There is little that can keep diehard motorcycle riding fans from mounting up on their bikes and going for a joy ride. But hazardous winter weather such as snow, sleet, and ice can keep even the most enthusiastic riders from taking their motorbikes out.
If you’re tempted to give riding in the winter a whirl, here are a few tips and tricks to keep yourself warm and safe while riding a motorcycle during the bitter months.
Keep It Slow
This may seem like a no-brainer to most people, but bikers always seem to be in a hurry – that’s one of the things that keeps riding fun. But in colder weather, you need to be extra-easy with your throttle and refrain from doing anything too suddenly, including accelerating, shifting, braking, swerving, and cornering. The slow-and-steady skills you learn while riding in the winter season will come in handy when spring and summer finally roll around.
Gear Up and Layer Up
Riding a motorcycle isn’t anything like driving a car. You don’t get the luxury of heat or being protected by four walls around you. To stay comfortable during cold weather rides, it’s critical to select the proper gear. And it’s all about layering. Base layers are vital. They enable our skin to breathe and wick away any moisture that can occur from sweating, keeping your body dry.
The outer gear you select to wear is equally as important. It should be weather resistant, including for wind and water. Don’t forget your neck warmer, as well as a tightly sealed helmet with a fog free face-shield.
Prep Your Bike for Winter Rides
It’s essential to winterize your motorcycle before you take it for a spin in the cold. The basics for prepping your bike for winter includes getting a large windscreen and hand-guards. If your motorcycle is water-cooled, ensure that the antifreeze is fresh and mixed correctly. Also, take a look at your hoses to make sure they’re in good condition too. Nothing can be more inconvenient than a broken hose when you’re miles away from home.
Cold Tires Equate to Less Traction
We’re assuming that you only ride on good tires. Good tires, under typical conditions, will heat up after you scoot around for a bit. This results in tighter traction and helps you to better control your machine. In cold weather, your tires won’t gather as much, if any, heat, making it much tougher to stop.
Learn About Wind Chill
A thermometer will tell you the temperature outside, but it doesn’t factor in wind chill. This is what the temperature will “feel like” and takes into account factors such as wind strength, air temperature, and relative humidity.
For riders, wind strength is important to know about. If you’re traveling at 30 MPH the ambient temperature may be around 35 degrees, but the wind chill can be around 20 degrees.
Do Not Attempt to Ride if it’s Snowing
When a snow storm strikes, your visibility is reduced to almost nothing. If you’re stuck out in the cold, you can either choose to tough it out and ride home through the blizzard, traveling at 5 MPH and dodging distraught drivers and black ice, or you can find the closest place to take shelter and wait it out. Neither sounds fun, does it? So if snow is in the forecast, pick another day to ride.
Watch Out for Salt and Black Ice
Running over black ice or large salt clumps and loosing control of your bike is a nightmarish scenario. Always be proactive while riding during the winter and be on the look out for salt and black ice.
Maintain a Safe Following Distance
If you ride in the cold months, always increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. Tailgating a car in the winter is not only stupid, it’s dangerous.
Having a Motorcycle Tow Service
If your bike does happen to break down during a winter ride, having a motorcycle-specific towing service handy is vital to get you out of a tough spot.
When You’re in a Motorcycle Accident
Despite all of the safety precautions you can take, an accident might happen that is no fault of your own. If you get injured due to another person’s negligence, you may need a lawyer.
Finding the right personal injury lawyer is imperative in order to get the financial compensation you need and deserve.
If you want to know your legal rights when it comes to a motorcycle accident, contact a personal injury attorney right away.
Winter riding can be thrilling, but it can also be dangerous. Follow these aforementioned tips to guarantee you stay safe.