It took a while, but the rainy season seems to be here to stay for the next few months. Scared of it? Reluctant to take your bike for fear of rain showers? No reason for it, as long as you take the necessary precautions. Here are some suggestions to make your ride under the rain more enjoyable and safe.
1) Watch your brakes
With rainy conditions, using your brakes can be tricky or even dangerous depending on the circumstances. You always have to keep in mind that if the road is wet, your brakes will not be as efficient as usual and you will need to be more cautious. It is also easier to fall if you brake hard and suddenly. Use your brakes as little as possible under the rain and if you have to use them, do it slowly.
2) Avoid puddles
When there is rain or the ground is wet, sometimes it could be tempting to dip your wheels in puddles, feel like you are an adventurous Dakar rider, or a child who enjoys getting a bit dirty, but this is too risky, as you will not know how dip they are until you are in. Roads in Vietnam are not always as well maintained as we would like, and surprises are easy to happen if you don’t avoid risk. Needless to say it is even more dangerous when you go off road.
3) Know when to stop
“One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night…” This is how Forrest Gump described the rainy season in Vietnam and he couldn’t have done it any better. Sometimes it feels like someone is pouring huge buckets of water from the sky and it is pointless to keep riding under these conditions. You will barely be able to see the road and it will probably be very windy. Stop in a café and relax. Fortunately, these showers are usually as violent as short and it won’t be long before you can ride your bike again and enjoy the fresh air. If it doesn’t happen you can always consider a bus ride…
4) Be predictable
Specially if you ride in the city, it is important to ride in a predictable, not forcing other drivers to use their brakes and provoke an accident. That will require you to be very attentive and always know where you are going.
5) Protect your belongings from the water
This may sound obvious, but it is easy to forget. You might leave your house on a sunny Sunday morning and be caught by a huge rainfall after a few hours. During the next few months always be ready for the rain to come. And it can come really fast. Put your money, phone, camera, wallet inside a waterproof container. A small plastic bag inside your pocket can be good enough.