It’s that time of year, the weather is reaching serious lows and we’ve even seen a bit of snow. Riding in cold weather can be hard work and very uncomfortable. Especially when you have miles to go, being cold takes the fun right out of the journey. Quite a few riders dislike riding in the cold so badly that they hang up their leathers when the winter months hit and tuck their pride and joy away.
If you would like the riding fun to continue right through the winter months to the spring, check out these points. We Buy Any Bike, the UK’s leading bike trader have created this list to help you avoid putting your motorcycle into hibernation:
1. What To Wear
Riding in temperatures below 10°C can be absolutely miserable and affect a rider’s ability.
We think it’s all about the layering. Base layers are the key to staying nice and warm, full long sleeves (and legs!) are needed. When riding we sweat, especially if you have a close call! So investing in good quality base layers is a good move, they need to keep you warm while allowing sweat to evaporate. If you get cheap material all you’ll be doing is trapping the wet which then turns cold. The level up needs to be waterproof yet breathable, a lot of riders chose Gore-Tex as it encompasses these qualities.
As well as layering correctly, some heating elements can’t hurt! For me, heated gloves in winter are a must. Fingers going numb while winter riding can be torture, pulling in the levers takes all your strength and is pretty painful. So buy good quality, thermally efficient gloves and boots. Held Freezer Gloves are great, they are water-resistant and breathable. For boots, Alpinestars are always a good bet, ultimate value for money.
2. Motorcycle Prep
Cold weather riding means your bike is facing some low temperatures and slippery surfaces. To make your time on the road safer, keep your bike serviced. Put some time aside to go through the basics of your motorbike, a few examples:
- Check tyre pressures
- Clean and lube the chain regularly
- Change the oil
- Check the anti-freeze
- Look after your battery
- Grease the joints
- Wash it – regularly
- Clean lights regularly
3. Signal and Slow
Give other road users as much notice as possible and make your intentions clear. Remember if anyone makes a mistake on the road the biker usually comes off worse, so don’t give anyone a reason to be confused by your actions. Winter conditions affect everyone, car windows can be misted up and visibility, in general, isn’t great, so keep a safe distance and STAY BACK. Don’t ride attached to the car in front! The faster you ride, the more distance there should be.
Slowing earlier is an obvious one, but it’s easy to forget that stopping distances are doubled in wet conditions. Roads are also greasy in winter, which is extremely dangerous if you don’t adjust your riding style.
4. If the weather gets bad, get home
If you’re out riding and the weather starts getting a bit dodgy, don’t risk it. Start looking at routes to get you home the fastest, avoiding problem areas. For example, it takes 2 seconds to look on your phone and see where the possible floods or road closures are, and in really bad weather you don’t want to be outside any longer then you have to. Looking at the route ahead of time will save your bacon!
As well as keeping a check on routes, look at the weather forecast. If snow is on its way, don’t chance it. Get yourself home and safe. Not saying riding in the snow isn’t fun, but snow mixed with other road users.. not sensible!