How to Ride Your Motorcycle All Year Longmotoplex | September 4, 2020 | 0 | Helmet , Lists , Riding , safety
If you are lucky enough to live in a state that experiences all four seasons, then you know that the transition to colder weather can be tough to navigate. While most see this as an opportunity to cuddle up by the fire and drink pumpkin spice lattes, the colder weather can bring some challenges for motorcyclists. Ice and snow can be the arch-nemesis of any rider, if unprepared. However, just because Jack Frost moves in doesn’t mean you have to park your bike until the next year. There are things you can do to stay ahead of it and remain warm, dry, and safe while you ride. We’ve got a few tips to help you do just that.
Wear the right gear
Staying warm is the most important thing when the weather gets cold. Plan ahead and wear enough layers to keep your core warm and comfortable. You are at the mercy of the wind, which can reduce temperatures drastically. Insulated socks and water-tight boots will prevent your feet from going numb which, if you’ve experienced it, can ruin a ride. Wear long underwear or something similar under waterproof pants. For your upper body something light but insulating so as not to overheat. Even though it’s cold, we still sweat, and the extra layers help you remain insulated and keep that moisture to a minimum. Wear gloves that keep you warm, but still allow movement. Some prefer to use hand warmers, others don’t, but it can be a good idea to have some on you just in case. In addition to an enclosed helmet, a scarf, buff or neck warmer will stop cold air from rushing into your jacket. Make sure to think ahead, check the weather, and dress appropriately before heading out. When we think gear it’s important to remember your most important piece of equipment- you bike. We wear boots in the winter and sneakers in the summer so why not have bike for each season…?
Take care of your motorcycle
Just like you, your bike has to be protected from the cold. Regularly check your antifreeze, to make sure it’s full and mixed properly. Colder temperatures will also reduce traction, so make sure to check tire pressure before each ride and keep your tires warm. Accelerating and decelerating quickly is the fastest way to heat your tires but simply riding will do the trick. If you feel more comfortable swapping your tires out for some winter tires, checkout our article on reading your tires to make sure you get the right fit. You’ll want to make sure you have a good wind shield that blocks you from the wind completely. This will help keep water off your helmet so you can keep your visibility and avoid wind chill. Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to stay warm, so you could invest in heated hand grips or a heated seat. They may seem a bit much at first but if you plan on taking long rides or are in an exceptionally cold area, you’ll be glad to have them. Treat your bike like your body and you’ll be able to handle any kind of weather mother nature throws at you.
Have a plan
This should go without saying, but always tell someone where you are, and where you are going. You should never leave for a long ride without someone expecting you to reach your destination or return home safely. That way if something happens, someone will know where to look. Single motorcycle accidents occur at a higher rate when wetter, colder temperatures are involved. Travel with a cell phone or radio so you can call for help should you need it. You should also have in mind a reliable motorcycle-specific towing company on hand if your bike breaks down or gets stuck. At the very least have a friend or family member with a truck (you would never want to leave your bike behind) available to pick you if up the weather becomes too much.
Some weather conditions are simply too hazardous to ride, period. Use your common sense and be smart and when it’s safe to ride and know your limits. If it starts to snow and is sticking to the road, just skip the ride altogether. Keep an eye out for salt, which can act as loose gravel greatly reducing traction. Black ice is another severe hazard that has fooled many a trained eye. It’s near impossible to see and can be catastrophic even on sunny days. Watch for shaded areas of road that act as a disguise for black ice. A little rain never hurt anyone, but don’t ride during a severe storm, especially when lightning is involved. Always check the weather conditions before traveling and use your best judgment on when it’s safe to ride.
Whatever you choose to do, just know that it is possible to get on the road year-round. When the months start to get colder don’t worry; at High Desert Moto Plex we’ve got plenty of gear to keep you on the road.