Motorcycles are cool to look at and fun to ride, but they can be tedious to ride when temperatures drop. You can’t warm up a bike like you can a car, and heated motorcycle seats don’t protect most of your body from cold winds. With no layers of sheet metal around you, you’re also exposed to sleet and snow. Riding a motorcycle in cold weather can be a nuisance at best and potentially dangerous at worst. If a motorcycle is your only transportation option, here are three ways to weather the cold weather.
1. Wear clothing when riding a motorcycle in cold weather
Staying warm should be your number one priority when riding a motorcycle in cold weather, so wear layers. Start with a moisture-wicking fabric as a base layer that will prevent you from sweating too much. Nylon and polyester shirts are among the most breathable pieces of clothing.
You also need a warm mid-layer that locks in heat against the body, ideally made from 100% cotton or wool. Your outer layer should be a heavy coat or jacket that will keep your body dry in snow or rain. A leather jacket lined with lambskin or wool is an excellent protection against the cold.
You can also wear a heated motorcycle jacket for extra comfort. These jackets are often lightweight and water-repellent; You can also set the temperature. Some motorsport clothing companies even carry heated motorcycle pants.
A motorcycle helmet is essential in winter, but there should also be enough neck protection. Instead of using a scarf, consider wearing a neck gaiter or balaclava – they’re less bulky than a scarf and won’t fly away in high winds.
Some winter days are milder, so you can wear less if you like. Still, wear your three core layers in case the weather turns bad. Store clothing items in motorcycle tail bags (which are relatively inexpensive) for easy access.
2. Wear winter motorcycle gloves when riding in cold weather
A pair of lightweight motorcycle gloves is not enough to protect your hands from near-freezing temperatures. You need a thick pair that can withstand rain and doesn’t restrict the movement of your hands. Gore-Tex gloves with improved grip and wind protection are popular with bikers.
Heated motorcycle gloves are also available, although they cost more than standard gloves. Gloves lined with fleece or similar material may also suffice. If your gloves don’t have a liner, you can wear glove liners for another layer of warmth, suggests Erie Insurance.
It is also important to protect your feet. With frozen toes, you’re going to have a hard time keeping your balance on your bike. So put on a thick pair of socks made of wool or durable, waterproof fabric.
Also wear winter boots. Tall boots are preferable as they provide extra insulation for your lower legs. A rechargeable heated pair is another good option.
3. Don’t forget to hydrate
Water keeps you cool in hot climates, but also helps you retain body heat in cold weather. In fact, drinking ice cold water causes your body temperature to rise faster. If drinking cold water doesn’t sound tempting in winter, warm tea is a good alternative.
Also, properly stimulating your metabolism with food while riding a motorcycle in cold weather will keep you as warm as possible. Slow-digesting foods like beef jerky, oatmeal, and bananas are the best snacks to fuel you on cold rides.
However, remember that shifts and eating right can only help so much. Motorcycles weigh much less than cars, so they are more likely to slip on ice. Try not to ride your motorcycle in freezing temperatures unless necessary.
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