HANDLING SPECIAL SITUATIONS: Steel Bridge Gratings and Rain Grooves
Steel-mesh bridges can be extremely unnerving. Keep an even throttle and keep the bike straight. Don’t grip the handlebars too hard. If there is a vibration in the handlebars, do not fight it. This is a natural feedback from your tires going over these thousands of little squares like metal grates.
Some parts of the country have rain grooves in the highways. They’re not very popular among motorcyclists. This is when the road surface, usual concrete, has several dozen grooves running lengthwise down each lane. The purpose of the grooves is to prevents cars and trucks from losing traction when it rains.
The reaction of the bike to these grooves often has to do with the tread pattern on the tires. Sometimes it feels as though the motorcycle is getting a flat tire, with a squishy back-and-forth sideways motion. Don’t worry, just keep going straight. Don’t fight the handlebars. There is nothing dangerous about these rain grooves – it just feels funny to ride on them.
Haul out the rain gear you’ve stored in a handy spot. Make sure your rain gloves and rain boots fit properly. Poorly fitted ones can lessen your ability to brake and shift.
Be most cautious when it first starts to rain. That is when the water goes into all the dimples in the road, and the oil residue from passing vehicles floats to the top. That gets slippery! A wise motorcyclist will stop for a cup of coffee when it starts to rain; who knows, it could all be over in 15 minutes, and you wont even have to put on the rain suit.
After a while the oil will be washed off to the side of the road. However, traction on a wet surface may not be as good as on a dry road. Be careful.
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