With record-breaking single-day precipitation in the forecast lately, warmer weather springs up in double digits at times. Yes, we have broken the record for the most millimetres of rain in one day for January. What would be more impressive is to see you out on your motorcycle today! The issue is that water removes body temperature at a higher speed than the air of the same temperature. This is no secret, especially to snowmobilers and those who ice fish. Stand around in the middle of the lake at zero degrees celsius, and you're chilly. Break that ice, and now you're fighting for your life. Motorcyclists have another factor to take into consideration; the faster they move, the colder it gets due to the wind chill factor. With the right gear, you could have been enjoying this beautiful weather that January 2020 has gifted us.
Little bucket helmets are cool and utterly pointless, but if you're an Ontario Motorcycle Outlaw or wannabe, these are a must. These helmets tell everyone how little you give a shit about your life. A full-face helmet would be a better choice while riding through this Texas low. No one likes the feeling of needles hitting your face as you ride your BMW 1200gs down the flooded DVP. Keep your helmet cracked open and use anti-fog agents such as Rain-X to keep your visor clear on the inside.
Motorcycle gloves are great for short rides to your local coffee shop. Snowboarding Gore-Tex gloves do not give much protection if you fall (trust me, I know), but they do an excellent job at keeping you dry. All those years of medical school would be wasted if it were not for the unlimited supply of surgical gloves that you now have access to. Even the best Gore-Tex gloves would not hold up to the demands of riding in this heavy rain. Wear surgical gloves as nylon shells and your hands will stay impermeable, even in the heaviest of rains.
You can spend hundreds of dollars on super-duper motorcycle boots. If you can afford these, they are probably a great buy. Make sure they are lined with a waterproof barrier such as... well, Gore-Tex, and you will stay dry for a lot longer than your average rider. Gore-Tex socks are also available at any local outdoor store. Now again, less protection if you fall, but better in terms of waterproofing is a nice old-school pair of rubber boots. This is the go-to for most cowboys in the plains of Colombia, who traded the horse for two wheels and a motor. These boots are 100% waterproof, provide excellent grip in wet pavement and mud, are reasonably light and inexpensive… unless you're fancy like my girlfriend that walks around in $200 Hunters.
My favourite jacket while riding when it's raining is my Gore-Tex Burton AK Shell. This jacket, paired with a pair of Gore-Tex snow pants, and I can stay riding even after being poured on all day. This is what I used on my wet and miserable Trans-Canada trip from Toronto to Tofino, BC. The great thing about this setup is that you can wear it on top of your motorcycle gear.
Money an issue?
Grocery Bags: inside of your shoes will keep your feet dry for prolonged periods. This works great in this weather, but I would not recommend it in the summer as your feet will sweat and wet you anyways. Ensure to keep plastic away from the exhaust and any heat produced by the bike.
Garbage Bags: Cut a hole at the top and stick your head in, now you look like a hobo. A hobo that will stay dry as they ride their $30k GS into the nimbus cloud. Very stylish poncho!
Dishwashing Gloves: Nothing says I'm broke like a pair of yellow dishwashing gloves to keep your hands dry and warm, even in the heaviest of rain.