January 20th, 2015
Think it's too cold to ride your motorcycle during winter? Think again.
It's definitely not ideal, and the weather throws a huge wrench in your plans, but winter doesn't have to be the end of your motorcycle dreams. In fact, plenty of people still take the time to suit up and go out for a nice ride, albeit a much colder one.
The key is to remain safe at all times and to place an even larger emphasis on the precautions you take prior to heading out on the road. For instance, make sure you have full motorcycle insurance. Many people make the mistake of insuring their rides only during peak riding seasons, but if you're a true road warrior, then you'll need year-round coverage.
So before you set out, here are five motorcycle tips for winter:
1. Dress in layers
It should be a no-brainer that your body needs added layers of clothing during winter. But rather than throwing on more clothes and jackets, you should take a more careful approach. For instance, wear lighter, breathable materials underneath heavy, wind-resistant coats. This will not only keep you from sweating and overheating while riding, but also protect you from the intense cold.
But don't forget about the rest of your body. Doubling on socks and gloves is vital. A nice set of wool socks can go a long way toward keeping your feet warm. Again, go light underneath and then opt for a pair of durable riding gloves.
In winter, you'll also need a mask, scarf and goggles to keep your face free of wind burn.
2. Get the right gear
Warmth isn't your only concern when riding a motorcycle in winter. You'll also need to keep an extra eye on safety as well. The elements can seriously alter the way you drive, and improper gear can inhibit your driving abilities.
Make sure the clothes you're wearing are still road-tested and top-of-the-line motorcycle gear. Further, to combine both safety and warmth, choose from several heated options, including gloves, vests and helmets.
While you're at it, don't forget about the bike itself. Make sure your mirrors are clear of snow and ice and check your engine before departing. Manufacturers make custom accessories specifically for winter like a small generator that can help start your bike if the engine is dead or too cold.
3. Leave room for drivers
Road conditions will likely be tough to deal with. That's why it's important that you take extra care when around other vehicles. Drive slower and don't make as many aggressive moves as you would during optimal weather conditions. Change lanes only when you have to and try to stay off other people's bumpers so that you leave enough stopping time for yourself.
In addition, ice will be present on the roads, which calls into question just how well you're able to handle your bike. Keep swerving to a minimum and always keep your hands on the handlebars. Though riding a motorcycle is supposed to be a freeing experience, you should never relax to the point of resting your arms at your side or leaning back in your seat.
4. Check your tires
Just as is the case with standard car tires, your bike tires will lose pressure quickly due to the cold. This is unavoidable for the most part because the temperature will constrict the air inside your tires. However, it's vital that you check your tires before departing on each trip.
Inflate your tires to an appropriate level, but be careful you're not overdoing it. Too much air will limit traction on the road, which you need more of during the winter. You can also store your motorcycle in an enclosed area when not in use. This will prevent your tires from being affected by the cold as much.
5. Turn back during bad weather
In the event conditions get too bad, then the smart thing to do is to just call it a day. The weather can change in a matter of minutes, and if snow begins falling or high winds are pushing your bike across the road, then it's best to head home.
Though car drivers have the luxury of simply pulling over and waiting out a storm in the convenience of their vehicles, you would be stranded with little in the way of shelter. Be mindful of reported conditions before heading out so that you can prepare in advance.
When the weather worsens, your chances of an accident increase exponentially.
Keep your best interests at mind and drive safe this winter. Update your insurance policy to make sure you don't have gaps in coverage. Your insurance agent can help you identify areas where you can save money while still remaining fully insured.
CoverHound is an industry leader in real-time insurance data.