It's obvious that the winter is colder than other seasons, but when you're riding a motorcycle, it feels exponentially colder. The reason for this is that the wind causes you to cool down much faster than you would if you were standing still. Throw in rain or other precipitation and things only get worse. It's important to dress correctly if you're going to ride in the winter.
Insulation is key for winter riding, and nothing beats a full body riding suit for keeping yourself zipped up against the cold. In terms of gloves, make sure they're both fully insulated and waterproof. You'll want to make sure that you're investing in the warmest gloves possible because hands lose dexterity as they get colder, which will make controlling your bike more difficult. Boots are another important investment for winter riding. It's best to have boots that are specifically designed for cold weather riding. Simple leather boots might not have enough insulation. Just make sure your boots aren't so big that they don't fit on the footboards or pegs. Finally, make sure you pick up a neck gaiter to wear under your helmet so that there's no gap in coverage
During the summer, it's fine to ride without a windshield or deflector on your motorcycle, and many riders even prefer the freedom. During the winter, however, a windshield is extremely helpful for keeping the driving wind from chilling you to the bone. When it starts to rain, you'll be especially grateful that you don't have water pouring into your clothes. If you have a touring bike, the chances are you already have plenty of deflection from the wind. For other types of bike, there are probably a few options. Even if you only pick up a small clip-on deflector, it will make a difference.
One way to increase the amount of time you can spend on the road is to use heaters. These heaters can be either chemically powered or battery operated. The chemical heaters are small, dry packages that can be dropped into gloves or boots. They're disposable, inexpensive, and effective. There are numerous varieties of battery-operated heaters. Electric heater vests are one of the most popular types because they keep the core temperature up.
Riding on Snow and Ice
Riding on snow and ice is not ideal and should be avoided at all costs. Essentially, riding in these conditions is like riding in the rain, but orders of magnitude more difficult. You'll need significant amounts of time to slow down or stop, and it will be difficult to take turns at any speed more than a crawl. Do yourself a favor and avoid riding when the roads are this slippery.
Hydrate and Stay Fed
Riding in the cold is taxing on the body, so make sure you stay hydrated and fed. Having a full stomach will give you plenty of energy to keep your internal furnace warm. Dry winter air can dehydrate you more quickly than you might expect, so take time to hydrate whenever you stop.
Riding in the winter can have its benefits if you take the time to prepare, so hopefully this guide gave you a few helpful tips. If you need more advice, stop by Brian's Valley Forge Harley-Davidson® in Trooper, Pennsylvania. Our team of motorcycle riding experts proudly serves the areas of King of Prussia, Pottstown, Phoenixville, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.