Motorcycle Riding Even in Regions That (Occasionally) Have a Snowpocalypse
In the summer, idling at a stoplight felt like you were practically melting in the scorching Texas sun. But it’s not summer now.
The switch has been flipped, the seasons flopped. At stoplights now, you lean in closer to your bike, hoping to absorb as much heat as possible from your engine and exhaust. When it gets cold in Texas, it gets so damp and chilly it sinks into your bones and sucks all the joy out of everything. But it doesn't have to.
Riding in the cold doesn't have to be a drag. Here are five strategies for remaining warm even when the trees are covered in ice and the wind chills you all the way through.
Clothing for Cold Weather Layering
The best gear is heated gear. Heated gloves, a heated vest or jacket, and heated leggings can make you impenetrable to the cold if you're riding in the cold near Dallas. You'll be riding blissfully all winter if you pick them up at your local Harley shop. (Hint: put these on your Christmas list. It's Leather Weather - we're giving you 15% off almost all our riding leathers).
If heated gear isn't an option, make insulating layers out of what you already have. The temperature on the thermometer isn't your adversary; it's the wind and moisture that will do you in.
You'll be better off if you can establish a barrier. Begin by wearing a base layer as an insulator next to your skin. Then add a layer of fleece or wool. Put your riding leather or other wind-resistant riding outerwear on top of that. If you wear chaps, the wind will be blocked from your legs.
Keep your face and neck toasty with a neck warmer and/or balaclava. A full-face helmet will totally block the wind, and that isn't the only benefit of wearing one.
Something about biking in the chilly weather wreaks havoc on your sinuses. If you don't cover yourself during a 20-minute ride in the cold, you'll feel as if you jammed freezing toothpicks up your nostrils and repeatedly pounded them in. A helmet does more than just block the wind; it also controls the humidity inside.
Gloves are, without a doubt, the most critical item of cold-weather riding equipment. Purchase some that are both insulated and waterproof, and keep them with you throughout the winter.
Prepare Your Motorcycle
If your bike came with a windscreen that you removed for aesthetic reasons, replace it. If your Harley® is water-cooled, you may need to apply antifreeze.
Tire rubber is affected by cold weather. The air inside condenses as the exterior material contracts and becomes more brittle. Make sure you have enough tread on your tires and replace them if they're worn out. Then, before you start your ride, check your tire pressure when your bike is cold. Inflate according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Friction will warm them up a little while you ride, but the pavement is still cold, so the amount won't be the same as in warmer weather.
Beware These Cold Weather Road Hazards
If your bike came with a windscreen that you removed for aesthetic reasons, replace it. If your bike is water-cooled, you may need to apply antifreeze.
When it comes to cold-weather cycling near Dallas, numb fingers and stiff knees aren't the only things to be concerned about. Those things make you feel uneasy, but neglecting about the dangers on the road could land you in the hospital. Keep an eye out for spots of snow or ice on the road.
Black ice is extremely dangerous. It's only a little layer of ice on the road that gives it a damp appearance. Even when the temperature is above freezing, it can be found in shaded regions.
Its insidiousness stems from how difficult it is to see, especially when moving quickly. It's especially common on overpasses and bridges. Vehicle exhaust creates a continual stream of water vapor in congested places, and cars shade the roads. You'll find it if you bike to regions with greater elevations and more snowfall.
If you're riding in the cold, keep an eye out. If it appears to be black ice, stay away.
Areas of treated pavement are another road hazard that bikers overlook. Salt is similar to sand or gravel in appearance. Because it reduces grip, employ caution on salted roads as well.
Increase the Size of Your Safety Bubble
In difficult conditions, you have reduced traction and mobility. This is especially true for persons driving larger, heavier automobiles, and if they run into a problem, they're not going to be watching out for your well-being.
Plus, even if your competence and confidence levels are sky-high, the motorist in the lane next to you could be a novice or more concerned with their phone than safe driving. Make a larger safety margin for yourself. Increase the gap between you and the car in front of you, especially at greater speeds.
When it's cold, you may not be able to spot hazards as quickly. Give yourself room and time to react.
Sometimes it's not a question about whether or not you can tough it out. There are days when four-wheeling is the best option. That has less to do with the temperature on the thermometer and more to do with the road conditions and your mood.
Be honest with yourself about your riding abilities if the roads are snowy or icy. You might be fine if you've had years of experience riding on difficult terrain. But if you don't feel safe driving on that type of roadway on four wheels, definitely don’t tackle it on two.
Recognize that your reflexes will be hampered if you're tired, anxious, or don't have the proper riding gear. Don't ride if you've been drinking, just like any other time of year.
Join Others on a Ride
Riding with other Harley® enthusiasts is safer and more enjoyable. Why not join our H.O.G. chapter if you haven't already? Alternatively, keep an eye out for forthcoming events at Black Gold Harley-Davidson® in Allen, Texas.