Dakar legend Simon Pavey's tips for riding in the rain and through deep water

If you’ve been out riding recently and come face-to-face with a treacherous looking stream across the road, what do you do? We spoke to Off-road hero and Dakar legend, Simon Pavey, who gave us his guidance on how to ride in the current miserable weather conditions and how to tackle deep or murky water.

Read Simon Pavey's tips on how to ride in the rain and through deep water

Over the festive and New Year period large areas of the country were hit with a deluge of wind and rain leaving acres of land under water and many road networks disrupted.  So if it’s absolutely necessary to ride your bike in the conditions experienced over the recent weeks then read on for Simon’s advice.

The 49-year old Australian has entered the Dakar Rally on eleven occasions since 1998, including 2006 when he also tutored TV star and adventurer Charley Boorman.  Simon now runs the BMW Off-Road School in Wales which includes one lesson dedicated to draining the bike’s engine of water.

He said, “Flooding and deep water can definitely be incredibly dangerous, it doesn’t take much side current to unbalance a bike. From my experience, if the water is above knee height then avoid riding through it.” 

His top tips for riding in wet conditions or when faced with water flowing across your path are:

  • Start with good kit. You can still enjoy riding in all types weather so long as you’ve got good kit, I think the phrase is “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear”
  • Wear plenty of layers, it’s imperative that you stay dry
  • Be respectful of the water, there’s no shame in testing the water you’re about to cross first, especially if it’s murky
  • Get off the bike and have a walk through (if you’ve got waterproof boots!) or get your pillion to do so
  • Examine the depth of the water; it could be 6 inches, it could be 2 feet. If you can’t see then you don’t know
  • Check where the edges are, you don’t want any unexpected drops or kerbs that are unsighted
  • Be sure that there aren’t potholes or debris underneath which could affect your balance of damage the bike or yourself
  • If it’s necessary and you decide to walk the bike through then do so with the engine off and make sure you are positioned upstream of the bike. It’s a safety thing, you don’t want to be downstream and lose control of the bike

BMW GS tows a fellow biker stranded in a puddle

After all, he speaks from experience but of course blames a photographer! On the launch of the BMW 1150 GS Adventure in Spain, the photographer asked him to ride through some deep water again and again but the bike washed away from under him and they floated off down-stream.