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How to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain (Even if You’re a Princess)

Riding a motorcycle in the rain brings out most people’s Inner Princess.

Actually, mine is never that far from the surface, let’s face it.
But when I’m sitting on a motorcycle and the heavens open…
well, look out.

Here comes Her Majesty…

Now, of course, motorcyclists are always at the complete mercy of the weather gods.
The gods are totally whimsical. They like to shake things up for fun.

And here in New Zealand, the weather can change in mere minutes.
It doesn’t matter what season it is.

Down at this end of the world, motorcycle rides can be:

🌧️  rainy
☀️  scorchingly hot
❄️  freezing
🌬️  windy
☃️  snowy
☁️  cloudy
⚡  stormy

— all on the same afternoon.
(Yep, we’ve ridden home from a motorcycle rally in high summer — and it actually started to snow.)

Wait – is that Santa? What season is this?


Santa will ride a motorcycle in the rain


Can you ride a motorcycle in the rain — and still enjoy it?

You absolutely can, but not if you’re being a princess.
Instead of sulking, you need to embrace being a moving part of the landscape you’re riding through.

Riding a Motorcycle in the Rain Can Cause Tantrums

The first few times I got drenched to the skin sitting on the back of the motorcycle, it ruined my whole day.
(And the hubby’s, of course. You’d better believe it.)

I became part princess, part spoiled 3 year old.
I sulked. I pouted. I wanted to go home.

How embarrassing.
And eventually, I realised the problem wasn’t the weather.
It was me.

After my 250th tantrum in the rain on the back of a motorcycle, I had a Moment.

I finally understood.

I can’t control the weather.
But I can control my attitude.
I don’t have to be a total princess every time it rains.

And so now, I try and go with the flow.
Sometimes literally — there’s a lot of water here in New Zealand.


ride a motorcycle in the rain - it's like swimming

Motorcycle Riding in the Rain is Part of The Deal

These days, if it starts to rain and we’re out on the bike, I don’t fall to the ground kicking and screaming.
Instead, I pull on my Big Girl Panties, and deal with the realities of riding a motorcycle.

It’s not like travelling by horse-drawn carriage, where the driver politely says “We’ve arrived, milady,” and I smile graciously while smoothing my rustling taffeta skirts.

Motorcycling is a raw experience.
It’s real.
It brings all your senses alive as you roar through the world on the back of a wild metal beast.

And yes, you’ll get sunburned, buffeted by the wind, and rained on in the process.

There’s nothing I can do about that.
And becoming a pouty princess doesn’t fix anything either.


motorcycle riding in the rain without a crown (1)

Motorcycle Riding in the Rain is More Fun When You Leave Your Crown Behind

Just the other day, I got the chance to practice my new grownup approach.

It was late morning, sunny and still.
Pat and I glanced up at the sky, which was cloudless, and a bright, clear blue.

We looked at each other and shouted: RIDE!

Pat rolled our long silver Triumph Thunderbird out of the garage, and we climbed aboard.

Roaring through the green hills of the New Zealand countryside, conditions were perfect.
The engine purred under us, hawks soared overhead, and we were headed for our favourite little café in the middle of nowhere.

These are the magical moments that riding a motorcycle as a couple offers — you’ve zoomed together through a portal into another world.


motorcycle riding in the rain - yep it's fun


Arriving at our biker-friendly café, we piled our riding gear up on the grass, and relaxed at a wooden table in the shade of an apple tree.

We were free and happy: sampling a range of home made pastries, and feeling lucky to be alive.

It was only when we were gearing up again for the ride home that I glanced up at the enormous open sky.

Wait a minute.
It had turned from bright blue to charcoal grey.
And it was getting darker as I watched.

That could only mean one thing, and we were 2 hours from home.

Sure enough, 10 minutes down the road, the rain began.
Just a light spattering at first, but soon it was pelting down in heavy sheets of cold water.

By the look of that dark bruised sky, it wasn’t about to stop anytime soon.
And it didn’t.
It rained solidly for the next two hours — all the way home.


motorcycle riding in the rain is ok


I sighed, and hunkered down behind Pat.

