Riding a motorcycle in winter is an invigorating experience. The air often seems more clear when it’s cold out, and the sunshine feels so welcome during these short winter days. There’s also a special pride in being one of the intrepid four-season riders. Then again, there is that bone-chilling cold feeling at the end of some rides.
While it’s cool to ride all year, being cold is not good. It’s surprising how fast feeling a little cold can turn into a dangerous situation. While riding a motorcycle, you can develop hypothermia, defined as when your body’s core temperature falls below 95 degrees. Riding at a normal road speed of 55 mph on a sunny winter day with an ambient air temperature of 35 degrees creates a wind chill factor of 18 degrees. You can lose body heat real fast at low wind chill factors.
Hypothermia is especially dangerous on a motorcycle, since it greatly diminishes mental and physical riding skills. It’s important to realize the decline in your ability to ride safely begins early in the process. Symptoms of hypothermia include:
During cold weather, the goal is to preserve your body’s core temperature. A key factor in doing this is not exposing your skin to the cold airstream. Here are some things to keep in mind when riding in cold weather:
With a little planning, the right gear, and some common sense, you can safely and comfortably ride your motorcycle during the winter.
Till next time, stay warm and ride safe!