WINTER RIDING: FOR & AGAINST
WHICH SIDE OF THE FENCE DO YOU SIT ON?
With winter well and truly on its way, many a motorcyclist will be considering their options: do they hang up their helmets, covering their bikes over for the long sleep ahead until spring; or do they add a balaclava, cover themselves in layers and ride on through?
We have a lot of bikers here at Wemoto and a lot of varied opinions on winter riding. We asked two from our team to share their thoughts. Have a read at what they came up with, and see which side you sit on:
The reasons I continue to ride through winter are the same as the reasons why I choose to ride at all: shorter journey times, easier to filter through traffic, a far more adrenaline fuelled journey than I'd have in a car.
Of course, winter weather poses potential problems for us bikers – comfort being the immediate one that springs to mind – but I refuse to let that stop me. If you can't beat the winter, then you may as well join it, in my opinion, and motorcycling is one of the best ways I can think of to do that.
Nothing pleases me more, for example, than going down a hill on a freezing day, watching both mirrors get covered by condensation, which then gradually disappears as the bike goes back uphill again. It's the little things...
Motorcycling helps me to appreciate the change in seasons, and you don't have to feel uncomfortable just because it's cold, because: there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing! The process itself of purchasing, fitting and using my winter biking gear has become a sort of winter ritual that I now look forward to each year.
Armed with all the right comforts, as the old summer riding season ends, a new season of motorcycling begins. It might not be as pleasurable as summer riding, but at least the contrast helps me to appreciate the latter even more!
Don't get me wrong, motorcycling is a big passion of mine. I love my bike so much, in fact, that I don't want to ride it through winter... this is not for my own benefit, but because winter riding can, and does, cause damage to bikes.
Perhaps not those Northern European-built bikes, which are purpose built to withstand our climate, but those built in Japan, like mine, are going to suffer through a European winter. Subject your bike to a winter ride and you also subject it to all the elements of winter ride, including salt; all of which can cause corrosion. Yes, I probably could lace my bike with ACF 50, or some similar product, and this would certainly help to prevent corrosion – but I choose not to.
Better safe than sorry is my motto. This is also true of riding conditions, which are a lot more dangerous during winter. Frosty mornings and darker evenings both play a part in lowering your visibility on a bike. Wet and slippery roads are also potential accident risks.
I can't deny that comfort plays a part in the decision, either. It does not matter how many layers I put on, I'm still cold. And the change in wardrobe that comes with winter riding is not one that excites me.
All this in mind, you'll excuse me for saying that my winter ritual is, instead, one of preparing, cleaning and storing my bike; putting my feet up and comfortably watching the winter months roll on by, until spring.
Are you 'for' or 'against' winter riding, or do you have a different opinion entirely? Are you, perhaps a 'fair weathered winter rider'? Share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And watch this space, as we'll be sharing with you our top tips on Winter Riding and Winter Bike Storage soon on the news, so that whichever side of the fence you sit on, you can be sure you'll be sitting comfortably.
20/11/15 Everyone has to decide for themselves, I believe in riding my bike as long as I feel comfortable doing so that means for me all weathers, the first time I come to the top of the hill at lough owel and the sky is starting to lighten ahead of me it gives me a bit of a jumpstart
20/11/15 Quite short and simple winter riding Is part of my job. No I am not a despatch rider I am a blood runner. Apart from riding to and from my day job, which I enjoy. I also enjoy the night riding. The cold doesn't come into it if you dress correctly. So yes I am for winter riding.
20/11/15 I ride to work all year round. Only thing that stops me is ice/snow. Although I was caught out once by snowfall on a trip home from work but managed to stay upright. I have some heated clothing which helps in the cold! Have to change riding style to suit the conditions.
20/11/15 I ride all year round, but with a bit of common sense. If it's icy or they've been chucking salt about I take the car, but there are loads of lovely fine, mild days throughout the winter, so the bike stays insured and charged up ready for the off.
20/11/15 As soon as the salt hits the road thats it for me...cold and rain I can take but salt kills bikes, no matter how hard you try to protect it..it gets them in the end.
20/11/15 I ride all year round
20/11/15 Use to ride all year round but got my head together when i hit 58 years young . :)
20/11/15 used to ride all year round as a kid, but once I had a car as well as bike I've never seen the point, 50yrs later I'm still fair weather rider only
20/11/15 A useful skill to have. Also although primarily summer the occasional good winters day.
20/11/15 Real bikers drive all year round
20/11/15 the cold and wet don't bother me but I can't stand the salt! It kills bikes!
