Making Cold Weather Riding An Enjoyable Experience [POLL]
Enjoyable? Sure. If you dress properly, there is no reason why you can't still get out and enjoy your motorcycle on clean, crisp Winter days. Keeping your bike on lock down when temps fall below 80 is a thing of the past and by golly if you can ride a snowmobile in December you can ride your iron sled too.
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.
I think the most crucial parts to start with are your head, neck, fingers and your chest. If you can keep your chest warm it's much easier for your body to keep the rest of your extremities warm as well. Wearing your vest on the outside of your jacket in the Winter doesn't help much unless showing off your patches is priority over staying warm. Keep the vest under your jacket and close to your chest. Vest extenders don't help much either since you want your vest to be closed in an effort to keep the wind and cold off your chest.
Your head is obviously a crucial part and my gear also encompasses my neck so I use one piece called a Balaclava. This ingenious invention comes in all shapes and sizes but I recommend spending some money on a good thick one. Not only does it fully encompass your neck but the hood pulls up over your ears and covers your full face with only your eyes exposed. You will also want to invest in a good neopreme face mask so there is no skin exposed at all. The one I use also covers my forehead. A good stocking cap or your helmet on top and a pair of goggles completes the ensemble. You want your face completely covered and sealed off so ski or riding goggles will be your best friend.
Fingers are critical as well. Let's face it, when our fingers get cold it's hard to do anything with them and when it comes to riding a motorcycle your hands are key to your survival. I start with a nice pair of winter golf gloves. I use golf gloves because they fit tight and pack a big punch in a non bulky way. (Winter golf gloves are not the golf gloves you are thinking of.) These underneath a good set of Gauntlets will also be some of the best money you'll spend.
I haven't mentioned thermals yet but you will obviously want some good ones. I start with a good set from Cabella's. Don't even think about Winter riding without them. I then throw on a short sleeve, a long sleeve and my vest.
Boots and chaps are already in your personal arsenal of clothes and wool socks will be in order. It's also a good idea to keep some good heavy trash bags with you if possible; three of them. If all else fails and you find yourself still cold with every piece of gear you own on then take a trash bag and line each of your legs (between your chaps and pants) and one as close to your chest as you can.
- Be in the right frame of mind
- Dress properly and in layers
- Use a balcalva, face mask, gauntlets and goggles
- Use professional strength undergarments
- Throw on full leathers
- Make sure all exposed skin is covered
- Use trash bags when when all else fails