Riding a motorcycle is such an exhilarating and spirit-freeing activity that riders desire to do it during all times of the year. Many riders are reluctant to lock their bikes in the garage for the winter. In fact, a true motorcycle enthusiast will try to ride during rain, harsh winds and other less-than-desirable conditions. Riding a motorcycle in winter is not an impossible task. However, the rider will want to take certain precautions to ensure that he or she receives the highest level of safety. One must make some adjustments to ride a motorcycle in the wintertime safely, just as one would make adjustments in a four-wheeled vehicle. The following are some tips for traveling safely during the cold months:
Wear Layered Clothing
Wearing extra layers of clothing is the first step in protecting oneself from conditions such as hypothermia. A rider will experience temperatures that are much colder than the actual temperatures are because of the increased wind. Cold weather can cause a dangerous drop in blood circulation. Therefore, a winter rider will want to purchase protective layers of clothing. Thermal undergarments, thickly lined gloves and additional sweatshirts are good items to wear to keep the heat trapped and the body temperature up. [If you’re serious about cold weather riding, blow some cash on electric gear and you’ll never ride without it. Heated grips are luxury. Geezer]
Make Sure the Tires Are in Good Condition
Motorcycle riders have an increased risk for sliding and falling because of the loss of traction when the ground gets cold. A safe rider can protect himself or herself by purchasing specialized tires for the winter season. Manufacturers such as Midas, Dunlop and Pirelli have a line of winter studded tires for motorcycles. Alternatively, riders can perform tire warm-up exercise before riding to warm up the tread on the existing tires. Taking turns accelerating and decelerating at a fast pace can increase the amount of heat to the tires. [Unfortunately, a lot of US states are hillbilly-stupid about studs. Minnesota, for example, says, “169.72 TIRE SURFACE; METAL STUDS . . . (c) Except as provided in this section, no tire on a vehicle moved on a highway shall have on its periphery any block, stud, flange, cleat, or spike or any other protuberances of any material other than rubber which projects beyond the tread of the traction surface of the tire.” The road salt and rusted vehicle proponents own the Rust Belt and regardless of how well studs work and how much money allowing their use would save the state in salt and road clearing expense, this isn’t likely to change. G]
Increase the Following Distance
Increasing following distance in the wintertime is a smart move for motorcycle riders as well as automobile drivers. A biker will want to give himself or herself additional time to stop in an emergency. The harshest conditions require a safe following distance of approximately 20-25 seconds. Five car lengths is a good distance during poor weather conditions, as well. Additionally, motorcycle riders will want to decrease their speed during poor conditions. Being late is always better than getting into an accident is. Wintertime riders should take a deep breath and take their time getting to their destinations.
Know When to Wrap It Up
Riders have to recognize when it is time to go home. Snowfall is an indicator of such a time. Winds that are stronger than 20 MPH are not ideal for a motorcycle rider either. Continuing the fun in less-than-perfect weather conditions is acceptable, but a motorcycle rider will want to use common sense. When the snow starts to fall, it is time to go home. The rider can always go back out when the snow and ice melts a few days later.
Increasing Defensive Driving Skills
Finally, increasing one's defensive riding skills is a good way to combat dangerous situations. A Compulsory Basic Training Course [the MSF Seasoned Rider Course, the Civilian Police Motorcycle Course, Lee Parks' Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, etc. G] can provide a rider with the skills necessary to maneuver his or her bike accordingly. An experienced rider can benefit from the course, as well since there is always something additional that a person can learn. The CBT course teaches a rider about road rules, appropriate attire to wear for riding, confidence building, special motorcycle maneuvers and more. London CBT instructors can provide a wintertime rider with the skills necessary to last in the elements. Prospective riders can book their lessons using an easy online process or by making a direct call [True in the UK and the US. So, do it. G].
Author: Nida Jaffery
“At London Motorcycle Training we make learning to ride a motorcycle or scooter easy for you. We are fully authorised by the Driving Standard Agency to train you to ride and we provide full Motorcycle training and CBT courses in central London locations.
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