Friday, February 08, 2013

Winter gear/safety tips

Hardy/foolish (your choice) motorcyclists who don't stop riding at 32F or below have likely read tons of advice about proper layering, maintaining core body temperature, and the never-ending battle with helmet visor fogging, so no need to repeat much of that advice. Here are ten more items to consider, perhaps a couple are new to you. All were learned the hard way during many winters riding:


  • If your jacket's insulating liner allows it, wear it as a separate layer rather than zipped/buttoned into the outer shell. You'll be warmer and the jacket's main closure will be more wind-resistant.


  • Protect your neck: gaiters, tubes, "cozies", wraps, scarves or balaclavas are brilliant for keeping those big arteries and veins running through your neck warmer. 


  • Tape up any helmet or jacket vents that allow wind leakage. You're not going to use them in frigid temps anyway.


  • A rain suit or waterproof glove covers can extend your gear's lower temp range (every piece of gear has it's limits, now matter how hi-tech).


  • Unless you've got a heated garage, store all your gear and helmets inside.


  • At stops of more than a few minutes, don't leave your helmet, jacket or gloves on your motorcycle (even in tank bags or panniers).


  • Avoid sweating like the plague. Don't put on those final layers until you're ready to go out the door. De-layer if you stop en route to take a hike, dance a jig, etc.


  • Assist blood flow to your extremities by avoiding restrictive boots or gloves (watch those thick socks or liners), or excessive bunching of layers in the knees or elbows. Ensure your bike's clutch and brake levers are adjusted to keep your hands in line with your forearms (most are set too high, causing restriction in the wrist).


  • Keep your bladder as empty as possible. Remember that your body has to burn energy to keep all that fluid warm, and the vasoconstriction-induced "gotta pee now!" feeling is very distracting.


  • Be smarter than me, own a bike with enough spare electrical output to support heated gear, and crank up the electrons!


  • Do you have any tips to share?


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    2 Comments:

    Anonymous Black Inazuma said...

    Some really good tips - thanks for posting. I still can't wait till spring is properly here in the UK - I'm going nuts watching the rain hammering down outside the window every day! Got to get my new Suzuki Inazuma 250 back out on the road where it belongs! Cheers for now.

    March 18, 2013 at 2:11:00 PM EDT  
    Blogger Ted Lawrence said...

    Some suggestions for keeping your hands and feet warm.
    1. Wear mittens that offer protection as well as keeping your fingers closer together. They work especially well with heated hand grips.
    2. Wear two layers of socks. The first layer should be nylon and the second layer should wool. Separate the two layers by using press and seal wrap.

    April 7, 2013 at 4:07:00 PM EDT  

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