As the dark nights are drawing in, and the mornings are becoming cold and damp with worsening weather conditions on the horizon, the motorbiking season is drawing to a close for many riders.
By following some simple steps and safety tips, the cold weather doesn’t have to stop your adventures just yet!
The safest thing to do in really bad conditions is obviously not to take to the roads if at all possible, however, for some this is not an option as motorbikes and scooters may be the only form of transport.
Wear the right kit:
Riding in cold weather, without the correct gear is not only dangerous, but it isn’t much fun either. Remember wind chill is much more severe when you’re travelling at higher speeds on your bike.
Get windproof, water resistant, insulated motorcycle clothing, boots and gloves.
Layer up! Wear some fetching thermal underclothes.
Grab a pair of thermal lined inner gloves to help insulate your fingers, or even electric heated ones!
Wear a windproof and waterproof balaclava for added facial protection.
Make sure your tank bag or backpack is waterproof for storing additional dry clothing and gloves.
Create a seal – ensure there are no gaps around your wrists or neck where icy wind could penetrate.
Try and put your helmet on indoors where possible to prevent fogging or apply an anti-fogging treatment.
Stick to a plan, you don’t want to end up lost out in the cold, or accidentally taking roads that are icy or unfamiliar. The scenic routes are less likely to be gritted, along with nasty microclimates in the tree lines.
Before you set off:
Check your tyres, controls, lights, oil levels, chassis and stand(s) before each ride.
Ensure your helmet visor and mirrors are clean and visibility through them is nice and clear.
If you haven’t used your bike recently, let it run for a few minutes to get the engine warmed up before setting off.
Ensure you are prepared for minor roadside repairs, should you get a puncture.
If the conditions deteriorate, take it easy - stopping distances can increase ten-fold during wintry conditions along with visibility.
If possible, avoid riding in snowy or windy conditions, or when the roads are icy, badly maintained and ungritted.
Protect your bike:
Keep your bike covered and dry to prevent moisture getting trapped in the working parts.
Make sure you lubricate/maintain your chain and clutch cable (if fitted) before and after riding. Check how much travel there is on the chain.
Ensure there is sufficient antifreeze in the system if you ride a bike with a liquid-cooling system.
After riding on gritted roads, wash the underside of the bike after a journey to prevent corrosion and apply surface-protection fluid (ACF50 / FS365).