We’re in December, and we’re all experiencing cooler weather. That means a few different things when it comes to heading out for a ride.
Not only do you need to prep the bike for cooler weather, but you need to dress appropriately, too. This isn’t the time to dress to impress—unless you know someone who looks fondly upon those dressed safely and warmly.
Wearing “all the gear all the time” is the best way to ride. During these winter months, you need to add protection from the cold to our gear selection. Being cold on a motorcycle isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s also dangerous and can lead to health issues such as hypothermia.
In some regions of the country this time of year, you can experience up to a 40-degree difference from daily low temperatures to daily high temperatures. To manage this, the best dressing behavior is layering gear. This way you can easily adjust to the changing temperatures as the day—and your ride—progresses.
Motorcycle riding, like any winter activity, requires a little more thought regarding the choice of layers. It’s not simply long pants, long-sleeve shirt, jacket, helmet, and gloves.
One thing to keep in mind is the need to be warm at riding speeds—not just when standing around—yet flexible enough to safely operate motorcycle controls.
Let’s take a basic look at layering, starting closest to the skin and moving outward:
For those who opt for electrical gear, it should be worn on top of the street layer—close enough to your skin to receive some heat benefits. The insulating layers on top of the electric gear will hold in that heat. Wearing the layers in this order improves performance and allows you to conserve power on the bike by using lower settings.
As you know, heavy socks and glove liners can make boots and gloves a tight fit. The same applies when adding more clothes under your riding jacket. If your gear fits too tight, you defeat the purpose of insulation that requires air space to be effective. Tight gear also restricts your movement, thus reducing your ability to safely control the motorcycle.
What to do? While it might not be a form-fitting fashion statement, try on larger sizes to accommodate more layers.
Cooler weather shouldn’t keep you off your bike. With some planning and proper gear, you can enjoy the unique riding experience this time of year brings, and keep the joy of riding going year-round.
Till next time, ride safe!
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