20/11/15 I have no car licence so I'm out all year round. Decent boots, waterproofs, heated grips and bar muffs help.
20/11/15 Not unless I can't help it
20/11/15 Ride in the winter but not as much. Ice & snow no longer "fun" Keeps my skills current Avoids that horrible April learning curve
20/11/15 ride all winter
20/11/15 I don't like them standing for months. Whenever roads are dry & salt free I ride 'em. Usually every couple of weeks or so.
20/11/15 I do keep the bike taxed year round and take it out if not icey or salty
20/11/15 All year round have ridden in snow and icy conditions now have r1100rt for winter ABS big screen and heated grips. All is good.
20/11/15 Ride when I like. Still get good days in winter, dry and not too cold.
20/11/15 The leaves were a bit slippy last month, but rain has cleaned the roads, so nice and grippy when it dried up today. I commute when snow and ice, bit I live on a bus route to work, so its always gritted well. The bikes have the scars to prove it.
20/11/15 If I had a winter hack I would ride in all weathers like before I had a car but my 12 year old cb1300 is immaculate and I like to keep it that way.
20/11/15 Ride my gsxr 1000 all year round. You're right tho the salt does get them but a right good strip down every few years. Plus i like to ride loose. Lol
20/11/15 ride all year round as well. I can ride in all weather's compared to some of my mates that get stuck if we have a downpour and don't know how to ride in the rain. A useful commodity in this country. Lol
20/11/15 All year round but I might give the snow a miss. At 62 hitting the ground hurts even more
20/11/15 i ride all year round but have a shitty winter bike.
21/11/15 same here. Coincidentally, my shitty winter bike is the same as my shitty summer bike though.....
21/11/15 to be fair my winter bike is better than my summer bike
21/11/15 Definitely all year round
21/11/15 she's a 10 year old 650. Needs a bit of TLC but after doing 2k miles a month she still delivers. She starts, stops, handles well and STILL puts a grin on my face when we lean into a corner. And to me, that's what biking is all about. The grin factor.
21/11/15 I used to ride all year round, any weather, even snow and ice. I think this enables you to learn extra skill to overcome the elements and ultimately make you a better rider. Having said that, I'm now a fine weather rider now the years are creeping on
21/11/15 I ride in the winter but Ice and snow can be a bitch and at times if I can't get out to the main roads that's when it stops me. Some times a nice dry Winter ride can be magical
21/11/15 I ride all year round just use common sense in snow and ice. Use a ratty old bike for the winter commute. Buy the best gear you can afford, heated grips and handlebar muffs
21/11/15 O ride all year but not in snow
21/11/15 If the snow gets deep enough I can always put the off road tyres on the 950.its just more fun.
21/11/15 I been riding all year round for 20 years for work and pleasure come rain, snow and icey conditions. With no problems and common sense.
21/11/15 Road legal motocross bike. Try and stop me.
21/11/15 Depends on the day. Suns out today and so am i.
21/11/15 Mrs calls me an idiot and keeps getting on at me to buy a car, but that's all year round she does that these days.... But yeah, even the light dusting of snow this morning was fine
21/11/15 Used to have when I was young and the bike was the only transport. I still do ride at odd times but definitely not on the road when there's ice snow or particularly salt on the road. It's a good time to play on the trials bike!
21/11/15 I ride all year round (snow/ice/zombie apocalypse being the exceptions....) and my bike is really showing her age. Good old reliable thing though
22/11/15 I ride all year round. When I was working I biked in all weather conditions and I think it made me a better judge of the roads
22/11/15 Don't take my bike out if the roads have been salted or it's icy, that's what the car is for
22/11/15 Fair play to those who do but my arse and bike are too valuable to me, work is enough risk for me in winter so I'm not gonna push my luck any more. safe riding people
22/11/15 All year.. acf50 to the rescue
25/11/15 mine is ready to go if the temp hits 40 degrees. But I live in Minnesota so hard to say if I am done for the year yet..
02/12/15 ride all year but a rain shower on a frozen road is <insert expletive.>
Also ive lost count the times ive been caught on the shap part of the m6 in a heavy snow shower ..you cant see a thing except through a wee crack at bottom of visor ! Other than that just dress well and enjoy
03/12/15 I ride all the year round rain, snow ice Christmas day new years day, any day, its all the same to me, as I work as a nurse, we have to get to work.
SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER
Sign up to receive updates and new posts straight to your in-box.