Motorbiking In To Winter

16 Oct 2017

Some riders understandably mothball their machines during the colder months, but for those who rely on two wheeled transport all year round, there’s a few extra things to think about as winter draws in. The dark and the wet can make the roads a much more dangerous place, but with preparation and common sense, that risk can be reduced.

Get Kitted Out Properly

Riding in temperatures below 10C can really affect a biker’s ability – both physically and mentally. Don’t forget that wind chill will make it feel several degrees colder than it already is, making a chilly day suddenly feel freezing. Wear good quality gloves, a balaclava, neck warmer and long underwear, and consider investing in self-heating clothing too. With shorter days, it’s even more crucial to wear hi-vis clothing to be more conspicuous while you ride. Sporting all-black leathers might look cool, but it won’t help other traffic to see you on those long winter evenings.

Adjust For The Weather

Braking distances increase by a factor of up to 10 in the wet and cold. This applies to your bike, and to every other vehicle on the road. Give yourself, and everyone else, plenty of room to think and manoeuvre. Ease off the speed to allow yourself more time to spot and react to hazards. Piles of wet leaves, mud, fallen branches and even slick road markings can all pose a serious threat, even without other vehicles around. Be wary of gusty side winds, especially when leaving a sheltered area.

Look After Your Machine

It’s essential to check your bike before you ride. Think T-Clocs: Tyres, controls, lights, oil, chassis and stands. Let the engine warm up for a couple of minutes before setting off. Remember that cold tyres have less traction than warm ones, so take it easy while your machine gets going. Keep the chain well lubricated and always check that the brake pads aren’t stuck to the discs due to salt corrosion.

For more winter bike tips and help for riding all year round, visit our advice page.

Photo by Eric Micheal on Unsplash

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