Pigs and ducks are not the only animals that like playing in puddles. Boys and girls do too, but unfortunately puddles can wreak havoc on motorcycles- especially on sand like that at Leightons farm. Thanks to the North Harbour Mini MCC we helped two large groups of kids keep mum and dad happy by keeping their gear clean and bikes clean and in full working order.
The actual feat of avoiding puddles is more of a decision than a skill, but there are a few tips that really help.
Possibly the most advanced skill is demonstrated by Hunter Hadley in this photo. Notice how he is standing. He is very low to the bike, and this is key to finding control. His head is also in front of the handlebars which means he is balanced and leading the bike while powering. It is inevitable that the bike will move around in these conditions, so this makes him the master of the situation rather than being the slave.
Also, because his legs have enough bend on them, he can control the bike through his footpegs. That gives him steering and strength, basically tying the two wheels together. For most people it is a simple case of getting their knees into the area behind the fuel tank, and their head past the handlebars while powering.
The Movement Card
As for actually avoiding the puddles, you need to be able to flow. It seems scary to be turning while powering yet it is within the reach of any rider. It pays to use the contours of the land to your advantage while doing this- the slopes formed by the edges of holes or bumps that give you something of a bank to turn with. It takes some guidance to look at the track like this at first, but trains you to see the track in a completely different light.
On the subject of vision, it is easy to get stuck into not looking ahead enough, especially through the ruts that so often form around puddles. I try to enjoy my view of a rut while still a distance away, then force my eyes to continue looking ahead as my wheels are about to enter the rut. This often makes all the difference in how you treat you brakes and throttle, making sure you don’t gas it too early and risk getting off kilter.
Most of these things really deserve a demonstration, showing you in person how what I am going on about. It certainly seemed to work for those that were there.