Winter season is here and for many riding in this season is a part of the thrill. There is no doubt that riders who don’t prepare for the cold are a danger to themselves and others on the road. So if you still are up for riding bikes during winters, you need to prepare well to stay safe and enjoy the journey. These pointers will help you stay safe while riding bikes in winters and live your passion regardless of difficult weather conditions. But before you hit the icy road, it doesn’t hurt to brush up your riding skills.
10 Tips for Riding Bikes during Winters
1. Wear Effective Warmers & Riding Gear: Riders that stay warm and comfortable during rides are more alert, more capable, better able to deal with emergency situations and therefore safer on the road. During winters go for thin, but warm inner wears, such as glove liners, long under wears, balaclavas, neck tubes, etc. These keep you warm when it’s freezing outside, without restricting your movements. Layer dressing is the best way to gear up for a winter bike ride.
2. Accessorize: Riding bikes during winters requires several additions. Accessorize your motorcycle with handguards and a windscreen. Wind guards can be fixed to crash bars, to keep the cold winds off your feet.
3. Heat the Tires: When the weather is cold, your bike’s tires are bound to become cold every now and then, preventing you from gaining a proper grip on the road. Sudden acceleration and deceleration add up to heat them considerably. Make sure you do it safely.
4. Check the Tire Pressure: Cold weather causes a drop in the air pressure. Low temperatures will make you lose a few PSI in both tires. Adjust your tire pressure accordingly. Remember, with every 10 degrees drop in temperature, there is a 1-2 PSI air pressure drop in the tires.
5. Increase Visibility: Riding bikes during winters is definitely not an easy task. Snowfall, rainfall, and fog during winters make visibility an issue for a rider. Make sure you keep a substantial distance between vehicles, ahead and behind. Look further down the path you are riding and estimate hazards well in advance. You may also consider adding fog lamps to give more visibility in case of heavy fog.
6. Ride Slow: Riding at a pace you can handle is the thumb rule for all forms of driving. However, this becomes a necessity when it comes to riding bikes during winters. The lack of proper grip and friction on the road and reduced tire pressure result in increased brake time. High speed increases the possibility of mishaps.
7. Check the Braking System: One of the major keys to a safe driving is a proper braking system. Since winter rides add to the pressure on your bike’s brakes, you must get them checked thoroughly. If you are riding long distances, a brake servicing, one week prior to your journey is advisable.
8. Taking Breaks during the Ride: Riding for long hours in cold can make your fingers and feet numb, which is risky for you and others on road. You should take breaks often to eat & drink something warm to keep yourself refreshed and hydrated (not drinking enough water in winters will result in fatigue). When taking a break also make sure you walk a little to keep your body flexible and get the blood circulation going. A few jumping jacks or push-ups will make you energized.
9. Be Extra-Careful in Areas with Black Ice: Don’t underestimate a light snowfall. You won’t even know when the roads turn completely white, along with some black ice. Choose to stop during such situations. If that’s not an option for you, slow down. Keep both legs on the sides to save you from slipping. While riding through straight areas covered with black ice, don’t brake and use engine braking as much as possible to avoid skidding.
10. Keep a check on weather: When/if you are riding in hills, the weather can change very rapidly making roads very dangerous for two wheelers. At every break make sure to check weather conditions for onward journey and only move if the weather is clear. If the weather gets really adverse while riding, don’t be a dummy and take a break.
Have fun and exceed your limits, but make sure you stay safe while indulging in your favourite activity – motorcycling. Now that winters are here, do let us know about your favourite locations for winter biking. You may just inspire other bikers for the thrill!