Rain or shine, we RIDE! The weather in the Catskills is a little unpredictable. If it says it's going to rain, it may or it may not. If you do see a little rain coming, time your ride around radar (its 2017 and technology is rad, use it!) The good news is that we've got a huge barn where you'll be entertained, hang out, and crack a cold one all while staying dry. Our advice is be resourceful, pull over & have a coffee while you wait it out if needed, and always have a few trash bags on you to create makeshift rain gear or cover your camping equipment/clothes (hopefully you took our advice on the waterproof compression sacks) if you get caught in a down pour. This is motorcycling and "weather" you like it or not, you will eventually need to face the rain. <--- see what I did there!? Seriously.. a dad joke and a metaphor? I am on FIRE! Anywho, we asked Mike Ellis of Biltwell his top tricks & tricks on staying dry when crap weather rolls in. Read on and remember, weather changes hourly so stay up to date using accuweather.
There’s not much worse than being out on your freedom machine during an epic adventure and getting your ass handed to you by mother nature. Here’s a handful of tips to help you prepare for the rain you are bound to hit if you are on an extended 2 wheel trip.
You don’t always need rain and/or cold weather gear, but there’s only a handful of trips we’ve been on that having either wouldn’t of helped. However, it can be a hassle to load up that extra bit of gear that you may not need. The best way to make a good decision either way is to check the weather on a site like www.accuweather.com for the days you will be passing through various destinations. If there’s a slight chance of rain anywhere you are going, you are bound to find it on the bike. Remember, the more ground you cover in a day, the more the weather is likely to change on you.
For me, the things that are most important to keep dry and warm are my hands. I almost always travel with a separate set of gloves to help me out on the rough days. My feet would have to be the next priority, so I always waterproof my boots and now I’ve even stepped up to traveling with a set of booties when I have enough space in my gear bag.
So you decided to pack a 12 pack of Coors Light instead of the rain gear? No worries. Here’s a few tricks to help you out when you see the rain coming.
Once you start getting rained on, find shelter and check the weather. With any luck, it will pass soon and you will be able to wait it out. Anyone who has been rained on while riding can tell you it does not take long before you are completely soaked. Best to try and avoid it if you can.
Make due with whatever you can. Trash bags, rubber gloves and duct tape are your friends. You can find them at almost any rest stop or grocery store. Go nuts and do what it takes to keep from getting soaked.
Pro tip: Don’t forget about your luggage. You’ll be bummed when you get to your destination and want to change into something dry and discover all your shit is wet. Trash bags are cheap, wrap your gear up, too.
Setting Up Camp
Speed is of the essence here, so try and team up with someone else to get your tent up as fast as possible. Once you are done with your camp, make sure to help them as well. When bad weather hits, it’s usually windy which can make pitching a tent a struggle.
Once your camps are set up, pay attention to where you park your bike. Under shelter is obviously the best case.
If you can’t get your bike under shelter, at least make sure it is parked on a hard surface (asphalt or concrete being ideal). If you can’t find a hard surface, park it on some grass. Parking your bike on dirt during the rain can make it a bitch to get out because you might wake up to a mud puddle or it laying on the ground.
Pro Tip: Pay attention to how your helmet is sitting. Don’t turn it into a rain catcher by hanging it upside down on the bars. Also, cover your air cleaner and seat with plastic bags if they are exposed. A wet air cleaner might not allow your bike to start and a wet seat will keep your butt cold all day and may never dry out depending on the weather for the rest of your trip.
In any case, try to enjoy the experience and embrace the suffering if need be. You are lucky to be out on two wheels and on an adventure. Sometimes you have to work for it - Mike Ellis