Cold Weather Riding

Cold Weather Riding

Winter may not be the most ideal time to ride your motorcycle, but a cold day’s ride can be exhilarating and take your mind off what’s stressing you. If the weather is mild and you want to take your bike out for a ride, prepare yourself for riding in the cold. Make sure you have winter gear, such as fleece face masks and wool socks. Here are some winter riding tips.

Know the Hazards of Riding in the Winter

Winter driving isn’t easy. Snow and ice, especially hidden ice or black ice, are very dangerous even for cars. On a motorcycle, you have to be very aware of the traffic conditions. Even on a sunny day, you could encounter ice on bridges or in shady areas. You need to stay mentally alert and pay attention to the driving conditions. Tar snakes can cause a loss of traction because they get hard and slick when the temperatures drop. Salt causes corrosion to your bike, which is one reason many riders don’t want to go out in the winter. It is also a hazard on the road because it acts like a fine coating of dust on the road, which can make you spin out. When you first start riding, give your tires time to warm up, too. Cold tires don’t have the same amount of traction as warm tires.

How The Winter Temperatures Affect Riders

Cold Weather Riding

In the summer, you have to worry about heatstroke and dehydration. Winter has its own ways to affect the driver and rider. Dress in layers so you can adjust your clothing as you need to. Remember that days are shorter, so you should start riding later and stop riding earlier to avoid riding in the dark. Pack a winter kit with a blanket, protein bar and water, just in case.

  • Cold weather can tire you out quickly. Your body has to work harder to keep you warm when the temperatures are low. Take breaks and plan for shorter rides.
  • Dry air sucks the moisture out of you. You can dehydrate quickly in cold temperatures. Make sure to stay hydrated.
  • Cold weather reduces the dexterity in your extremities. Wear insulated gloves but remember that those thick gloves can inhibit your control.
  • Cold temperatures can affect your mental acuity. Hypothermia can slow your thinking and judgment. Plan to stop and get warm so you don’t get to the danger point. Use a face mask to keep your nose, cheeks and mouth warm.

    Keep Your Equipment at Peak Performance

    Your motorcycle needs to be well-maintained for winter riding. Salt and other chemicals on the road can affect components of your bike, such as the brakes or tires. It might be wise to choose snow tires or 50-50 tires. Pay attention to fluids in your bike. Don’t ride on a low tank hoping to make it to the gas station. When something isn’t working quite right, don’t ignore it. Get it repaired so you don’t end up stranded in the cold. Check the antifreeze to make sure it is fresh and mixed properly.

    Choose the right clothing for winter gear. Layering keeps your core temperature warm with the ability to remove or add items as needed. Modern winter gear for sports isn’t bulky, but you’ll want to make sure you are protected against the elements. You might want a couple of sets of gloves and socks, in case you get wet. And don’t forget to order your fleece face masks for winter riding.

    Don’t Think You’re Immortal

    Keep an eye on the weather. If precipitation is in the forecast, get home or get to a safe location. Keep your phone charged and have a towing service on speed dial. Let your family know where you’re riding. Take some extra safety measures in the winter months just as a precaution.