Dense fog riding - Sportbike Forum: Sportbike Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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Dense fog riding

Central IN is under a dense fog advisory so today's ride was interesting.

I'd read in the past that people have put Rain-X on their faceshields to deal with the microscopic water droplets that cloud your vision in fog. Now that I've experienced the difficulties, its on my short list of riding maintenance. One helpful hint if you find yourself in this situation is to turn your head occassionally and let the water droplets collect and run off. I only did one side every mile or so because time was required to collect enough condensation to cause runoff. Not fun, nonetheless.

Also, I noted that I was getting cold. At 57F, its really not that bad out, but when combined with the water vapor and reasonably high speeds (55-65mph today), the chill was creeping.

I drove with brights on the entire way to improve my visibility. Passing was not an option b/c of the cagers who feel they don't need lights on; too risky.

Anyone else have some handy hints for fog riding?

One last thought was that while riding at night seems to promote "focus", that wasn't the case in the fog. I had presumed night riding focus was due to lack of sensory input, but then the same would have been true in fog, wouldn't it?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 06:17 AM
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Hi kanwisch-

All good suggestions in your post. In my experience I've found using the LOW BEAMS is superior in fog conditions because it results in less reflected light shining back into my face. The only disadvantage is that you're reducing the amount of light that you're projecting to allow others to see you and the motorcycle.

A shield tinted in vermillion, amber, or light grey would help to pierce the scattered UV and flatlight conditions...which are tricks I've learned from years of skiing. Just make certain you're NOT using polarized lenses if there is any possibility of ice because a polarized lens reduces the "shimmer" from ice or water.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 06:45 AM
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Originally posted by Blue Jays
Hi kanwisch-
...using the LOW BEAMS is superior in fog conditions because it results in less reflected light shining back into my face. The only disadvantage is that you're reducing the amount of light that you're projecting to allow others to see you and the motorcycle.
Using the low beams is what they teach you in driver's ed for that very reason. It is also the reason that fog lights are mounted very low on a vechile that has them. The low beams don't actually produce less light than the high beams (or brights as many call them). It's all in the aim. Low beams are projected down and to the right while high beams are projected more or less straight ahead. That's done to prevent your light from blinding oncoming traffic, but still lighting the road in front of you.

Don't worry about your visibility to others with the low beams. You're probably more visible with those for the very same reason: less light is being reflected back.

It's ironic that this topic came up today, because I got caught in some pretty dense fog riding home from work this morning at 5:30. First time I've been in fog that bad on the bike and I had a helluva time keeping my visor clear. I'll have to try the rain-x and turning your head to the side tricks next time it happens. I was also quite wet by the time I got home, especially my thighs from hugging the tank.

I should have followed my instincts and turned around when I headed out last night and wisps of fog were already rising. Oh well, live and learn.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 08:23 AM
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The worst I ever ran into was near San Francisco (big surprise). A few times I almost couldn't see past the front of the bike! In those cases I would stop if possible, but at the very least I slowed down quite a bit and turned my head from time to time. Every once in a while I'd use my gloves to wipe away the water. Overall it's wasn't too big of a deal, just takes longer to get where you're going. I never tried the rain-x thing though. I got pretty good at being able to tell when there would be fog, and on those days I took the cage. It's not impossible to ride in fog, but it's certainly not much fun, I now I just avoid it if possible.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 12:27 PM
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I'm faced with fog fairly regularly, from small, heavy patches to very dense, long stretches.

As has been discussed, low beams are the right choice. I also turn my head to let the drops gather and run off or just use the back of my index finger. (I've actually seen gloves with a rubber strip on the back of the index finger, but haven't tried them.)

To further improve my visibility to motorists behind me, I continually tap my front brake with just one finger... enough to make the brake light flash, but not enough for the pads to grab.

Also, be aware that the road, your tyres and brakes will be wet, even if only lightly.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-21-2005, 11:31 PM
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There is also Fog-X, which is made by the same company that makes Rain-X. I think Rain-X works great for car windshields or the sheild on your helmet, but Fog-X is worthless. I would apply Fog-X to the inside of my shield, but it did not prevent fog.

I know the fog you are speaking about is different than the fog created when it's cold outside your helmet and your warm face/breath creates fog on the inside of your shield, but just adding my

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