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Cold Weather Riding

Someone asked me the other day, “Barnes, why in the world do you ride when temps are below 40.”   I pondered his question for about 2 seconds and then replied with… 

…’because I want to.’  I really got to thinking about why it is I make a concious decision to throw on some leather and go riding when it’s 34 degree’s outside and the real answer is that’s the moment I truly feel alive.  Now I now it sounds cliche` and we’ve all heard it but until you are in that moment, whatever it is for you, it’s just hard to explain.  It really has nothing to do with the fact that I know I am the only one on the road riding but rather just affirms my love or riding.  After all, when you log 21,000+ miles a year your gonna have to do some riding in weather that’s just not perfect.

Coming home from Sinks CanyonI told this fella that people snowmobile ‘for fun’ so what’s the difference?  Cold is cold and if you have the proper gear and equipment you can ride in just about anything; except black ice and then your just asking for trouble. Heck, it’s not even cold yet, I still have gear left to get out.  Extreme weather riding is not for the faint of heart but for those of you who do it, it gets the heart racing and puts you in a place others aren’t spiritually; regardless of being religious or not.  The picture to the right features Kenny and Nancy Oldson on our way home from a trip up to Sinks Canyon in Wyoming.  The weather turned extremely cold and then poured rain for the last 30 miles into FoCo but as you can see, you adapt and ride on.  If you are going to venture out in the extreme cold keep in mind a few things:

  • Be in the right frame of mind
  • Dress properly and in layers
  • Use full face mask and gauntlets if 30 or below
  • Use professional strength undergarments
  • Throw on full leathers
  • Use full ski goggles to keep face completely covered

If you use some common sense, riding in the winter can be a very enjoyable experience.    Most nights I leave from work around 7 and with temps at 30 a 70mph ride home has a wind chill factor of about -10 but if done correctly it will feel about 60.  And no, I don’t use electric gloves, liners etc…what’s the fun in that!

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