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Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips

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Riding in the cold weather can be very dangerous. When you are very cold, you can start shivering, get confused, suffer from memory loss, and become exhausted. Also, it can cause you to have low energy or slow reaction times. The cold weather can also cause your joints to become stiff and sore. All of these conditions can make riding very dangerous to the rider and the other people on the road. There is nothing tough or macho about riding in the cold and potentially getting hypothermia or frostbite. When it is very cold, riders need to worry about black ice.

Riding is much smarter to do when it is warm out. You are more alert and better able to deal with an emergency situation should one arise.

However, If you find that you absolutely must ride during the winter months, there are a few tips that you can follow to stay warm, safe, and comfortable when riding.

11 Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips

Tips for motorcycle riding in winter

#1 Underwear

Most outdoor outfitter ad motorcycle stores have a variety of thermal underwear that are very effective, and are not too thick to limit your range of motion due to the bulkiness. If you are looking for a good place to find underwear, check The Oxford ChillOut.. They have a variety of cold weather gear, including long underwear, balacivas, glove liners, knee warmers, neck tubes, and socks.

#2 Gear Up

You don't need to be wearing bulky jackets in order to stay warm while riding in the winter. Today's gear has materials that will keep you warm. If you can find good quality textile gear, it will keep you warmer than leather. Leather is great for keeping the wind out, however, it can get very cold and stiff. This is not a problem with textile gear. Be sure that the sleeves, neck, and ankles can be closed to keep the wind out. You should also wear a neck warmer to keep the wind from blowing down your back.

#3 Extremities

Regardless of how warm your jacket and pants are, if you extremities are cold, you will not be able to work the levers on the bike properly. You should have a pair of good quality winter gloves. You should also wear wool socks. These will keep your fingers and your toes from getting numb. Even if your gloves are thick, it does not mean that they are warm. If you want to be sure that the gloves that you purchase will be warm, you need to be willing to spend a bit more money.

#4 Wind Chill

The wind chill can be a huge factor when you are riding. Estimating the wind chill factor would require you to perform a complex calculation, involving the temperature and the wind speed. If the temperature is 0 degrees, and you are going down the highway at 100 km per hour, the temperature will feel like -17.4 degrees. The best thing that you can do at that point is to get off the road. If this isn't a possibility, there are a few things that you can do to protect yourself. First, tuck your legs into the tank. Next, crouch down a bit to protect yourself from the wind. Finally, slow down a bit. There are also a few bike modifications that you can make like adding a detachable windscreen or hand-guards, such as Barkbuster BBZ-01 shrouds.

#5 Bike Mods

If you have the money to spend and plan to be doing a great deal of winter driving, you should add heated grips, seats, and foot warmer to your bike. These additions will draw power from the battery, therefore, you may need an alternator or battery boost. Bring along the necessary equipment and gear in your pull behind motorcycle trailer. 

#6 Stop Often

If you are riding in sub zero temperatures, it is important to stop often. This will keep your fingers and toes from becoming numb, which can be very dangerous to you and other drivers on the road. When you stop, get a hot drink or warm your hands and feet with a restroom hand dryer. If you start shivering, stop for a bit and walk around. As your blood starts pumping, the shivering should subside.

#7 Stay Dry

Any type of moisture can soak your clothing, even a fine mist. When your clothes are wet, you can feel 100 times colder. It is a good idea to wear a waterproof layer or at least spray your gear with water repellent.

#8 Hydrate

When it is very hot out, you get more thirsty and drink more. When you are cold, you will not feel thirsty, so you don't drink enough. Becoming dehydrated can lead to fatigue. Even if you are not thirsty, it is still important to stay hydrated.

#9 Fatigue

As mentioned above, you should stay hydrated to avoid fatigue. You should also avoid spicy food and alcohol. They will also cause you to feel fatigued.

#10 Avoid Alcohol and Coffee

While alcohol and coffee can make you feel like they are warming your insides when they go down, they can be more dangerous in the cold. The alcohol and the caffeine can increase the blood flow, which will make you feel warmer, but it is actually causing your body to lose heat. Also, alcohol can affect your judgment, which can already be impaired by the bitter cold weather.

#11 Eat

When you get very cold and begin to shiver to create internal heat, and your metabolism can begin to slow down. When you eat right, your body will stay warm while it heats up to burn calories. You should eat foods that are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and food that can boost your immune system to fight off the cold. You should eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates, such as soup, fruit, and foods containing ginger. While a hot meal will warm you more, cold food is just as good. As long as you are eating something nutritional you will stay warm. 

Winter riding can be very enjoyable. Similar to riding on a fall color tour, those once traveled roads can have new life and a new look to them in the fresh snow.

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