6 RIDING TIPS TO GET YOU THROUGH THE WINTER
The winter has its fair share of fun in the cold, but for motorcyclists, it can be challenging. We at Pinlock hope you stay safe, so here are 6 tips for riding during winter time.
Of course, you already know about the need for Pinlock anti-fog insert lenses in cold, wet conditions. Be sure that the lens you use is maintained and configured properly. If your helmet is supported, you might want to consider getting a Pinlock 120 visor for winter conditions. It will give you the maximum available protection against any fogging and condensation.
1. CHECK YOUR TIRES
Your tires are your only contact with the ground and your only way of feeling what the road is like. Take good care of them, check how much profile is in the thread, generally a minimum of 3mm (1⁄8 in) is advised. Correct tire pressures are also essential to coping with bad weather. The advised tire pressure varies from bike to bike, but your ideal pressure is listed in your manual. Don’t go over it, this will reduce your grip, but don’t go too far beneath it either, this will alter the handling of your bike significantly, increase your wear and increase your chances of a puncture, especially when roads deteriorate in winter weather. Get your own tire pressure gauge, so you always know if your pressures are within the advised tolerances for your make and model.
2. STAY WARM
Your gear is your line of defense against the cold winter weather. Being comfortable is essential to stay focussed in traffic. Cold hands are devastating for your control over your bike while riding through the winter. Heated grips or heated gloves can be a life safer, and some riders won’t leave without it. Avoid open faced helmets and use full-face helmets instead. A balaclava is an essential addition to winter gear. If it does not fit your helmet, a neck-warmer might be a better option. Be sure to have an outfit that is waterproof and has as much insulation as needed. Also, proper insulating underwear isn’t to be overlooked. Test your gear before you need it.
3. ADAPT YOUR ROUTINE
Snowy conditions change the game. If snow is forecasted, you might want to reconsider taking the bike today. The reduced visibility and icy roads are treacherous for bikers. If conditions do allow riding, more caution is needed on roads that are light on traffic. You might want to stick to main roads that are well de-iced as much as possible. Do keep in mind that well-traveled roads tend to develop potholes and cracks more easily in cold conditions.
4. INCREASE VISIBILITY
Winter also brings reduced visibility for you and for other road users. In these conditions, you can increase your own visibility to other road users by using;
- – Reflective clothing
- – A high visibility jacket
- – A high visibility helmet
Adding fluorescent strips to your bike can be another way to make sure other drivers spot you and identify you as a rider as soon as possible. And it might be dull, but lowering your speed gives other drivers more time to see you and anticipate on your actions.
5. KEEP IT CLEAN
Of course, your bike is your baby. In winter, however, she needs more care than ever. The salt used for the de-icing of the roads is a biker’s worst enemy. It reduces your traction and it corrodes your bike. Don’t leave the salt sitting unchecked after riding. Just rinse it off with some cold water after riding (just make sure you don’t do this in frigid temperatures). To avoid any buildup of grime, you could apply a Teflon spray to allow for easier cleaning.
Ensure that your lights are visible. It might seem obvious, but other road users depend on them for spotting you in bad weather. Clean them every time before going out.
6. BE PREDICTABLE
Having to share the road with other drivers is bad enough, but in the winter you also have to anticipate for their reduced ability to control their vehicles. Try to accelerate in a smooth predictable way to avoid any surprises. Same goes for braking, you might have the control and ability to stop on a dime, but others might not. Use your blinker earlier than usual and drive as smooth as possible. Hope for the best and count on the worst when it comes to the ability of other drivers. Unfortunately, lower speeds are inherent to the winter months. Hang in there, spring is just around the corner. For now, however, we will have to deal with the challenges of the dark months.