decrease your tire pressure for better traction in the rain. On the other hand an article I read in a popular magazine recommends to add a tad more air to allow you to cut through the water. The article mentioned that an under inflated tire would mean more surface to hydroplane. Another magazine mentions that the grooves/thread in an under inflated will tend to close up therefore making the channeling/flow of water restricted leading to more hydroplaning. A properly even over inflated tires has the channels and threads wide apart. Me, I just keep my tires at the recommended air pressure for a Px Vespa rain or shine. So I guess an under inflated tire will be more dangerous.

3. Throttle control should be smoother to avoid power slippage.

4. You have to ride slower than your usual speed.

5. Avoid grabbing alot of brake or sudden braking.

6. Try to stay upright as much as you can. Avoid the angles that you might normally do when the road is dry.

7. Headlights on.

8. S.E.E (Search, Evaluate and Execute) more than normal.

9. Be in riding jeans than Khakis, the khakis will just get messed up with splatter. If you really need to be in office wear then just change in the office.

10. It would be nice to have amber colored sunglasses.

11. Be wary of oil, diesel spills that can give a rainbow colored sheen on the road.

12. If it’s raining cats and dogs, just sit it out, if you are already caught in the rain. Look for a place where you can park and keep you and your ride dry. It’s better to ride after the downpour as this would have washed away any oil or fuel spills on the road.

13. Be wary of puddles on potholes or much more an uncovered manhole. This shouldn’t be difficult if you are on your regular commute route.

14. Testimonies on crossing floods with your Px are plenty. I know of several Px owners who have and do cross flooded streets with their Px. The consensus on this matter is that the water to be crossed should not be higher than the floorboard. So anything lower such as tire height should be a walk in the park, in this case a wade in flooded streets. IF you really must cross a flooded street. Make sure there is no current or it is minimal if any at all to allow you to control your Px safely. Make sure that you will be able to cross it before the water rises beyond your floorboards. Make sure you are familiar with the conditions of the road, a pothole/manhole can make what seems like shallow flooding actually be dangerously deep. You need to be in 1st gear, with a constant throttle, with the water not higher than your floorboard. Some recommend following a car and follow its tire path as water would have cleared somewhat. I sorta disagree with this because in the event the car stops, I might have to change throttle control. My advice on this matter, find a different route that is not flooded. Go back to advice number 12. When you sit out a strong downpour and get back on the saddle when the rain has stopped, chances are the concomitant flooding has also receded. The flood controls of main Metro Manila thoroughfares have improved dramatically these past few years so much so that any flooding recedes once the rains have stopped.