But I was grinning like a maniac.
A princess would’ve thrown her crown on the ground, stamped her little feet, and called for her horse-drawn carriage.

And when I was back in my princess persona, so would I.
In fact, I would’ve:

  • scowled at the grey, water-logged landscape from inside my helmet
  • waited for the cold droplets to start dripping into my royal gloves, and
  • fumed that my expensive riding jeans were getting covered in mud.

But now, in my post-princess phase, I can laugh, and say: whatever.

Because I was in the middle of having a perfect day.

And OK, yes, it was raining.
Naturally enough, we didn’t bring any wet weather gear.
And we were in the process of getting thoroughly soaked.

So what? That’s not fatal.

When you’re hell bent on enjoying yourself instead of sulking when everything’s not perfect, riding a motorcycle in the rain can be part of the fun.


motorcycle riding in the rain - forget the crown

I don’t want to miss any motorcycle rides — rain or shine!

Now I’ve ditched my glittering crown, I don’t panic when I see raindrops splashing on my helmet visor.

I love seeing the landscape change colour in the different light.
It’s a dramatic live show brought directly to me by nature.

If I wanted to be perfectly comfortable and protected from every drop of rain, I could’ve just settled back on my golden throne in my palace.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Sure, bring wet weather gear if it looks like you might be riding your motorcycle in the rain.

But whether you have waterproof gear with you or not, if it starts to rain, look up at the sky, and smile.

You’re on an adventure, with nature for company.
Riding a motorcycle in the rain is better than not riding at all.

And in any case, you can’t wear a crown and a motorcycle helmet at the same time.

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    Got soaked on a trip last November. Even with WW gear on. Had no choice really – we were on a trip and had to get from A to B. Included a bus coming the other way, going thru a puddle as it passed me and “SPLAT”, a wall of water right in the kisser! Meh, just get on with it. Yes, it’s soggy, No, it isn’t nice, oh well, that’s how it is. We rocked up at our accommodation, stripped, hung everything up, cranked up the heating to tropical, grabbed a brolly from Reception and headed out to a very nice dinner, which included a pleasant interlude in a local pub, listening to the locals play folk music at their monthly meet up. Surprisingly, pretty much everything was dry by the next morning except my boots, which took a few days 🙂 It’s all part of the fun. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

      Know that feeling, Mandy! Doesn’t matter in the end though, as long as you arrive safely. Mud washes off!

    Riding in the rain is just apart of riding. I ride 365 and live in BC Canada, rain is expected after September until spring… If you let the rain stop you… Then you’re riding season is over.

    You learn so much when you do not let the elements dictate when and where and how you go. After all… That is what gear is designed for… To keep the elements off your skin… And if you don’t like the rain… I suggest a car… A big one!

    Lessons are to be learned in the rain, skills improve, attention to detail improved…and there is a time when you feel like it’s not even raining.., you forget the weather… At least I do… But then again… There is a small percentage of us out there that riding is more than a hobby, it’s just the way it is… It’s so much more …

      Love your attitude, Laura; it took me while to get there! It’s the same here in New Zealand – if you wait for the perfect day with not a cloud in the sky, you’ll get out on the bike twice a year if you’re lucky!

    Would you be kind enough to please write another version directed towards men with beards, skinny jeans and checkered shirts.
    Or men wearing black leather jackets, black leather jeans and black leather vests; with or without club patches.
    And men who must ride in groups.
    And, well, perhaps you could make a film Mandy and shame the rest of the biker community who just prefer to polish & visit the dealership. When it’s sunny!
    Loved the story of your conversion 🙂

    Hahaha, I’ll work on that for you, Derek. Actually I should write something about riding in groups – it can quickly turn into an ego-driven racetrack I’ve found. With plenty of stops at pubs along the way – not exactly perfect riding conditions either!

    It;s an awful thing to be stuck when riding a motorcycle in the rain: my advice, pack light, You never know when the weather takes a bad turn!

      You’re right, Miller – it’s not always that comfortable, but it’s helpful if you have the right gear! Thanks for your comment.

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