Winter is the time of the year, which isn’t particularly the best for us bikers. Cold winds, greasy and salt-ridden roads, and dropped visibility due to the mist and fog, can make riding a pain in the rear. However, it doesn’t need to be like that. A lot of riders prefer to tuck away their 2 wheels in the garage during winters, but you don’t need to do that.
Just take the right precautions, and you’re good to go. Here are some of the things that you must do, to continue riding in winters too.
1. Keep Warm
That’s the obvious saying for winters, but you need some extra care if you’re going to be riding through the cold winds. Invest in the best winter kit you can afford, and you’ll realize how good a decision you made. Cold can take a toll on your body, and consequently increase your reaction times and fine motor skills. And on a motorcycle, that’s the last thing you want happening.
For the jacket, you need to look at something with a thick warm lining inside, that’s also waterproof. Gore-tex membranes are especially effective. Waterproof boots and gloves are the next things you need in your arsenal. Make sure the gloves too have a warm lining, as you don’t want your fingers freezing to a point where you can’t brake effectively!
Throwing in base layers of merino wool will make sure that your body heat is trapped well within your jacket, and the cold doesn’t really affect you much. Long-sleeved tops and windproof leggings are the other essentials you need.
Heated vests are obviously the best thing you can get yourself!
2. Ride More
They say, “practice makes a man perfect”. And bikers are just men (and women). Every extra mile you ride your bike, you’re getting better. And the more you do it in winter, the better you’ll get at it.
3. See And Be Seen
That’s something you must always look into, while riding. However, that’s all the more true in winters. Thanks to all the reduced visibility due to fog and mist, drivers are prone to pay even lesser attention to you than during anytime else. With their misted windows and everything, they’ve got their own problems too.
Of course, there’ll also be those idiots who’ll just bother to remove enough snow from their windshields that they can see straight. So, be especially wary of such folks.
Don’t ride too close to the vehicle ahead of you. Let them see your lights in their mirror and know you’re there. Don’t ride too close to the gutter.
Do carry a pinlock insert for your visor so it doesn’t get mist all over it, and obviously don’t ride with tinted visors. Visibility jackets of fluorescent colors and reflective materials are another worthy essential.
4. Plan Ahead
Thanks to the greasy and salt-ridden roads, your stopping distances aren’t as good as they were in summer, even if you have ABS and traction control. So, look out for the obstacles and debris on the road ahead even more carefully.
5. The Right Tires
The right rubber can make worlds of difference when riding during tricky conditions, like the winters. Your regular summer tires aren’t the best footwear for your winter rides. Invest in some good winter rubber that’s bound to give you the grip and traction you need for those slippery winter roads.
Of course, check your tire pressure regularly.
6. Look After Your Ride
Not that I’m implying that you don’t already do it. But, there are some special things you need to do for the winters, over and above your standard service and maintenance.
Make sure the battery is fully charged, as winter really takes a toll on their charge levels. Apply silicone grease on the battery terminals to ensure that water and air stay out.
Grease connections to ensure water doesn’t seep in, and corrosion doesn’t build up. Cleaning and lubrication of the chain becomes even more important.
Apply grease on the levers, cables, exposed threads, screws, nut heads, etc. It’ll give the much-needed protection from water seeping in corrosion building up.
You’d be surprised with the wonders corrosion-protections sprays can do to keep your ride in good condition. They work by creating a protective layer on the bike, which keeps the water from sticking on seeping in and preventing rust and corrosion. Apply periodically, and do remember to wash it off in the spring.