10 TIPS FOR RIDING IN WINTER
We love winters for the sole reason that it brings the holiday season with it. Which means that you get about a week on undisturbed riding time. However, winters also mean that you have to change your outlook towards riding since it is very different from riding in any other season. If you are taking winters lightly, here’s a video to change your perspective:
Now that you believe us, here are tips that you should keep in mind, while riding in winters:
1. Protect yourself from the Wind
Wind is a bigger enemy than the temperature. While riding, your body feels much colder than the temperature outside due to an effect called wind chill. Wind-chill is the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air. Wind chill numbers are always lower than the air temperature and hence even if you feel comfortable in your warm clothes while you are still, you are bound to feel chilly while riding.
You need to protect every part of your body from this treacherous wind.
2. Don’t Forget the Gloves
A lot of riders feel that gloves are a hindrance to their riding experience. While, you could rake in a few kilometers in summer without gloves, its simply impossible to do it in winters. Invest your money in good quality gloves that are not just warm but also protect you from the wind. Leather is a good option as it does both of these, without becoming bulky. If its too cold, you could also wear an inner liner and then put on the gloves.
3. Layer Up
Layering is a great way of keeping warm. Wearing 2 thin layers of clothing is better than wearing one fat layer. This is because the layers help in trapping the heat and hence keeps your body insulated from the chill outside.
Wear at least three layers on the upper body and two layers in the lower body. Warmers are a great option for layering up without looking bulky.
4. Do not expose any skin
Any exposed skin while riding, will become a path for the chill to creep in. Hence it is extremely important to keep yourself completely covered from head to toe.
5. Helmet Usage
A lot of riders don’t prefer the full faced helmet for many reasons. However, winters is when riders understand that full faced helmets not only provides more protection, it also guards the face from the wind blast.
The visor of the helmet tends to fog up and you should provide enough windflow to avoid it. Most helmets have grooves at the bottom of the visor and on the top of the helmet. This is to allow wind flow without the wind hitting the face directly. Be sure to keep it open while riding.
You should also wear a balaclava. This will not only act as a shield from the wind, but will also help in reducing the fog inside the helmet.
6. Wake up your Motorcycle
You know the feeling when it becomes difficult to wake up in the morning. You always need a few minutes to come to terms with the environment.
During winters, your motorcycle feels the same way, since you left it in the cold while you sipped coffee in the comfort of your blanket. The good part is that your bike can generate its own heat. All you need to do is give it sometime to wake up, get heated and you are ready to go.
7. Increase Visibility
There is something disturbing about one car being occupied by one person. The world would be a better place if our friends in cars, would pool in or better begin riding. More cars not only leads to slower traffic, it also causes more pollution that in turn leads to winter fogs.
Hence the importance of being visible increases in winters. To become more visible, you should keep the following pointers in mind:
- Install reflectors on all sides of the motorcycle and your riding gear.
- Avoid wearing black since it is difficult to spot in less visibility
- Ride in Low Beam: High beam is reflected back by the fog and hence it reduces your visibility
- Use the road lanes for reference
8. If it gets difficult, get home
As much as one may prepare for the ride, it is possible that it is jut too cold to ride. At this time, there is nothing cool about riding and you should get home or avoid riding at all. This is specially true if it snows in your city.
9. Avoid Alcohol
A lot of people feel that a few shots of their favorite whisky will make them warm and make it easier to ride and they couldn’t be more wrong. While Alcohol provides a sudden rush of warmth, it increases the blood flow to the skin that causes the warmth but you also lose heat to the environment faster. This combined with the dangerous loss in judgment is a strict no, specially in winters.
10. Park your motorcycle well
You should try and park your motorcycle in a closed area. For those of us, who are not as lucky, should keep their loved bikes under covers during winters. The mist at night will come on the bike if left uncovered. Not only will this make for a wet winter seat, if left unattended the water can get to places and cause corrosion to parts. You need a blanket and so does your motorcycle.