BETTER BIKING: RIDING IN WINTER
I've said it before and I'll say it again – I'm the most dreadful fair-weather biker who likes nothing better than a toasty car interior when the cold closes in. However, for many bikers, winter riding is a necessity, so here are some tips to help you make the most of the cold season.
Be seen. Let's face it, High-vis will never be sexy. But with the daylight hours dwindling and dim-witted drivers ever more common, being as visible as possible can't be a bad thing. Increased visibility also allows you extra time to react to any potential threat; even more important when traction is limited on icy roads.
See! As temperatures fall, the dreaded visor fog becomes a potentially lethal hazard. A mask like the Respro Foggy will stop your breath reaching your visor easily. In compatible helmets you could fit a Pinlock system with an inner visor. There are a few sprays available that claim to combat fogging but exercise caution – they can damage certain specialist plastics used in motorcycle helmets and visors.
HOW TO RIDE A MOTOR BIKE IN WINTER
Stay warm. Although there are plenty of expensive electric heated pants and the like on the market, but the simplest solution is knowing how to use layers. Start with base layers (full leg, full sleeve) that allow your skin to breath. A zip-up fleece with a collar is a useful addition. Waterproofs are a must and many experienced riders swear by Gore-Tex. Consider investing in a decent pair of gloves with visor wiping facility and think like a skier – put your jacket over them for true waterproofing. On longer journeys, keep your body temperature up by moving on the bike. At traffic lights don't be afraid to shake it all about.
Salt and Snow. The bane of riders everywhere. Road salt or 'grit' is a mortal enemy to metal so wash your bike thoroughly with cool water often. Don't use hot water as this will accelerate corrosion. Salt and snow are also bad for traction. Increase your follow distance and decrease your speed.
But most of all – stay safe and stay upright!