Braving the elements this season? Tops tips for winter riding
With the cold mornings drawing in you may well have noticed more cars on the road causing more and more congestion and difficulties with parking.
This is due to the increase of people changing their daily commute from walking, cycling or taking public transport and instead opting for the warm comfort of their cars.
This, and the weather itself, can cause many difficulties and fears for motorbike riders during the winter months.
If you are more than a fair weather rider, or intend to brace the elements for the first time, please take note.
Clothing for winter riding
Just as you would with a winter wardrobe, it is time to update your riding gear!
It is important to ensure you are warm while riding. Being too cold whilst riding can lead to a number of unpleasant possibilities both for you and other road users.
The cold can lead to confusion, memory loss, drowsiness and slow reaction times. None of which are advisable whilst riding a motorcycle.
In order to prevent these symptoms, it is recommended that you invest in the following:
- thermal underwear
- quality textile gear – often warmer than leather
- motorcycle gloves
- water proofs
- motorcycle boots
Be seen by other road users
Although this is true for all year round, it is particularly important in the coming months where the daylight hours are less and even then, the days are darker, mistier, wetter.
Increasing your reflective gear and ensuring your headlight is on at all times (if not automatic) can do no harm to ensure you are there to be seen by other road users.
The Bike: Accessories to stay warm
There are many accessories that can be purchased to help you stay safe and warm during winter riding.
- Invest in a fairing – the bigger the better!
- A screen - even a small screen makes a noticeable difference as the key is reducing the speed at which the wind is hitting you!
- Hand guards – also for reducing the wind pressure
- Heated grip and/or seats - this is one to consider if you are investing in a new bike for the winter months!
It is crucial to respect and understand changes in road conditions at this time of year, whether it's rain falling on the road, accumulating with grease and oil to treacherous black ice causing many hazards.
On that basis the best option it to take it easy! The tyres of your bike will find it more difficult to grip on wet and icy roads and you will more often than not be faced with cold winds and rain as you ride along.
Take as much care as possible and ride to the road and weather conditions you are faced with.
Hydrate and eat well
Particularly if you are intending a long ride it is sensible to factor in some planned stops to warm up and fuel up!
Lack of water and food can lead to fatigue and being more aware of the cold. Staying alert when riding in these conditions is vital!