How to prepare yourself if you are going to carry on riding all winter - what to wear and lifesaving tips on how to put your trousers on - can't really explain at this stage....!
If you are intending to keep on riding your motorcycle through the winter then, if you can, you should think about investing in some really good high performance cold weather motorcycle gear. If you choose wisely it can make an enormous difference to your comfort and safety when riding in winter. If you can't afford very expensive gear though don't worry there are some things you can do on a budget which will help as well - read on for some ideas...
All in one
|...does whatever a spider can...|
Keep your head warm, it makes a huge difference. There are balaclavas on the market which are either made of cotton, silk, or man-made materials and are brilliant for keeping your head nice and warm inside your helmet. They are pretty cheap as well so for a small cash outlay you can keep a cosy noggin - this one costs £4.03 - what a snip! Specially worth considering if you are follicly challenged!
Layer it up
Thermals and layering are the obvious one as well. You can wear standard longjohns or buy more technical gear specifically designed for motorcycling with wicking material which keeps the moisture away while keeping you warm. Thermal layers are great and tend to dry quickly too which is an advantage. Warm base layers, woolly jumper, jacket and a waterproof/windproof top layer over that should provide enough nook and cranny free layers to stop the wind chill factor.
Full metal(electric) jacket
You can also invest in electric layers - nothing really beats the warmth they provide but try them out as, if they are too close to your skin, you can feel boiling and if they are too far away they are not so effective. They are quite an investment though as they are expensive so shop around and try before you buy if you are going down this route.
Waterproof outer layers are always a brilliant idea in winter as they - not surprisingly - keep the rain and snow off and keep you dry- but they also keep the wind out effectively. A bigger windshield on your motorcycle is also good protection to keep the worst of the winter rain, sleet or wind off you as you travel.
For your feet, boots and gaiters are needed with nice thermal or wool socks inside. The gaiters just provide that extra sensible bit of waterproofing to keep the rain and the freezing winds out.
Very importantly you need a really good pair of gloves as frozen hands make for a horribly uncomfortable winter. There are some great quality modern gloves on the market which are thermal and fully waterproof and you can wear inner gloves - thermal or silk - as well in case they do leak. It's always a good idea to carry a spare pair of gloves around with you in case your gloves get soaked through and then you have a pair to change into for the ride back - you will love yourself when you put the dry pair on! Muffs on the handlebars are really good for extra protection.
|One hand clapping|
Foam lever sleeves are also a great cheap investment - they can be slipped over your brake and gear levers so that your hands are more insulated from the cold metal and they only cost £1.99 a pair. This can help prevent White Finger which is a yucky circulatory thing a bit like Raynaud's disease which can happen to your fingers. It is exacerbated by vibration and cold and causes the blood to drain from your fingers leaving them white and extremely painful - women are 9 times more likely to suffer from this but anyone can get it! Obviously riding a motorcycle in winter involves uber vibration and cold wind and cold metal levers, so good hand insulation is really important - especially as you need your hands to be fully operational when you are driving a bike!
|lever sleeves - what a bargain!|
Safe and warm
It is really important to keep warm on your bike in the winter as if you are wet and cold you will feel more tired and be less 'frosty' when you need to have quick reactions. Specially when you are already riding on more hazardous roads.
Tried and tested tips:
* Making the news
|Not like this - what if it rains!!|
If you put a newspaper inside the front of your jacket it makes a surprising difference on a long cold run. It provides insulation and protection against the wind - look at the man in the picture he is just SO warm!
(All the rage in Milan - Colin)
* Putting the boot in
(Boot is on the other foot - Paul & John)
* Got a handle on it
(Give him a big hand - Carl)
(Where did Julius Caesar keep his armies? In his sleevies! - John)
* If your happy and you know it...
If your textile garments or gloves do become waterlogged allow them to dry
naturally, not on a radiator as this will wreck the waterproof membrane. An
airing cupboard is ideal. You may wish to invest in a second pair of
waterproof gloves enabling you to alternate their use.
Extreme cold will always strike at your body's extremities first, ie fingers
and toes. The key to minimising this is blood circulation. When stationary
take your hands off of the handlebars and levers allowing the blood to flow
freely, you could also flex your fingers and/or clap your hands to aid
When on long journeys in winter your greatest enemy is the cold. It will make you tired more rapidly, thus reducing your concentration. Try reducing your speed by 10-20 mph, this reduces the windchill factor dramatically. If it is actually zero degrees outside, imagine the windchill at 90mph, -30
degrees, -40 degrees?!"
"When will I see you agaaain.." - 3 Degrees
(Warm words from winter - Woody)
* Fisherman's friend
(Dry fly - Paul)
Yes these are REAL people, how clever are they? If you have any helpful tips to add please let us know - thank you!