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Preparing for winter riding

Posted by James Morris on Friday, March 8, 2019 Under: Guest Motorcycle Articles
If you have the alternator to power the stuff, and dealing with all the wires and thermostats doesn't get in your way... or the price tag... you can cut the layers... and invest in heated clothing... but the fact is... not that many bikes have the alternator power to run 'em... and you end up pulling the needed juice out of your battery...



I've found, here in Colorado, I ran ride just fine, with a grin on my face... wrapped up in totally 'energy free' winter motorcycle riding gear!

Once your bike is prepped and ready... and once you are dressed... how do you handle the road?

One word... Carefully and deliberately... OK... I can't add real gud... but you get the idea.

First, folks driving those four wheeled contraptions are going to be startled to see a motorcycle rolling down the road when the thermometer is bangin' down toward one digit! So you have to be extra alert... They'll do even dumber things than usual.

Second, you've got to pay extra special attention to the pavement. Cold rubber just doesn't have the traction that it has in the summer. You've got to keep your speed down... and ride with precision. Save the hot doggin' for California Summers!

You don't necessarily have to wait until the roads are 100% totally clear... but if there's much ice or snow on it, you are well advised to wait until it clears a bit more. The manufacturers just haven't perfected snow tires or chains for motorcycles yet... unless you count those wild men up north who race their bikes on frozen lakes...

... but running down the highway with those lethal lookin' spikes in your tires is my idea of pushing a good idea too far!

What you do have to do is consciously pay close attention to the road. The sand is going to get kicked into the center of the lane, or off to either side. Where you need to ride is down the 'tire tracks' as much as you can, to stay out of the slippery sand, and other road debris.

Keep your speed down on the sweepers to make sure you stay in that track and not drift into the accumulated sand on the margins of your line.

If you're rollin' along and there, in the shade of a tree or a building, is a patch of ice or snow across the road... Don't Panic! Stay away from the brakes! Keep the throttle steady. Don't accelerate, don't coast and decelerate. Just keep a steady hand. Watch your weight. Don't lean one way or the other.

If you're in a corner, you pretty much have to stand it up straight, to cross the bad spot, and then, once you're back on dry pavement, get back into the turn.

My mantra is "soft hands". Just stay smooth as you cross that, usually small, slick spot. You'll come out, on the dry side, a wiser biker.

Pay attention to your condition as you ride, mental as well as physical. If you start getting too cold, it's time to pull in for a cup of coffee and a warm up. Too cold and your reaction time as well as your basic judgment starts to freeze up, and that's not the way to enjoy winter motorcycle riding.

If you make sure your bike is ready; make sure your motorcycle riding gear is up to snuff; and make sure your head is in the right place for Winter Motorcycle Riding; you too can enjoy the giggling you'll do inside your helmet, as you witness the startled looks you'll get from the folks coming the other way, in their cars, when they spot the crazy, fool, riding a motorcycle in the winter!

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I have been riding motorcycles for over 30 years and still get a buzz every time I get on one. Enjoy the blog and ride safe. Howard.

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