HOW TO GUIDES
HOW TO STAY TOASTY ON A MOTORCYCLE IN WINTER - PART 3
WHAT TO WEAR AND RIDER'S TIP FOR WINTER MOTORCYCLING
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
If you can afford one piece leathers or a one piece insulated suit this will keep you warmest as there are no nooks and crannies for the cold air to get in - if you can't afford this though there are other ways to achieve warmth! Try to block up any holes which wind can get into, as riding a motorcycle at speed on a cold winter day is like standing in a force 8 gale. Thermal neck tubes are great for draught exclusion and not expensive.
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!
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
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
If you have to put leggings or trousers on but already have your boots on (in other words need to add wet weather waterproof trousers perhaps) instead of having to take your boots off, you can put a plastic bag over your boots and then your trousers will slide on over them, old uncle Tom Cobbly, the mud, bag and all, and you won't need to take your boots off - wicked!
(Boot is on the other foot - Paul & John)
* Got a handle on it
Don't grip the handlebars too tightly while you are riding as this will cut off circulation to your hands and make them colder. Stretch your hands and wiggle your fingers whenever you can - preferably not both at once while riding along though. Handy!
(Give him a big hand - Carl)
Put foam lever sleeves over your gear and brake levers for extra insulation against the cold. Some riders wrap tape round their levers but good luck getting it off next summer! Any problems with your lever sleeves and you can just cut them off!
(Where did Julius Caesar keep his armies? In his sleevies! - John)
* If your happy and you know it...
"Improve the water resistance of your textile clothing by washing as per the manufacturers instructions, this removes dirt which would otherwise allow water to penetrate the outer shell of the garment making it both heavy and cold. When the garment is dry you may wish to spray it with a water dispersal product to help keep it even more repellent.
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 blood flow. 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
The best wet weathers of all and the cheapest are fisherman's ones... designed for standing for many hours in the rain by a river, bobbing about on the high seas, also in the rain ... makes sense...
(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!
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